The time has come for all right-thinking people to rise up. We must join forces to combat the cell phone blabbers. Too long have they polluted the air with their loud, noxious, vulgar conversations. The revolt of decent, mannerly persons is overdue. We must assert ourselves.
We have weapons and resources of our own. Some are radical, some are not. All of them carry a degree of risk. But as Nathan Hale said just before the British hanged him, “Who wants to live forever?”
The next time you're in a restaurant, airport, doctor's office or other public place and a cell phone blabber starts mouthing his or her thoughts so loudly that everyone can hear, try one of these responses:
• Take notes on what is being said. Keep a pad and pencil with you. When the blabber cranks up, begin jotting down a record of what he is saying. Look directly at him. Let him know you are listening. If there is a vacant seat beside him, move over and take it. Keep scribbling. Soon he will get the point. He will say, “What are you doing?” Your response: “I am sitting here wishing you would speak more slowly. Or quietly. Or not at all, you misbegotten wretch.”
• Carry a tape recorder. Instead of taking written notes, tape the words of anyone who loudly mouths off into a cell phone in public. Shove the recorder or microphone under the blabber's nose. Tell him, “Federal law requires me to inform you that I am recording your voice and your vapid, stentorian pronouncements. How does that grab you, dude?”
• Repeat the blabber’s words. Remember how you used to drive your big brother crazy by repeating each word he said? The same thing can work with a cell phone blabber. When he takes out his phone and begins to gas off at the top of his voice, begin repeating as many of his words as you can. Be just as loud as he is. Soon he will stop, or move away. Or attack you. At which point you sue him for aggravated assault, settle out of court for $20,000, and fly off to a music festival in Vienna.
• Wear soundproof earphones. For a couple of hundred bucks or less, you can buy a pair of huge, padded earphones from Bose or another reputable firm. This headset will block out 90 percent of the sound around you, including the voices of cell phone blabbers. Carry the earphones with you. When a blabber begins, get his attention. Place the headset over your ears, point at it with one hand. He should get the message.
If the above ideas are too strong for you, do this: Clip this column. Make copies of it. Carry them with you. Next time you encounter a cell phone blabber, hand him my column, and quietly walk away. Blabbers read slowly (their median I.Q. is 88), so you'll be safely out of sight by the time he gets the message.