theCriticalThought.com May 2017          Tom Ersin, Managing Editor
Share   Press 'CTRL' + 'D' to save bookmark.    


The Thinker

Cellphone Etiquette
in the 21st Century


"Do you mind if I smoke?"



THE MORAL EQUIVALENT OF (AUDIBLE) PUBLIC FLATULENCE

Cellphones are ubiquitous and here to stay. Eventually they will be imbedded into our skulls. Many etiquette guidelines have been written, but few people seem to be reading them. We’re going to make this easy. And please, let’s self-regulate before the phone control freaks create a national registry and take away our right to carry a concealed communications device.

It’s simple:

Treat cellphone usage just like smoking cigarettes — or audibly flatulating — in public.

We have finally raised our social consciousness with regard to smoking etiquette. Let’s not take as long for cellphones. You wouldn’t blow smoke in someone’s face; Cigarette buttstherefore, don’t blow your cellphone conversation in someone’s face. You wouldn’t light up while you’re in line at the bank; likewise, don’t cellphone there either. YOU think your conversations are enlightening, cerebral, and important, but the rest of us do not. Old-fashioned telephone booths had a secondary purpose besides giving you privacy — they also shielded us from your blathering. 

Now that distance conversations can take place anywhere you can get a signal, everyone should be required to take and pass a mandatory manners class before they obtain a cellphone license. I’m half-kidding. Furthermore, these manners should be taught early to children, along with not holding their fork overhand, not putting their after-dinner cigarette out on the plate, replacing the roll of toilet tissue when they use the last sheet, not putting their shod feet on the furniture, and saying "please" and "thank you." If you’re not teaching these things, we pity the poor fool that marries your kid.

CELLPHONE ETIQUETTE

Turn off your cellphone:

— In court
— At the ballet
— In church, synagogue, mosque, or NRA services
— In drivers retraining school

Only answer your cellphone if absolutely necessary:

— At your Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting
— During your social worker’s surprise visit
— While in line at the adult bookstore
— When you’re already talking on a land line (you popular person, you)
— At any service window where you might interact with a fellow bipedal primate

If a true emergency call comes in during these or similar situations, then, and only then, quietly and apologetically excuse yourself and take the call in private. Your in-person friends will wait. Surprisingly, you are not that damned important. You can return all other calls later.

If your cellphone rings, or you must place a call in any other scenario not mentioned above and there are others within earshot, excuse yourself and go talk in private. This will REALLY impress us. We don’t want to hear your conversation — for real. The one exception is if the call concerns the friends, family members, or cell mates you’re with at the time. The other one exception is this: If it’s your wife’s or girlfriend’s phone ringing, all etiquette rules are suspended for her.

You might ultimately need to consider a few other exceptions to these guidelines. Treat these like the possible exceptions you might make to the protocol involved in meeting the Prince of Wales. You wouldn’t high-five Charles no matter how friendly he was — and you shouldn’t talk on your cellphone at dinner in a restaurant no matter how important you think you are.

Keep this analogy in mind: Wherever you wouldn’t smoke — or audibly break wind — you shouldn’t talk on a cellphone. Remember, only you can prevent a new generation of rude citizens — and forest fires. Teach and use good manners. Don’t let a good kid go rude (or bad). ■



Facebook Logo

 

top of page

 

An Internet magazine sharpening the satiric edge of critically thoughtful communication while exploring media, culture, and cellphone etiquette.

Post / View Comments on Facebook

Cellphone - not

 

It's simple: Treat cellphone usage just like smoking cigarettes — or audibly flatulating — in public.

 

Cellphone lighter

 

If your cellphone rings and there are others within earshot, excuse yourself and go talk in private. This will REALLY impress us. The one exception is if the call concerns the friends or cell mates you're with at the time. The other one exception is this: If it's your wife's or girlfriend's phone ringing, all etiquette rules are suspended for her.

 

Cellphone prototype: "The Brick"

CONTACT     |      FOOTNOTES     |      LEGAL RESTRICTIONS AND TERMS OF USE     |      MAILING LIST     |      PRIVACY POLICY     |      SITEMAP

Copyright © 2006-2017 by theCriticalThought.com. All Rights Reserved.

Website design and all content by Tom Ersin


(back to top of page)