I sat in a funeral last week and witnessed the ultimate act of rudeness. As the thoughtful eulogy neared its emotional peak, it was interrupted by a loud and vulgar sounding ring tone emanating from the purse of an attendee sitting near the front of the group. The purse bore several compartments, each apparently capable of holding the offending mobile phone; the search allowed time for additional blasts of the ring. Adding insult to injury, rather than simply turning the phone off, the lady actually answered and conversed with the caller.
It wasn’t long ago that a sufficient degree of rudeness could be achieved with snickers, smirks, innuendo, or crude remarks. It seems that with today’s technology we have reached a new level, even showing disrespect at funerals.
Someone needs to invent a high-tech way of civilizing cell phone users. It’s obvious that common sense will not work and low-tech methods such as signs asking people turn them off when visiting certain areas are equally ineffective. Maybe we could implement a plan like the old west where cowpokes checked their guns on the way into the saloon.
I did meet a Federal Marshal who was on duty in a Little Rock courtroom; he announced that if anyone’s cell phone went off while court was in session; he would happily store it in a bucket of water until court was adjourned at the end of the day. It was a pretty effective method.–CP
Today is June 10th. On this day more than half a century ago I left my parent’s home to live on my own far away from all that was familiar. I remember it like it was just yesterday. My prospects were exhilarating. It was one of those times when I was not quite sure what I wanted but was certain I did not want a part in the status quo. I felt confident and afraid. The move was not a rebellion but a search for opportunities that in my mind I was prepared to exploit.
I relived these and other memories the last few weeks.
One day last week we embarked on a get the junk out of the attic project. While sorting through the boxes of junk I found a notebook full of speeches that I composed and delivered during my working life. I was not a natural public speaker but I was trained in teaching, had gained some recognition in my field, and had something to say. I worked hard on every speech; every word was written out in long hand and each phrase was carefully chosen. The presentation was practiced repeatedly until finally delivered. Placing the notebook on the burn pile put a lump in my throat that was hard to ignore. After that, disposing of other treasures was easy.
Last Saturday we attended our annual Family Reunion which has seen many changes over the last decade. The crowd is thinning and ageing. Young folks are not interested and even annoyed at being asked to attend. After the reunion we visited the cemetery to remember and pay our respects. I was left with a feeling of emptiness and some personal remorse for my trivial and fading contributions to the world and our heritage in particular; a great contrast to that June 10th of long ago.–CP