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Cell Hell Phone Fun

Or, How I finally caved in.

12:00 AM, Sep 15, 2006 • By LARRY MILLER
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And the owner and his wife, heavyset people from Italy in their 60s, came up and yelled, "Hallo, Millers! Hallo, boys!" and hugged everyone, and took us to a table, and I showed his wife the phone and how it snaps on and off, and even her professionally cheerful face cracked a little before she shuffled away, saying, "I'll start your salad." Well, for the next hour you've never seen more smiles drop faster in your life. Friends, waiters, bartenders. But I was digging that phone so much it was unbelievable.

I wore it on the plane (turned off, of course) and kept looking around to see if anyone else had one. No one did. Hmmph. Don't they know how to live?

I couldn't stop looking at it in the hotel, too. Last thing at night, first thing in the morning. Isn't that silly? On the last day there I turned it on and opened it up to check the time when I woke up--even though I obviously knew the exact time, because I'd just had a wake-up call and the night table had a clock radio and my watch on it anyway--but that didn't matter, and I giggled when it came on with the song. Let 'em laugh. It's a free country. I like what I like, and I change my mind when I feel like it. Maybe I'll even read the manual with this one, find out what all those symbols mean. Ooh, there it goes. Hee-hee. I even dig the printing style! Look at that. Monday, September 11, 7:15 a.--

Then it was my turn for a smile to freeze. Monday, September 11. I had spent two days without TV; had never picked up a paper. Monday, September 11. You remember. The day Jeff Goldflam and three thousand others were pulverized into a dust so fine they were breathed in by the people trying to rescue them. Hey, buddy, is your phone on? What's today's date? I'm sorry, what? Today? Oh. Monday, September 11. I just . . .


Edge of the bed, cup of coffee, drapes still closed, blue light of the news. Why don't they show those tapes more? I think we need it. Shattering. This side, that side. Impossible to accept.

In the car to the airport, the driver says, "Here in Toronto, they caught a lot of guys trying to blow things up. Maybe you didn't hear about it in the States." But I did. "Good thing you're getting to the airport early. September 11, you know. Five years." Yes.

I DON'T EXPECT to have this cell phone in five years. I've never held onto anything that long. Even with the holder. Too many cups of coffee in five years to drop it in. Too many bars to leave it in.

Will we remember September 11 then? Of course. The relatives first, the rescuers second. The cell phone wearers third.

I wonder if we'll have any other horrors to remember.

Larry Miller is a contributing humorist to The Daily Standard and a writer, actor, and comedian living in Los Angeles. His book, Spoiled Rotten America: Outrages of Everyday Life, will be published in October by Regan Books, and his website can be found at