Ricky Harpole column 7-24-12

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cellphone almost accomplishes what plane crash didn’t

Well, it’s time to have a one sided discourse on pet peeves. Children, that covers a lot of ground so I will be as brief as a mediocre liar can. Maybe it would be best to stick with one subject: the tools of death and destruction.

I’m not talking about cheaply built imported .9mm pistols from China or bootleg nuclear weapons from Russia, nor biological weapons from places unknown.

No, ma’am, I’m talking about a device that kills more people in this country than cancer and cheap whiskey. Check the statistics. It’s the damned cell phone.

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I found myself in the hilly curvy regions of Lafayette County a couple of weeks ago driving an old partner home from a party that lasted a day and a night longer than was in the original plan.

Needless to say his spouse was in a less than congenial mood. After she got through chewing his (oops, I mean to say to him) out she used what was left of her fangs to snap and snarl and bite me a few times. (Just on general principals, I suppose, since I was totally innocent of any misdeeds, of course.)

In the course of our journey to the perturbed old lady, my cell phone went off. I didn’t recognize the number but the voice sounded vaguely familiar. The call turned out to be a miscall, a wrong number. Now, children, I will answer the phone if I’m airborne always. I will answer if I’m on the interstate. I will answer it on a hilly and curvy Panola or Lafayette County Road after I pull over and stop because that is dangerous geography and intolerant for distractions.

After we got that mess cleared up, I got back on the road and within a quarter mile I made a curve past a hill and found a one ton dually work truck 50 yards dead ahead on my side of the road with virtually nowhere to duck or dodge.

If either vehicle had been blessed with an extra coat of paint, there would have been insurance issues and extreme road rage among the survivors. I got a good wide-eyed look at the senseless old buzzard and he was still in my lane and still on his phone.

Probably lying to his wife or boss or girlfriend and apparently unconcerned about the fact  that he had come within inches of committing manslaughter on my behalf.

I’ve survived a central America war zone, two gun fights and a plane crash. I was bitten by a rabid dog as a child and am still alive despite two bad marriages, but that cell phone came closer to cashing my check than all of the above.

They’re handy but I’ve had better luck avoiding drunk drivers for a half century and the adrenalin factor was less severe.

Still got the rubber side down,

Ricky Harpole