Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sometimes Life Imitates Art

Walking to the grocery yesterday as the temperatures flirted with the twenty degree mark, eventually breaking it but too late to help on my hike, I passed a gas station that has long since closed off its service bays and now sells a wide variety of items in that space to help it make up for the shorter mark-up of profit in gasoline so as to stay in business.

Almost all of the products sold seem to me in some way to have to do with cell phone accessories as if the first place I'd go to buy such an item is a gas station and also for tobacco products.

The place had placards for dozens of brands I've never heard of at prices north of six dollars a pack (I found myself wondering "American dollars?') with some form of L & M cigarettes at $7.29 (Yipes!). Reminded me of some old thoughts I've had on both product lines.

I stopped smoking cigarettes at 1330 on Monday, 30 September 1996. I was smoking about three packs a day at that time and stopped cold turkey. Was I scared of cancer? Yeah, I guess. Especially when someone I knew would be diagnosed with it-but you never light the cigarette that gets you, I suppose or believed. Still miss it. First I'd switched to 'light' cigarettes, a champion misnomer if ever there were one. And then I stopped altogether.

And then I got sick in a half dozen other ways and now I spend a lot of time listening to people who aren't doctors tell me how much worse all of my health problems would be if I still smoked. Not only would I appreciate it they'd shut up I wish they'd take up smoking and get cancer. Just kidding (no, actually I'm not).

I mention this because light cigarettes are a lot like hands-free cell phones while driving, at least in my eyes and ears. Holding the phone in my hand while driving isn't what makes me a lot less safe though I concede I am unsafe, and if you don't think this applies to you, your cell phone and your driving, stop reading now and go do something else because it does. 

Listening to that other person on the phone-whether I'm holding it against my ear, marveling at how it comes out of my blue tooth (I remembered the name!) or reading it as a sky-writer circles back to dot the eyes or put the umlaut over the U in F-nevermind the word, is what distracts all of us. 

We can think anything we'd like but we're wrong because we can't do anything else but drive when we drive or we'll fail at everything we are trying to do. And because you didn't have an accident today doesn't mean you won't the next time.

There are too many distractions that get into the vehicle with us these days, if we'd all pledge to turn the phones off before we put the keys in the ignition, we'd all be a lot safer. From each other. Our vehicles are marvelous triumphs of technology, but brainless. That's why they need us to use the one we have. 

There are too many ways for our lives to end but by our own hand, or hands-free, shouldn't be one of them. Ever.
-bill kenny

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