Tuesday, January 18, 2005

On Cell Phone Users and Crazy People

People often observe, either in casually witty conversation or professional stand-up comedy acts, that the widespread use of earpieces with cell phones has made it so you can't tell who's crazy anymore.

I don't know, to me it's still pretty easy. Just follow these helpful guidelines: The ones with cell phones are the ones conducting business deals and passing on trivial gossip. The crazy ones are the ones who look like they haven't bathed in a year, yelling incoherent threats in hoarse voices.


Zack said...

Did you really live in Berkeley for years and come away with such a narrow view of crazy people? I have witnessed men in suits, short hair, clean shaven, carrying on business deals on the phone, only to have other people tell me ... "Stay clear of that guy ... a businessman? No, I don't think so. He just kind of hangs around all day."

This is not a stand-up bit or anything similar. This is human experience. As for trivial gossip, there's a lot of overlap between that and rambling.

The real issue, for me, is that there are numerous social situations where you are supposed to listen to what people are saying. If somebody is five feet from you, and nobody else is around, and they say, "Hey, you wanted to talk to me?" you will think they are talking to you. ...At least, if you don't live and breathe cell phones, that is what you will think.

And then it is not just a matter of banter to figure out how to respond. A two second pause in which you try to figure out if the dude is talking to you is enough make you socially awkward.

cyshas said...

Come to New York City sometime. You'll see plenty of business people and regulars who look like they haven't bathed in a year, yelling incoherent threats in hoarse voice with lots of swear words.

Kenny said...

This was itself a broad generalization, on par with the one that it's intended to poke fun at. It's actually a kind of half-baked notion for a stand-up joke I wrote in my notebook over a year ago and recently discovered.

It doesn't really hold up, I guess. But the point is that you can usually tell if someone is crazy, if you really want to know.