Cell phone rumors: Just let them bee
Doomsday movies are a guilty pleasure for Digital Slobs. From "Armageddon" to "Day of the Dead," we've seen them all, and we'll line up to see them all again. I'm pretty sure this fact is the only reason Ben Affleck still has a movie contract.
But what draws us in isn't an appetite for death and destruction. Rather, we kind of like the idea of problems getting so big, it makes our own shortcomings irrelevant. Sure, asteroids and the undead are sum negatives, but at least they put parking tickets and low credit scores in perspective.
And last week, when German scientists with actual degrees suggested in actual news reports that the worldwide decline in bees "might" be caused by cell-phone signals, and without bees humans "could" starve in four years -- one of my buddies called up acting like he was on apocalyptic catnip:
Jeff: Hey, it's Jeff. Did you hear? Cell phones are wiping out bees and humanity only has four years to live.
Curt: Yeah. So, you believe it?
Jeff: Yeah! Think about it. When did you first start using a cell phone?
Curt: Uh, 1998, I think.
Jeff: And since 1998, have you been stung by a bee?
Jeff: Me neither. I rest my case.
Curt: Well, actually, I haven't been stung since I played hide-and-seek in my grandma's back yard back in the '80s.
Jeff: Did grandma have a cell phone back in the '80s?
Jeff: I rest my case again.
Curt: Well, at least you don't have to worry about cell-phone-induced brain tumors anymore.
Jeff: Dude, if this is true, the lucky ones will get tumors.
Curt: C'mon, Jeff, don't you think you're overreacting? This isn't the first time people have spooked themselves by imagining dire side effects from pervasive new technologies. They said TVs emitted harmful radiation. They even said microwaves made you sterile.
Jeff: Well, I still wear a lead-mesh apron when I nuke popcorn. I don't know about you.
Curt: (Beep, beep) Hold on, I've got another call. (Click) Hello?
Tom: Hey, Curt, did you hear about the cell phones?
Curt: Um, yeah, I'm talking to Jeff about it on the other line.
Tom: Can you believe a cell-phone virus is killing people in South Asia?
Curt: What? No, we're talking about the bee thing.
Tom: No, a Reuters news story said Afghans are afraid to answer their cell phones because the calls carry a deadly signal and if you answer, you die -- wait, what "bee thing"?
Curt: Oh, Jeff read that cell phones are wiping out bees and without them, we're all going to starve.
Tom: Well ... that's just silly.
Curt: Lemme call you back (click). Jeff, you still there?
Curt: Tom says folks in South Asia are afraid that actual cell-phone calls will kill them.
Jeff: Are you kidding? That's a Stephen King novel that came out last year. Somebody must've translated it into Persian.
Curt: OK, look I gotta go. I have to go tear half the pages out of my eight-year planner.
Jeff: I like where your head is.