Cell phones too much

In the 1994 hit comedy movie “Dumb and Dumber,” actor Jim Carrey’s character turns to his passenger and asks if he knows of the most annoying sound in the world.

For the next five seconds Carrey precedes to emit the world’s most bothersome noise – “Eeehhhhhhhhhhnnnnnn!!”

While that may be the most annoying sound – just ahead of any song featuring rapper Ja Rule shouting and the cheers of football fans wearing cheese on their heads – there is a growing, more collective group of noise that is increasing its level of irritation to the human ears … cell phone rings.

From the deep bowels of hell have come these computer-like beeps that sometimes are formed into a tragic rendition of some popular song or just a senseless pattern of beeps to let the cell phone user know he or she has an incoming call.

Forget global warming or the threat of worldwide nuclear war, cell phone rings are the sign of the apocalypse.

Cell phones and their mind-numbing ringers, which some users live and die to hear, are growing in numbers and ruining the sounds of daily life, such as a nice fall afternoon on campus or an interesting classroom discussion.

Evidence proves there is an increase in the number of cell phones and it is not just one’s mind going insane from the sounds. Cell phones have gained much popularity in recent years with 122.4 million wireless subscribers nationwide at the end of 2001, according to the Federal Communications Commission. It’s a frightening 54 percent increase from the end of 1999.

As wireless prices have fallen 30 percent since 1997, experts now project the number of wireless subscribers in the country will grow to 200 million – about 70 percent of the U.S. population – by 2006.

That’s a whole lot of noise along with causing environmental pollution, wrecked nerves and lack of patience.

There’s no doubt Beethoven and Bach would be proud to know that their classical music pieces – along with being used to introduce professional wrestlers and all of the dramatics needed for an NBA Finals series on NBC – are used as a repetitive sound to alert people of a phone call.

But cell phone rings send chills up one’s spine like fingernails scraping a chalkboard, even though there is a wide variety of ringing options for people to choose from. That’s still bad because cell phone users can have their own “special” theme song to answer to and recognize in a room of other hellish rings.

They even like to show them off and take pride in their own unique ring. As “Saturday Night Live’s” Church Lady often said, “Well, isn’t that special.”

Like the Internet and e-mails, cell phones have improved communication in society. Yet, the way they are used is becoming an abundant, tainted trend in American society.

Cell phones are not bad in general, but the rings that accompany them and their misuse in certain settings need to be eliminated.

Get a normal ringer, or better yet, use the vibrating option on it, even if it’s only for the first two rings.

Use common sense and remember to keep the ringer off in obvious settings, like a classroom. You can check your calls later and it’s unlikely someone needs to be a pants pocket away from a form of communication at all times. Fortunately, human life usually is not that hectic.

The issue is not about a columnist not willing to accept an increasing technological world. It’s about technology going too far with all its features and often putting brief, beeping jingles in mostly otherwise pleasant daily life.