Quick. A Pop Quiz.
By Bill Miller
Cellular telephones were designed as:
(A) a method of communication for prisoners to speak to each
other from their cells to plan the next breakout.
(B) a device to allow human cells to communicate faster when
you put your hand on a hot stove.
(C) A sure-fire way to identify people who lack the
Anyone who doesn't know that the answer is (c), please step
forward now - I've got a bridge I want to sell you.
The advent of cellular phone service has been a boon to
anyone who lives by the credo: "A moving target is harder to hit."
This technological miracle does not come painlessly. Car
phone expenses, when left unchecked, will approach the GNP of certain Caribbean
It is, however, the expertise required to operate this
magical instrument that should be addressed. I recommend that the University of
Sales Excellence consider some introductory courses toward this end, and I
submit the following as a suggested curriculum.
CELLULAR PHONES AND YOU: A PRIMER. An introduction to the
fundamentals of cellular phones and how to maximize usage without winding up in
a ditch. This intensive three-day course requires students to complete as a
prerequisite, Telecommunications (Phones) and Microbiology (Cells).
DAY ONE: THE HISTORY OF CELLULAR PHONES. June 27, 16,000
B.C.: Early man realized that striking a hollow log produces noise that will
travel over great distances. One thump means "yes." Two thumps mean "no." Three
thumps mean, "Get your sneakers on, there's a lion headed your way."
1670: Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovers cells. Later changes
format to album rock.
May 5, 1941: The walkie-talkie is invented by Murray L.
Walkie and Phillip E. Talkie. Both retain their names for business reasons.
Sept. 8, 1966: Concept of cellular phone is first introduced
to American public via Maxwell Smart's "shoe phone" on comedy series "Get
Smart." Early version is rotary and has problems with foot odor.
January 24: My birthday.
DAY TWO: THE GUARD RAIL. ENEMY OR FRIEND? Topics for
1. If I plug it in the cigarette lighter, how am I supposed
to smoke? (one hour)
2. Doesn't the antenna look a lot like the top of
Elroy Jetson's hat? (two hours)
3. Is there a satellite that follows me
around? And, if so, do aliens hear what I'm saying? (five minutes)
this thing defrost a turkey? (half hour)
5. If I'm driving around in a
cell, how do I get the cytoplasm off my windshield? (half hour)
and driving. Or, who says only lizards and birds can operate each eye
independently? (one hour)
7. Was that the tape player or did I just call
Liechtenstein? (one hour)
DAY THREE: DOS AND DON'T'S
DON'T stick your hand out the sun roof for better
DON'T call the state trooper who just passed you to
criticize his haircut.
DON'T clean the unit by immersing in soapy water.
DON'T call the weather. Just roll down your window.
DO impress others at stoplights by pretending to be on
important and animated calls.
DO bill hitchhikers a surcharge for each call. And, most
DO pick AT&T as your long distance carrier.
Upon completion of this class, the student will have
achieved an understanding of cellular phones much like primitive man's
understanding of fire. In other words, sure, it makes life easy, but let
somebody else explain how it works.