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Happy rays and cell phones


Colorado Springs — I was stuck at Academy and Woodmen, right at all that construction mess, but at least I was in the pole position, which provided me with a clear view of the traffic passing slowly through the intersection heading toward I-25, so I figured I would make good use of my time and count the cell phone abusers.

You know who I am talking about. You see them, every day. Driving (sort of, it is similar to driving). Chatting. At least I think they are communicating, at some level.

For all I know you are lowering your cell phone right now — if only for a moment — to scoff at what I am writing. Those people, who drive down the road with their head cocked to the side, their eyes dazed and dreamy, and that absurd smile you see curling their lips up, with one hand up to their ear cradling their most prized possession.

Yes, that modern bit of gotta-have technology, the beam-my-brain-up Scotty, the cell phone. How many do you own? Yes, you love your cell phone. You must have your cell phone. You almost die if you wander out of cellular range. Cell phones are good. Cell phones are next to godliness...

...let's face it, cell phones make us feel good.

Sitting at the red light, I decided to count the passing passengers who were jacked into the matrix. Oops, I mean how many people were chatting on cell phones while driving. It was easy at first, because traffic moves so slowly through that construction zone with its choked down lanes. The first three drivers were talking on their cell phones. Before the light changed to yellow I counted nine women talking on cell phones, and one man.

This is not a misogynistic rant, because once the gabbing begins, gender is not a question. I have witnessed 70-year-old farmers driving battered pick-up trucks, heads tilted, and that same, very same..., because they were all smiling. That smile. Men and women.

That zombie smile, when brains are sniffed in the near vicinity. Yes, that dreamy, dazed look, half alive, half dead.

All of these ten drivers had the same crick in their neck, all apparently with snapped spines at the same, precise location of breakage. The smiles made the broken bones that more horrible. Or worse, what if their bones were not victimized, and they were just smiling like that because they were all talking to each other. Or just because how good it feels when that little machine is up against the brain, so close, so intimate.

I did not scream. But panic was close. It was excruciating. I expected the construction banners to start flashing: "Zombie Alert! Zombies on Woodmen and Academy! Stay in Your Cars."

This only began as an experiment, my counting of those drunk on happy rays, because I was bored. But boredom can snap almost immediately into terror when you open your eyes and realize what is happening in the world around you.

I challenge you to execute the same experiment. Do it. Count the talkers (even if you have to set aside your cell phone for two minutes) — of course you might crash, if the counting makes you as horrendous a driver as those zombie talkers, getting their cook on — see how many you can count in a few minutes. I warn you, it will terrify you.

It does not matter how many studies prove that talk-drivers are as dangerous as drunken drivers. For two reason. First, of course, this being America, is that cell phones are big business. So if they cause cancer, it will take piles and piles and piles of lawyers climbed before anyone will openly admit the truth.

Remember cigarettes? Most of that tobacco was grown by Christians who praised God that they had such a lucrative income. Remember slavery? Good Christians were quoting from the Bible in one hand while they leveled their pistols with the other hand, defending their rights to own humans as property, their God-given, God-defended right. Shame on Mr. Lincoln for telling the truth about cell phones. Oops, I mean cigarettes, youch, I'm sorry, of course I mean slavery.

But the big bucks is not the real reason why hardly anyone cares what cell phones do to your ability as a driver, or how it cooks your brain from the inside out. I remember telling my then 16-year-old son that he should not be talking so much on his cell phone (a loving gift from my ex-wife), because it was the same thing as holding a little microwave oven up to your brain. Getting your cook on.

Harrison laughed and said I was just being ridiculous, because "They" would not give us these nice cell phones if the technology were dangerous. It was on TV, after all, and TV is truth, just look at all the preachers with bad dye-jobs preaching the haggard "truth" from TeeVeeLand.

Can I get an Amen?

The real reason people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars a month for their right to talk on the cell phone for thousands of minutes is very simple.

It feels good. Seriously, there is a physical, emotional, almost spiritual feeling, right down to the bone. When those microwaves punch through our skull, and our brains begin to tan, toughen, turn brown and toasty and golden honey-soaked, we feel good. We feel happy.

And our lips curl up toward our eyes. Our eyes disengage and cross. And our head tilts to the side. Bliss, so good, oh yes, please, give us more minutes.

Apparently, that theoretical hamster (along with Schrodinger's cat) in the microwave, being cooked from the inside out, feels pretty happy before he goes boom and paints the inside of the oven with all those pretty colors. Happy hamster.

Happiness. What won't we pay for happiness? Brain cancer? Hey, happiness is more important than brain cancer, isn't it? Obama will spread the wealth around and are shiny new health care will pay for that brain cancer. So more minutes, more minutes, more minutes! Ah, happiness.

And traffic accidents, I'll pick happiness every time. As the jaws of life pry me from that twisted, smoking heap, just slap a cell phone up to my skull. Let me feel those rays, those happy, happy rays. Mark my words, soon there must be — sadly, tragically — chapters of Mothers Against Cell Drivers (Macked?) outnumbering MADD in a city near you.

Talk about pandemics. Who does not pack a cell phone like an old-west cowboy a hogleg? You know you want one.

The body is supposedly the "Temple of God," but happiness is more important than health. Come on, tell me the truth. It is worth it, is it not? Haven't you heard the New Gospel of Happy Rays? It is not free, like grace, but we can sign you up in a very economical plan.

Bring on those, happy, happy rays. I heard there is a great new deal for extra minutes. Sign me up.

God bless you and your family!

Art et Amour Toujours
Douglas Christian Larsen

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