Convenience or cancer?

By Josh Albrecht

Society has been invaded by cell phones, and unfortunately there is no stopping them.

It’s hard to tell where the need for cell phones came from, and it is too easy to simply blame suburbia. But perhaps we can blame Zack Morris from the great early 1990s show “Saved By the Bell.” He used his cell phone numerous times to call for a pizza during class or to get out of detention. Plus, who could miss that cell phone? That baby was huge. It was like Sputnik.

But really, the cell phone boom can’t be blamed on anyone other than the advertising wizards who have convinced everyone that these babies are the coolest. One company even created a highly catchy jingle that basically said you would be in with the cool crowd if you have a cell phone.

However, none of these commercials talk about how once a person gets a cell phone, all politeness goes out the door. People don’t care where they are, or what is going on, because if that phone rings, they have to answer it.

Do people really need to be available for a phone call 24 hours a day, no matter where they are?

I have heard the annoying chirp of a cell phone in almost every social setting one could get himself into, including such highly “in need of a cell phone” places as movie theaters, grocery stores and a public restroom. I am not quite sure what kind of conversation is had when one is in a public restroom, but I guess it would have to be interesting.

And why do people leave their cell phones on when watching a movie? Do they not see the screen when it asks for everyone to turn off their cell phones and various other gadgets?

Along with not telling the masses about how rude the use of a cell phone can be, the commercials also do not mention the possible risk of cancer. The debate has been jumping around for a few years now, but a recent survey conducted by Danish scientists who examined 420,000 Danish cell phone users states that the risk of cancer is not as great as it once was thought to be.

The Associated Press reported that the study states there is no extra risk of cancer for cell phone users. However, the article states further that while several thousand of the people examined had used their cell phones for 10 years, most of them had only used it for an average of three.

This figure is important because it takes about 10 years for a slow-growing brain tumor to appear.

The threat of cancer alone should make people, about 97 million Americans, a little more careful with these things. Of course, one could buy the little device that blocks radioactive waves from entering your brain — a night-time infomercial item.

Even the Food and Drug Administration suggests using cell-phone adapters would minimize the risk of cancer.

Another health hazard that arises from the use of cell phones is the increased hazard of car accidents. Too often, people who are suppose to be paying attention to the road are too busy gabbing on the phone.

But, even with this threat, people still use cell phones.

You tell people that there might be dolphins in the tuna supply and people freak out, but you tell people they might get a brain tumor from using cell phones and they call their best friend to chat about the new boy band O-Town.

Now, cell phones provide access to the Internet, so people can check their stocks or e-mail while they are at the mall. However, cell phones continue to get smaller and smaller, so I don’t know how people can surf the Web on these, let alone talk into them.

On the other hand, cell phones do prove to be helpful in certain situations. Take the man who was stuck on a mountain with a broken leg last year.

He was able to be rescued because he had his cell phone with him and he called for help. Furthermore, they could come in handy in other emergency situations or when traveling.

Unfortunately, most of the conversations that occur when cell phones are in use involve people calling each other to say that they are in their car or eating a hot dog.

And as to why 12-year-old kids need cell phones, I am still clueless.

But, even as I type this, a cell phone is ringing (actually it’s playing some sort of song) and I realize that it is only a matter of time before cell phones dominate the world and everyone has one.

But at least we will be hip like Zack Morris, and possibly Danish.