Friday, December 19, 2008

Like "Cell" You Will.

I've heard some stories recently about tweens and teens using their mobile phones to participate in some unsavory activities.

This is old news (discussed here way back in June:, so you're probably already aware of what I'm talking about: "sexting"--nude pictures and messages shared via cell phones. Apparently this is a growing trend, becoming more and more commonplace and occurring with an increasingly younger set.

Well, in the above-linked column, Helen Popkin writes:

"...rather than ripping the cell phones from the greasy paws of the young and innocent and declaring Internet Prohibition (yeah, that’d work), probably us grown-ups should try and wrap our heads around an age-old fact that was true when our parents were stupid brats, not to mention us....Once the hormones kick in, kids are going to do stuff we’d rather not think about...
The best we can do is teach every sprog circling adolescence how to use both their cell phones and their bodies responsibly as you would with any other tool, such as a car or a chainsaw. And don’t freak out too much."

So, the solution, she suggests, is in the hands of the parents. I couldn't agree more. That's why this parent, if ever faced with the reality of his son using his cell phone to "sext," will use his hands to, oh, I don't know, maybe rip the cell phone from his greasy paws?

Now, I'm not dumb enough to think that this will suppress his raging hormones for even a moment. As Popkin rightly suggests, he'll find other ways to make a complete ass of himself. And if he's anything like his Dad, he'll do it often. And publicly.

But here's the thing: it's my cell phone. It's not his cell phone. I'm paying for it, so I get to make the rules about its use. Break the rules, lose the privilege. Rule number 1: No T&A. Or D&A. Whatever. It comes equipped with zero genitalia-minutes. Rule number 2: It's a phone, a tool, not a toy. Something I put in your pocket so you can call me if a deranged psycho is trying to harm you or offer you a variable rate mortgage.

Call me naive. I probably am. But my childhood experience taught me that setting and enforcing "for-your-own-good" rules was one of the primary duties of parenting. That, and listening to Barry Manilow. And much to my son's future chagrin...I'm fully prepared to do both.

Oh, BTW--cell phone rule number 3: Use this to cheat in school and it's your ass. Tell me--do parents even consider cheating "cheating" anymore, or is it now seen as some sort of Darwinian imperative? A post for another time...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Black Friday.

I'm writing this several weeks after it happened because I wanted to give myself time to scale back my initial response, which was something like "those people should be shot." I was so shocked (though I probably shouldn't have been) by the story that a chanting mob of Christmas (!) shoppers, in a rush to save 50% on shit they don't need, broke down the doors of a Walmart and trampled a seasonal employee to death that I ranted to my poor (and infinitely forgiving) wife that these people had forfeited their right to live in a civilized world.

Well, time has done its job and I have pulled back from my first reaction. Reluctantly.

But anyone who:
1) had a hand in the chanting and door-busting,
2) touched even a fraction of an inch of the bottom of their foot (probably as close as these "bargain-hunters" get to a soul) to any part of that man, and/or
3) protested when store employees asked them to leave due to the small matter of a man's trampled and broken body, should be as ashamed of themselves as humanly possible.

Yes, that's my Christmas wish. That you members of that mob spend 2009 (and beyond) feeling the most despairing, despondent shame. Aw, you don't have to thank me. I insist! You deserve it! Because, when you put shopping--no matter how spectacular the savings--above the well-being of another human being...well, that's about as shameful as it gets.

Your kind of behavior defines the word "worthless."

Worthless. Just like the flat-screens and iPods and XBoxes and toys and Blu-rays and cell phones and all the other utterly unnecessary crap you despicable cretins killed a man to get.