How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Phone

March 16, 2006

It’s finally happened. I’ve been dragged into the 21st Century and gotten a cell phone. I’ve done it in spite my technophobophilia–which is loving technology but being afraid of commitment. I’ll become heavily involved with a store display laptop, but when it’s time for me to leave I always end up asking it if we can just be friends. That’s why I’m currently just going steady with the cell phone: turning it on for only a few hours a day, recharging it only when necessary, keeping my contact list as short as possible. I used to worry about my cell phone ringing if I were, say, in a movie theater, but I’ve discovered that a cell phone can actually be set to vibrate silently–which gave me an interesting experience recently when I was sitting in a meeting and thought some wild animal had crawled into my pants–or even turned off. For some reason most of the people around me in movie theaters haven’t figured this out yet.

The coolest thing, though, is the way my cell phone flips open like the old communicators on Star Trek. Some people claim that present technology has actually exceeded the predictions of the old series, but Kirk never had to worry about being outside his network no matter what corner of the galaxy he was calling from. And he never had to hear, "The customer you’re trying to reach is not currently available." Not that it mattered since the only person he ever called was Scotty, who always had the same response: "I canna do it, Cap’n, it’s agin the laws of physics!" In fact Star Trek: The Next Generation was much goofier because there was no problem that couldn’t be solved. Captain Picard would have some ridiculous request like, "We need to turn the Enterprise into a giant ice cream cone." And Chief Engineer La Forge would adjust his magic banana clip, rub his chin and say, "We’ll have to take the heating systems offline and reroute the transporter pattern buffers through the auxiliary replicators. We can do it, but it’ll take a couple of hours." Scotty couldn’t make fire with gasoline and matches, but La Forge could turn a chicken sandwich into a time machine–as long as he had a couple of hours. If you’re not a Star Trek fan and have no idea what I’m talking about, I apologize. This is the end of the Star Trek bit. Amazingly Doctor Who never had anything like a cell phone.

But I digress. There are some bad things about cell phones, like calling my voice mail and hearing "You are not important or interesting enough to have messages". I’ve thought about changing my voice mail message to say, "You’ve reached this number because you misdialed". And so far the only text messages I’ve gotten are ads, making it more of a "sell" phone. Then there’s the plan. I think I’m currently allowed a thousand minutes. If I go over that it then I get charged a thousand dollars a minute. I wish they’d just give me an additional 200 minutes and say, "You have ten hours!" but cell phone employees only think in minutes. Apparently before cell phones were invented they were all in nationally syndicated talk radio and would spend the day saying, "It’s thirty-seven minutes before the hour, and seventy-eight minutes since our intern was supposed to bring me my double mocha latte." When I first heard that I had a thousand minutes, I panicked and said, "Only a thousand? I’ll use that up in…um…" It was even worse when I realized that was sixty- thousand seconds. Finally I calmed down and figured out that was a few hours–more than enough time to solve anything.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Laughs from Employee Performance Evaluations

For everyone who has ever had an evaluation – just remember, it could have been worse. These are actual quotes taken from federal government employee performance evaluations.

1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock-bottom and has started to dig."

2. "I would not allow this employee to breed."

3. "This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won’t be."

4. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."

5. "When he opens his mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."

6. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."

7. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."

8. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."

9. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts the better."

10. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together."

11. "A gross ignoramus – 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."

12. "He doesn’t have ulcers, but he’s a carrier."

14. "I would like to go hunting with him sometime."

15. "He’s been working with glue too much."

16. "He would argue with a signpost."

17. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."

18. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

19. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he’s the other one."

20. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."

21. "A prime candidate for natural de-selection."

22. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."

23. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming."

24. "He’s got two brains cells, one is lost and the other is out looking for it."

25. "If he were any more stupid, he’d have to be watered twice a week."

26. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you’d get change."

27. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."

28. "It’s hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."

29. "One neuron short of a synapse."

30. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."

31. "Takes him 2 hours to watch 60-minutes."

32. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

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