Sell [Your] Phones

Today while driving I saw a young girl, probably around 11 years old, on a cell phone. She was walking along the side of the street talking to someone, and I couldn't help but think that maybe she was talking to someone across the street because she wasn't allowed to cross it. Whatever the reason, though, there is something about an 11-year-old on a cell phone that legitimately scares me, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she is probably getting more calls than I am...

I always (for the past five minutes) thought it would be interesting if the transmissions from cell phones could be visible, so that I could look out the window right now and see all the words that are being passed from one phone to another. Another added plus of the words being visible is that I could reach into the air and take away the ones that I don't like, therefore completely changing people's conversations. With me controlling the airwaves, people would never use cell phones again, and we would no longer have to worry about walking down the street and being hit with a "hello," or a "goodbye," or a "he needs to stop messing with my mother's wounded llama," the latter of which would be a sentence that I formed based on stealing certain key words from zookeepers' conversations...

I always wondered - as has everyone - what it is like when two zookeepers got together. Do they act like party animals? Maybe go ape? If two zookeepers are reading this column simultaneously, I think an e-mail is in order. But I will only read this correspondence if both zookeepers have equal say in the wording...

Back to my complaints about cell phones, though. If I am unable to control the words soaring through the air, I would at least like to take a visit to a central satellite which serves as the basis for cellular conversations. I am thinking that if I point the satellite in a different direction, this would cause each person to call people they normally would never call, like the kid in homeroom who said he'll "keep in touch," or that telemarketer you said you'd get back to at some point. Better yet, perhaps I can point the satellite in the direction that forces each person to only call his or her own phone, which would be a useful concept in the Dakotas, where there aren't a lot of people to converse with anyway...

With this accomplished, I'd also like to set up a pen pal system amongst the residents of North and South Dakota. I don't necessarily think they should send letters to each other, but I believe they should trade pens on a weekly basis. This kind of sharing will prove valuable in the unity of the states, as well in the general maintenance of ink and the management thereof...

Such a program will be coordinated by an 11-year-old on a cell phone...

But I digress.

Greg Gagliardi is a teacher and writer. His stream-of-consciousness weekly humor column, "Progressive Revelations," has been ongoing since 1998. (

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