Friday, July 09, 2004

Cell Phone Elitism

I've never been a fan of cell phones in general. If they are used in a decent manner, then I don't have so much of a problem with them, but more often than not people are complete boobs when it comes operating their cell phones.

In college at St. John's it seemed like cell phones were used as a tool to separate the "elite" people from the common college attendee. You need to understand that most of the people attending our private, moderately expensive, Catholic university were born and bred to be exclusive. Most everyone went to private high schools, often some of Minnesota's elite. I, coming from a small public school in the middle of nowhere, was in for quite the shock when I arrived at college.

Everyone had the coolest stuff, and I'm talking just about everyone. There weren't many of us that didn't have totally awesome stuff in our dorms. N64's and nice TV's and brand new computers and Playstations and sweet mountain bikes and other such things were in abundance. The only thing I could lay claim to was having a pretty decent computer and knowing how to actually use it. You wouldn't believe how many kids had a hard time operating their computers.

At one point I wholeheartedly exploited some of my dormmates' computer idiocy. One of the better pranks I pulled caused the prankee to continually restart his computer, call tech support, and then leave his computer in frustration to use the lab computers. What's really funny is that it's such a simply prank to pull. Right after the computer starts up, I hid the mouse cursor on the side of the screen and took a screen shot of the desktop. I then set that screenshot as the background of the computer. Next I took the Windows taskbar and shrank it all the way down to the bottom of the screen so that you could not click on it. After that I took all of the icons on the desktop and moved them into a folder on the hard drive.

When the computer is then booted up, it looks like the icons and taskbar are still there because of the screen shot that is now acting as the background. It was beyond funny watching him click on the icons and taskbar knowing that they really weren't there. The sheer amount of explicatives that were elicited from this prank were worth it alone.

The only thing that was somewhat nerve wracking about this prank was not laughing my ass off while I tried to "help" him get his computer up and running. I actually chuckled a few times and had to cover it up by saying that I heard someone yelling something funny from the hall.

A little while after he managed to baffle tech support with his problem and left, I "fixed" his computer. For being such a nice guy he bought me supper. Only after the semester was over did I tell him the prank I pulled on him. Needless to say there was much cursing directed at me.

Now that I have enlightened you with a wonderful prank to try on your friends, I want to get back to cell phones. Everyone that had a cell phone at college used it as a tool to show that they were better than other people around them. No matter what the social situation was that a cell phone toting student was in, it was paramount that their cell phone be answered if it was ringing. It was as if the world would end if somehow the person that was calling was redirected to *gasp* voicemail. I've had more than a few completely head-scratching moments where I've witnessed students answering or using their phones at the most inopportune times:

* In the middle of class while my professor was giving a lecture one student heard his phone go off and answered it in the middle of class. Now this wasn't some huge lecture class. No, it was a 20 student, upper division philosophy class. Not only did this student answer the phone but he talked on it for about 45 seconds before he even thought to get up and leave the classroom.

* I was in the middle of a conversation with a classmate and her phone went off. She immediately answered it while I was in mid sentence and started talking away. I actually turned and left before she hung up and tried to talk to me again.

* On the bus that transports students from SJU to CSB one student called another that was standing right outside at the bus stop. Two minutes later she got off the bus and continued her conversation in person. Why not wait 2 minutes and forego the use of the cell?

Anyhow, I detest cell phones, but a cell phone was the cheapest way to keep in contact with my parents while I was in college because our long distance rates were atrocious. As time went on AT&T ended up selling off all of their towers in the area of Hayfield, MN where I live so I couldn't use my phone without it being in roam. Since I was locked into a two year contract I couldn't get out until yesterday. I am now free of my cell phone and I can't be happier! I'm going to enjoy slowly roasting my phone over the fire.

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