New device ensures sound of cell silence
Despite our fantasies, Digital Slobs aren't cut out to be vigilantes. It's just too hard.
Seizing the moral high ground is difficult enough without enticing the feds to shell you from entrenched positions.
Slobs get worn out just watching Batman get dressed.
But now, convenience and civil disobedience have allied to create a tempting, though technically illegal, tech solution to the worst societal scourge of the 21st century: dolts who overflow mindless blather into their cell phones in public places.
The New York Times reported this week (complete with anonymous sources afraid of incriminating themselves) that foreign companies like phonejammer. com are shipping portable cell-phone blockers to the United States by the hundreds every month. For $150 to $250, you can slip one of these gadgets into your pocket and block cell signals with the flip of a switch, creating a 30-foot blackout bubble that radiates from your pants.
Sweet, silent justice has finally reached the theaters, funeral parlors and Rudy Giuliani stump speeches of grand ol' USA. But, there's a hitch coming from that very same grand ol' USA.
Cell-phone providers bought their frequencies from the feds fair and square, and it's the government's job to make sure their legions of obnoxious customers get unfettered access. Of course, renegade jammers aren't the only things standing in the way of cell reception, but it's not practical to arrest the Northern Lights or the Lincoln Tunnel.
Despite the chance of a stiff $11,000 fine, more and more people in forced proximity to a teen laughing "totally!" into his RAZR in random intervals are willing to risk prosecution just to sit in a chatter-free cocoon during a "Saw IV" matinee.
Why? Well, every crime has a motive.
An estimated two-thirds of all hypertension medication is devoted to masking the black hatred we contain for cell-phone abusers -- and by estimated I mean a statistic that I made up but feels right to me.
In a world where "friend" has been reduced to someone who clicked a button on MySpace, there is little sympathy for your fellow "stranger" on the street. Even a "pretty please" plea to be quiet risks triggering an irrational ragefest since, otherwise, they'd have to concede conceit.
All this makes committing a passive-aggressive felony seem the most palatable solution. I wish these jammers came with a "warning shot" beep-beep sound that would penetrate the phone, letting them know they were bothering someone. But I live in a "surely, they would THEN get the message" fantasyland.
Also, with great power comes great responsibility, as we should all know by now (unless some jerk was on the phone during that part of "Spider-Man").
Do you suspect your girlfriend has been giving out her number so much she developed carpal tunnel syndrome? Just keep her within 30 feet and she'll slowly begin to assume she's lost her touch figuratively as well.
For me, superhero-like silencing powers will remain a fantasy, but not for fear of the feds or the dark side.
The world just isn't ready for me in a leotard.