“An Instrument of Death”

I recall years ago seeing people on television or out in public having important conversations on their cell phones. That was long before every teenager, grandparent, and civil servant succumbed to the technological appeal of staying connected with everyone other teenager, grandparent, and civil servant outside of North Korea. Back when ownership of a cell phone was the societal equivalent of driving a Mercedes. Now when I see three people seated at the Food Court having three independent cell phone conversations, it seems cell phone ownership has become the societal equivalent of riding a Huffy.

Back then, I always wondered what it must be like to have a job so important that a cell phone was critical. One of those jobs that required a person to be available at all times. Something impressive like a corporate executive, a Hollywood mogul, or a government agent.

Now that I have one—the job and the phone—I don’t wonder about that sort of thing anymore. Now I hate my phone. Keep in mind that 95% of the time that my phone rings it means that somebody has died. I’ve even developed an aversion to answering my phone at home. The only people that call my home phone tend to be telemarketers, but I guess every now and then I like to talk on something that doesn’t accelerate the growth of the tumor on the right side of my head.

I don’t even know why I keep the land line. It’s like a dog that never gets played with, but the owner keeps buying food for it every month. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t tear up the furniture or crap in the house when I’m out later than usual. Everyone knows they can connect directly to my hip 24/7 and I’ll answer unless I’m gloved up or in the shower. Come to think of it, I’ve worked plenty of scenes where both conditions applied. (See my post “Suicide Foresight.?)

The best part about cell phones–besides the fact I haven’t paid a cell phone bill in years–is that just about every cop has a cell phone. Gone are the days of trying to return a call to a private residence and getting a busy signal for an hour at 3 a.m. because the family has the phone tied up. The police are also able to use their cell phones instead of their radios on certain scenes in order to keep the media from hearing about the incident over their police scanners. Inevitably some citizen sees all the police activity and calls the local station’s “When you see news happen? hotline using their cell phone.

For anyone going in to this line of work, I have a bit of advice–be sure you get the optional phone insurance. I’ve noticed that the smaller the cell phones get, the fewer impacts against the bedroom wall they seem able to withstand.


7 Responses to ““An Instrument of Death””

  1. 1 Liz
    January 21, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    I’m glad you are back. I enjoy your writing and your unique view on society.

    Yes, cell phone insurance.

    But should you keep your phone in your (washable clothing) pocket, and sometimes neglect to check the pockets before immersing said item in the washing machine–

    fear not. Dissasemble the phone and let it dry.

  2. January 23, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Welcome back! I love my cell phone, and I’m glad my kids have them. My parents didn’t have the luxury of calling me to see where I was. Mom usually got in the car and drove around until she found me.

  3. 3 Kitt
    January 25, 2007 at 8:15 am

    I love the new look, and I’m really glad you’re back. And as another public servant with an electronic leash, I know exactly what you’re talking about.

  4. January 25, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Welcome back. New design is fun.

  5. 5 Jen
    January 25, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    I’m so glad you’re back! Yay!

    My phones don’t seem to hit the wall so much as just disappear. Once the battery’s dead there’s almost no way to find the tiny things. I think cell phones should be bigger, both so they can store a longer charge for when you get stuck in the snow on some abandoned mountain road, and also so you can FIND them!

  6. January 26, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Wow, what a change! Well done. Can’t wait for more stories.

  7. January 26, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Im glad your back, I love the new look btw.

    Ive had a cell phone since 1996 when they were HUGE. I am much happier w/ the new smaller versions. I like my phone and use it all the time, but I am not a coroner either, nor do I have a job so that makes it all much more pleasurable…..

    I am looking forward to another new post! missed ya.

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