Getting rid of the cell phone

Cell phone contracts are easy to get. Companies these days make cell phones very affordable. They are eager to sell you value-added services that you never needed to use prior to the purchase, and you are hit with a bill that can go upwards of $45 per month.

But what if you are like me? You have the cell phone, and now you realise that it is a ball and chain. I don’t just mean the contract; there is also the fact that you can be anywhere and people can get in touch with you. Well, what happened to concepts like privacy? Are there still places left on this planet where people won’t be texting me or phoning me, or emailing me? I need space; I need quiet time. I need a little freedom. I need to get rid of the damn cell phone.

Getting rid of the cell phone takes real mental discipline and concentration. The first time I tried this, I had to get past Emily, the automated Bell Telephone Fairy. The fairy could grant me three wishes, but cutting my cell phone wasn’t one of them. It didn’t understand me when I gave her a voice command to “BUG OFF!” so she sent me to a human.

From then on, I had to endure an onslaught of sales pitches as to how I can improve my cell phone experience by changing my package selections. But they didn’t see the main point: I have a land line, which in effect means that Bell dings me twice each month. I pay them $100 a month just in phone bills. They could not see that this was entirely unacceptable. They also didn’t see that this was my sense of rational decision-making and rational budgeting at work. That wasn’t allowed to enter the conversation either, no matter how rational I tried to sound. Then, they asked me for my password to get into my private account (all this was over the phone after all). I vaguely remembered making this password 6 months or more previous, but I had no idea what it was, and told them.

So, I was told that the only way I could cancel my account was to show up at a Bell shop, and show them some ID. So, weeks passed until I thought once again to go through with it, and when I did, I had to endure yet another sales pitch similar to the telephone ordeal, and finally we got down to business, and I showed them my ID. I brought my cell phone with me, but they weren’t interested in looking at it. They told me that I had to complete the billing cycle, and in 6 weeks, I would be free.

Of course, this 6 weeks did not go by quietly. I got brochures telling me to come back, we’re sorry, we didn’t mean to piss you off; I got a “courtesy” call asking me to reconsider, and after fighting them off bravely, I reached my summit, the top of the hill: NO MORE CELL PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Can’t Get Behind “I Can’t Get Behind That”

I Can’t Get Behind That — William Shatner and Henry Rollins
Never charted anywhere

From the album “Has Been” (2004)

See/Hear it here, if you dare. You hear it, but you only can view muppets lip-syncing to the song. You can also get the mp3 and the rest of the album from EMusic. My understanding is that no muppets were hurt in the making of the video or the song. I don’t believe it, though.

What do you get when you place the former Captain of the Starship Enterprise in the same studio with a former frontman for the punk rock group Black Flag?

I don’t know, but whatever it is, I can’t get behind that!

We expect an embarrassing level of tackiness from the likes of Bill Shatner (anyone remember “Transformed Man”?), but no matter how much Henry Rollins and producer Ben Folds try to make this sound cool with manic music arrangements, the result is, well, a tax write-off for them both, because I am not sure of any other uses for it. Adrian Belew is on Guitar, Henry Rollins says in an interview. If anyone recalls, Belew made his name touring with Frank Zappa, then David Bowie, and afterward became a band member in the 1980s re-formation of King Crimson with Robert Fripp at the helm. But mostly you hear the manic percussion instruments, not much guitar. The percussion is something along the style of the Hawaii 5-0 theme.

I heartily agree with certain observations. For example, I believe also that there truly is no modern invention more futile than a leaf blower. And “futile” is an excellent word to describe leaf blowers.

As for some kind of overall rating, Shatner’s work must be rated with stars of a different galaxy, for I have none to offer.

Continue reading “I Can’t Get Behind “I Can’t Get Behind That””

New ways of going insane

“Excessive text messaging and email” is now proposed to be included as new mental illnesses in an update to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). These are not the only silly classifications they have.

One proposed mental illness that I have heard from that seminal magazine, the Journal of Polymorphic Perversity, is “Consensual Validation Disorder”. That is, if someone doesn’t like you, then you’re one card short of a full deck. The rest of what I have here sound just as silly, except that they are for real.

Suck at math? Well, not only is math “not for you”, but you’re 8 pawns short of a gambit. You may have “Mathematics Disorder”, or dyscalculia (315.1). This includes the inability to copy things down as you see them, forgetting to carry, forgetting signs, and so on.

Like the taste of coffee? You could win a trip to the funny farm. You could fall into one of the classifications for the “Caffeine-Related Disorders“. They had to give it its own classification, because the disorder they have in mind does not constitute substance abuse. But you’re still one drop short of an empty bladder.

Can’t sleep after too much coffee? It’s not a natural outcome of drinking too much coffee. According to DSM, you are a crouton short of a salad. You have caffeine intoxication disorder (305.90).

Like to have a cigarette after a good dinner? Then you are a few fries short of a happy meal. Nicotine dependance (305.1) is a mental illness.

Trying to quit smoking? Then you’re one sultana short of a fruitcake. Nicotine withdrawal is also a mental illness (292.0).

Can’t write legibly or can’t express yourself in writing? It’s not that you have lost your muse. You’re one weenie short of a roast. You have a disorder of written expression (315.2).

Do you snore when you sleep? It’s not just a minor irritation spouses have to put up with anymore. If you saw logs, then you may be a chocolate chip short of a cookie. You probably have Breathing-Related Sleep Disorder (780.57).

If your son or daughter is rebellious, then it is not because the world is unfair to them and most certainly not because they are expressing their independence from their parents. Your teenage son or daughter is actually a doughnut short of a cop. He or she has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (313.81).

Remember, when the air was free?

One of the most reassuring things about gas stations is that sign many of them have, advertising “free air”. Yes, those were the days, the days when air was free… I now go to the same gas station, and they now have a coin-operated air pump, which now charges 50 cents for air. The first time I used it, it didn’t stay on long enough for me to inflate all 4 tires. Not wanting to spend a buck just to inflate the fourth tire, I asked the manager to turn on the pump for maybe an extra minute. Would you believe I had to argue this with him?

Oh, how I long for the return of the days when the air was free. We didn’t have to pay for air. Air at one time was not a commodity to be packaged and sold. I guess buy tramadol there is an air shortage. There is not enough to go around. It is a wonder that after all of the tires in the world are filled with air, that there is still enough air left in the atmosphere to sustain life and for us to grow.  Of course, the oil companies would hold all living things responsible for creating an air shortage, such that there is not enough air left to put in the tires after all the living things in the world are done with it. That would be the reason for them charging us half a buck at the air pump.