Ring tones

It is fair to say that I'm an early adopter of technology. I will not bother you with the details, but at some future time my upstairs will be museum of early technology. You can find our house as the second Prius sold in Ashland spends the nights parked outside, while during the day my wife, Annette, uses it as she wheels about town showing and selling real estate.

Most of us have a cell phone, which is either a blessing or a bane, depending on who is defining it and what protocols, if any, are used when taking or making a call. Too many think that they are alone when talking in a public place and blurt out loudly as they gossip, chat, blather, natter, confabulate and chin-wag their way through the day. If I need to know the status of your cousin's latest operation, I'll walk over to your table and beg you to fill me in. Otherwise, pretend that you are eating and leave the buckets of personal information locked away deeply and darkly.

I just do not want to know, thank you.

Remember to set it to vibrate or simply turn it off when attending a meeting, going to the movies or paying last respects at a funeral service. It can be considered either amusing or disrespectful to hear Darth Vadar's voice, a blues guitar solo or polka music blaring to announce a call when a shovel of dirt is being ceremoniously spread over the coffin of someone recently departed. I call it a grave offense.

Let's focus, for the moment, on an aspect of all newer cell phones that can make a lasting impression: the choice of ring tones. My first cell phone had a couple of choices, though all were annoying. Now any snippet of music from any genre can be downloaded into the phone, allowing it to be personalized to express to the world who you really are.

Classical for the cognoscenti, Jazz or Hip-Hop for the seriously cool, Country for the rural, photon torpedos for the Trekies, I don't know what is the latest for kids in school, but I'm sure the ring tones attract attention and lose their freshness in about a day.

I began thinking about reprogramming mine to reflect my 16 distinct personalities, but it only set off a shouting match in my head as the different factions vied for attention and dominance. One wants martial music that almost forces republicans to rise in respect, another wants elevator Elvis, which could cause a Boomer to croak. Bluegrass has a following, as do Mexican corridos. Who could not like the sound track to the Pink Panther? Apparently one of me doesn't and instead is voting for funeral dirge.

The only ring tone that all of me considered OK was the sound of the bells in an old rotary dial phone. It was first heard as a baby and, like a pacifier, it was universally accepted.

This settled, I didn't want to hear shrieking sounds or notorious noises going off around me, in much the same way I don't enjoy the copious drivel of the person next to me as I peruse the San Francisco Chronicle over coffee. I knew that there had to be a solution, so I Googled about and found one, though it is illegal, like jaywalking, here in the United States.

I found a storefront on the Internet that sells a device that shuts down all cell traffic within a 50-foot radius, though it is marked as protection against bats, spiders and snakes.

A day after receiving my personal shield I went downtown for breakfast. Within a few minutes two girls walked in while gushing into their cell phones, employing a whiny shrill that shivered my timbers. Unable to stand it, I reached into my jacket pocket and pressed a button, leaving all the patrons unable to guess who said what to whom.

I may go to prison, but no cell will hold me ransom.

Lance was last seen quietly eating his lunch while many around him kept trying to reprogram their phones, which for some apparent reason, had stopped working. You may quietly email lance@journalist.com to obtain the re-booting sequence.

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