Beth Mann's Blog

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Beth Mann

Beth Mann
Long Beach Island, New Jersey, USA
November 11
Hot Buttered Media
I'm a writer and creative consultant. I have years of experimental comedy and strange theater under my belt. I surf. I cook. I love wine, men and song. And puppies. I effin' love puppies.

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 11:02PM

Cell Phone Etiquette for Morons

Rate: 67 Flag


So you have a cell phone? Okay, well good for you. I do too! Fancy, isn't it? But remember, there are some rules to remember when using that spiffy telecommunication device of yours in public:

1. You're not special because you have a cell phone. Small children and homeless people have cell phones. There are probably pets out there with cellular devices. Remember that when you're walking down the street barking orders like you're Donald Trump and thinking people are impressed. We're not.

2. Using a cell phone in a theater is the height of rudeness. Don't even dare convince yourself otherwise just because other people are doing it. People also pick their nose and urinate in their pants in public. Wanna follow that lead too?
That glow from your cellphone is extremely distracting to those around you. God forbid you simply try to be present and enjoy the show instead of likely recording crappy video that no one will watch.

3. Using your cell phone excessively in the following places is also rude, rude, rude: 

  • Public transportation

  • Restaurants

  • Libraries (Come on...are you serious?)

  • Church (See above.)

  • In a grocery store line (You're too close to me. I can't run from your inanity.)

  • The beach (Is anything sacred? Can you just be in nature for ten damn minutes without a phone glued to your face?)
  • A date
  • A museum
4. Annoying cell phone rings showcase your shallow personality. Just go with something simple. No one needs to know about your love of Rhianna's Umbrella, you know what I mean? Keep that a secret. And don't let it ring incessantly if you're not prepared to answer it. Turn the damn thing off and spare us Toby Keith or whatever weird shit you're into. 

5. It's a cell phone, not a walkie talkie. That means stop screaming or speaking unnaturally into it. Hearing your one-sided conversation is annoying enough; to hear it at high volume makes others want to pack their ears with broken glass.

6. Stop acting like your cell phone is your lifeline. Just because you have children does not mean you need your cellular device on 24/7 to prove your uber-protective parenting skills. Kids made it to adulthood prior to cell phones. If you turn off your phone for a blooming hour, the world will continue to turn and your spawn will continue to spawn, I promise.

The same applies to students in school who are encouraged to have their cell phones on during class "just in case of emergency." No, just learn for once in your one-dimensional life. Focus for a bloody second on something other than your gadget, you little techno-junkie.

7. If you're a chick in your 20's, give the human race a reason to believe in you. When you're in "Like, oh my god, I can't believe he sexted me last night!" high-pitch mode, you become a Barbie caricature of yourself and make us wonder what good you're serving on this planet. Chill out, reign in and experiment with the idea of something called depth.

8. Most of what you say is dull or ridiculous. Really. Nobody wants to hear your inane conversation about your little life. You think it's important, but that's because it's your little life. To the rest of us, its trivial overshare. "When Harry's prostate was enlarged, they put him on Flomax." What am I supposed to do with that little tidbit?
9. Stop carrying your cellphone near your balls. Seriously. Did you ever walk by a radio or computer with a cellphone in your hand? Do you hear how they pick up the electromagnetic... whatever? Do you want those cancer-causing waves radiating on your testicles or ovaries? Or the glands in your neck? Come on. Soon enough, they'll be called "cancer cell phones."

10. Shut up. Just shut up. Do you know how to be quiet sometimes? You know, where you just exist in the moment and keep your trap shut? Where the endless chatter inside your mind doesn't pour out of your mouth like a spewing sewage pipe? Try silence, just for kicks.
So there you go. A cold, hard post about the apparent that I never thought I'd have to write because, heck, I think people should naturally know this stuff. (I know, silly me.) But like the woman pictured at the top of the post (who was on her phone about 75% of the time during a live show I recently attended), apparently we all need to revisit the obvious.

So go forth and shut up. Stop acting like a junkie.



Is Video Killing the Concert Vibe? by John Jurgensen - Wall Street Journal

Thanks to bbd for these nifty cards you can hand out to cell phone offenders: 

Thanks to Matt Paust for the Fountain Woman video, exemplifying utter cluelessness:


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I especially like #7.
How are yew?

I'm fine honey, how are yew?

I'm fine. Whatchew doin'?

I'm at the golf course. Whatchew doin?

I'm at the Walmart. Whatchew want for sup...

Good points Beth...I was at a recent acoustic concert by Lyle Lovett and John Prine and they made the announcement at the beginning and at an intermission, to not only turn off or mute your cell phone, but that taking photos or videos with your cell phone or camera was prohibited. Yet, flashes kept going off and people down front were holding up their phones taking videos. It's not like they're going to send out security, but I was hoping they would.

I'm not sure what it's like in Japan, but when I was there and riding on the Shinkansen, if someone got a call, they got up and had the conversation in the space between cars reserved for it.

I wish people would be more sensitive and considerate.
How stupid are people who need to be told this, do you think? On a scale of ... No, I won't even do it. Numbers aren't low enough. And #4?? why are the ones with the awful ringtones always the loudest ones??
Agreed.. every word. Stuff my ears with ground glass
I have some cards on a pdf that you can print out and then politely hand to an offending cell phone abuser:

Society for Hand Held Hushing (shhh)
I totally misread this as cellphone etiquette for Mormons. Having said that, yup.
"What kind of bread do you want? Well, they have Orowheat, Nature's Own, Pepperidge Farm, Arnold's… no, I don't see Nature's Pride. Can I get Nature's Own? But they don't have Nature's Pride. Yes… let's see… there are a few other brands. Well… they've got Martin's, Ortega's, Sandwich Thins, Wonder, Ortega's. No, I already told you: they don't have Nature's Pride. Are you sure you don't want Nature's Own? But I already gave you the list of brands they carry. Again? OK. They've got Orowheat, Nature's Own, Pepperidge Farm, Arnold's, Martin's, Ortega's, Sandwich Thins, Wonder, Ortega's… No, I don't see any Nature's Pride."

The supermarket is where it drives me the craziest. Can't someone pick up a loaf of bread without cellphone approvals?
"Soon enough, they'll be called "cancer cell phones.""

Yup. And yes, unfortunately, it seems the obvious is necessary for Morons.
If people figured out a cell phone is really a ball and chain.....

I try to make it a point that I am not available by cell 24/7. Or even during banking hours.
Thank you! Kids not only made it to adulthood without cell phones, they might have learned more in school, as well. I have a phone, as I learned how useful it can be if your car just got totalled the hard way last year. But I hate the thought of always being available and a slave to the damn phones. Is it really emotionally healthy for us to be on a constant electronic leash?

Amen to every word.

This should be enclosed in every cell phone box ever sold and signed by everyone who owns one.
Excellent post! Another thing that always bothers me is when you are at some beautiful or interesting place, and everyone else is wandering around like zombies staring at their phones...
Here's a video that illustrates your point: Fountain Woman
I suspect it is a form of addiction. It gives a false sense of importance, since clearly you are on call to someone 24/7. I went to a book reading once and at the beginning of the introduction we heard "Are you a member of an organ transplant team? Are you on a list for an organ transplant? if not , turn off your phone. It got a laugh and I believed it worked well. But then the people there read books so that elevates their thought level.
A few days ago I was out for a stroll when a young woman exited a store. She was on her cell phone. "I have to step outside; I was in a sex shop". Maybe her reception was poor as half the block must have heard her. Good luck on this campaign Beth.
Perfect post! So true. There are some people on my bus who spend the entire 45 minutes to an hour speaking loudly on their phones even though there is a sign posted on the front of the bus with a red line across a phone meaning "no cell phones.". The "me" generation has reached new heights of rudeness. Rated
Brava. Five stars. Might I add one? Museum are standing in front of the Mona Lisa. Don't peer at it through the teeny screen of your cell phone, then look at the jpg you took when you get home, and think you saw the Mona Lisa. P.S. please step aside so I can see it with my bare eyes.
Here's the amazing thing--there's a device that can jam cell phone signals in a small surrounding area and the FCC has prohibited its sale in the US--and they call it the land of the free!

You know I love this. ~r
In the cause of ball-protection, this post may spark a rise in the sale of man-bags (or murses, as I've heard them called) in which to carry cell phones.
I was thinking of writing a post like... hold on......I thought awhile ago about saying...dang...this will just take a second...So like I was saying....for cripe sake, this is ridiculous...I'll be right back............
Thanks, all. I added a few of your suggestions including the great video that Matt Paust sent along. The article that I added at the end goes into detail as to why video recording is allowed to go on during concerts. Very good stuff.
Grade school children should be made to memorize this list.
Perfect. I especially like bbd's link.
Thanks, lschmoopie...I forgot Barry's link. Added now.
You can't give sight to the blind or finger someone until they understand. Annie Sullivan was so unique she's earned her legend. Each day I remind myself of a fundamental truism: on a good day it's a C+ world.

Terrifically funny. Good for you.
This is hilarious!! Never have posted a link to OS on facebook before, but this is fabulous!! I think the whole world should hear it. What is UP with cell phones in theaters???Weddings?? Give me a flippin break!! Well done!!
For the sake of comedic irony, please tell me you snapped the picture of the rude theater goer with your cell phone.
I miss the old days when all we had was Morse code.
Excellent! I think you've covered all bases, and I applaud loudest for numbers 6&7.
I'd like to rate this a thousand times.
Here's something I've had a lot of fun with when confronted by people I can't easily move away from, as they have some inane "conversation" (usually speaking at twice the volume they'd employ if the person was standing right next to them) with no regard for the people around them. The first time I did this in a Home Depot register line, the buffoon of a self important "business dude" found himself with about 15 people laughing, ostensibly at me, but obviously, at him:

I simply hold my empty hand up to my ear and LOUDLY have a "conversation" with my imaginary "caller" about how incredibly important I am and how lucky everyone around me is to know he inane details of my life. One can really have a lot of fun turning the details of how cutting your toenails this morning went. I figure if others feel it's OK to do this because they have a cell phone in their hand, I can do it just because I HAVE a hand...
I just loved this! Want to print it out and copy thousands. Drop them from airplanes onto crowds of people. This is such a huge pet peeve for me. My biggest is when I go out with people for a meal and they instantly plop their cell phones on the table because they can't miss a phone call, any phone call. And the excuses are predictable, "It's my kid, I have to talk to them." "But you're kid is 30! Is it an emergency? Is it a 911 call? No. Get off the damn phone." Dinner parties...and people see that someone is calling and leave the table to talk to them. Honestly, I've stopped having people over as much because I can't stand this and talking about it doesn't seem to get anywhere. We would all do well by taking the occasional break from our phones and computers. Bring us back down to earth and realize that we really aren't just "all that". Love this Beth! So glad it got an EP...people need to read this.
This is a great list!! People don't realize the light from their cell is like a flashlight! Congrats on the EP!
I hate the phone. I leave my house to get away from the darn thing. All I can think about is what the heck to those people have to talk about all day every day? Save some of the mystery for crying out loud.
You left off my (least) favorite place to be accosted by OPCP (other people's cell phones) -- the bathroom! Someone sitting in the stall next to me might be very comfortable urinating while talking with Aunt Pee-ny, but I'm not Gerard Depardieu! (,,20519658,00.html).
I am lost over what some consider acceptable. Truly, how? The cell phone has become the giant elephant in my space...
Love this!! At least once a day I daydream about the past when there were no cell phones. My mother calls me when I'm in the car, supermarket, school, sporting events. . .and gets mad when I don't answer all her calls. When she tells me that she was always happy to speak to her mother, I remind her that her mother didn't disrupt every moment of her daily life. Yes, I love "Maps" on my iphone, and "Words With Friends" but would give them up in a second to go back to the old, peaceful way of life.
#10! #10! Yeah, that's it!!!!

For Comment readers, it's worth repeating again "Where the endless chatter inside your mind doesn't pour out of your mouth like a spewing sewage pipe" --- STFU!!!!!!! I'm DEAF and I can hear you, you moron!
Love this! You speak (silently here) for at least all of us with actual working brains. But I just have to know, is it okay that my ringtone (set Medium Low) is "Mustang Sally"?
Good one Beth! I'm so glad you posted this and thanks for the premiums!!! Reminds me of the good old days at the Mobil Station.
I've got a place to add to the no-cells allowed list: the classroom. Seriously, other people are trying to learn. There is no service where I attend college, and I find that to be awesome! I was in a class once where a kid held up his phone while teacher was talking and sent a text- without turning the volume down. He did it more than once, too. I'm surpreised and saddened that the professor didn't clock him.

Amen to your list.
A friend sent me this a few weeks ago:

I was in in the public restroom, and I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice in the other stall: "Hi, how are you?"
Me: embarrassed, "Doin' fine!"
Stall: "So what are you up to?"
Me: "Uhhh, I'm like you, just sitting here."
Stall: "Can I come over?"
Me: (attitude) "No, I'm a little busy right now!!"
Stall: "Listen, I'll have to call you back. There's an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!
I witnessed a new low recently. A guy was walking down a hall in a university building, on his cell talking to someone he had on SPEAKER PHONE on a remarkably loud setting. I really didn't want to hear her talking about her health problems and I doubt if she wanted me to hear about them, but I couldn't focus on my reading until after he went through a door.
Hey Angel- another kudo for you-do, nice work.

Concentrating on etiquette breaches is a good way to let off steam, but, it is merely one tiny fraction of the actual problem: wireless devices change, drastically, the brain patterns of sub-IQ (read, typical Americun) homo-sapiens. The results are similar to drug addiction, and are already well known by the known wells. Simply put, the text arrival beep is like a rock of crack to the average village idiot, and they simply, and truly, can't stop.

I won't post links here, anyone who actually wants to know will have to use, hopefully, GOOGLE MOBILE!!!

ps- I've been in the NOCS of the biggest carriers in the world on military work, know very well what technology is doing to, again, well, the stupid folks.

ps- good season for surf in NJ this year! Sandy Hook and Jenkinsons baby!!! Would have been the time to go to Reef Road or Ruttles ... Aloha Kakou
"Just go with something simple. No one needs to know about your love of Rhianna's Umbrella, you know what I mean?"

That killed me. That song alone kills me(in that bad way as opposed to the good way,) 'brella. brella. brella... brella. "
That song is witchy and confusing.
Till now I thought it was about something called brellas not umbrellas. I am serious!
This was great, Ms. Mann. I never knew you could rant so hilariously.

Now I need to go urinate into my pants.
I would add the gym. One woman was genuinely shocked when I told her I viewed the gym as a place of "relaxation." Yes, I've gotten assertive.
Hahahaha!! This was great! Thank you!
these rules should be posted in every public square and #4, it seems the people with the MOST annoying ring tones are the ones who let it ring the longest...rated
Oh shoot. I did forget speaker phones. That's rude on rude action right there. That's an extra dose of "I don't care."

Re: the photograph, I almost hesitate to tell you how I took it for fear of legal repercussions. I had to do some research re: posting photos of others, their rights, mine. Apparently, you can take photos of people in public - for the most part. But you might get in trouble if you shot a photo of someone where photo-taking was prohibited. The irony here is that I (underlined) could get in trouble for this shot. I just did it so she could experience a flash or two in her face after being annoying all night long. Unfort, it didn't phase her at all. Ignorance is truly bliss. And soon I'll have to trade out that photo for something else. Oh...or cartoonify it or something.

Thanks, everyone, for all of your comments. Much appreciated.
I tooootally agree with all points except for one-- I think I will have to skip over using it at dates-- but ONLY if you have a lousy date and you want to piss him off! :)) lovely article!

digital printers, litho printers, printers kent
And your photo is one of the reasons I just don't go out to see movies anymore. It's a lost cause. The movie theater has been overtaken by the rude and inconsiderate.

It is amazing how so many of us feel anxious, though, being separated from this device, which is truly not a necessity, and which didn't even exist until very recently. It's bordering on a neurosis.
Thank you for this! I cannot tell you the number of times I have been at a performance and heard a phone go off. It drives me insane because I always put my phone on silent then turn it off while I'm in a theater. One time this woman sitting next to me and my friend was texting or whatever she was doing on her Blackberry and her phone went off several times before my friend and I could get her to turn it on silent. Then she just kept texting until we finally got her to put it away. Even her young son asked her several times to turn it off. She then spent the last act asleep and snoring. Oy.
Anyway, great post! Rated!
Don't get me started on cell phones at concerts or plays! Several years ago, we went to see the stage version of "The Diary of Anne Frank". It's the very last scene, the one where her father, Otto, comes back to the hiding place and makes this incredibly moving speech while clutching the diary. Just at the absolute most emotional moment of the whole thing, we hear behind us...bzzzzzzzzt, bzzzzzzzt, bzzzzzzzt.

Truly incomprehensible.
"If you turn off your phone for a blooming hour, the world will continue to turn and your spawn will continue to spawn, I promise."

That is not necessarily comforting.
This crap has been repeated over and over again ever since cell phones (which are no longer "cellular") were euphemistically called "brick phones". It's just gotten worse and more pervasive.
I love going into a public restroom to hear some guy in a stall with his pants covering his shoe-tops carrying on a reverberating mobile phone conversation. Thanks god it's only sound being transmitted and not odors too.
In #3 you forgot: in class.
This is fantastic! I'm using this for my classroom. haha
This is fantastic! I'm using this for my classroom. haha
Funny that there's an article on the front page about inadvertent sexist remarks when yours contains the inadvertently (I assume) sexist #7. Do you think only 20-something dudes ( the closest male analog to chick I can think of) are doing good on this planet? And is it because their voices are lower?

Not trying to start a war here, just pointing out that young women's voices are often high because of physiology, which is not something worth holding against them. And lots of people, as you've said, engage in too much information sharing while on cell phones.
I'm working on an invention that will allow you to instantaneously fuse a cell phone to the side of an offending person's head. Get fused twice and you're no longer a danger to society. R.
I LOVE you for writing this!!!!!! Number 8 is my favorite!!!!!



Someone had to say it.
Oh, wait, someone did, but everyone was otherwise pre-occupied, on their phone.
I have bursitis, or I would have followed up with a sister post. I am itching to do it, so, please, if you want to edit your page and add this on, I do not EVEN care.
Here is the link for the videos I would have posted:

I was in court, and the jury had gone to deliberration on a case i had against WalMart. It was September 11, 2011 and yes, I understand, everyone wanted to leave, but if you can believe this, as they sat in the jury box, they actually had cell phones, were receiving calls, AND TAKING THEM!
I know I should have taken the whole thing thru the system again, but in light of the situation, I was glad to be alive, and left WalMart to be sued by someone else, and maybe I can assist them.

Thanks Beth
I rarely use my cellphone and get annoyed when people call me on it. It's a $45 a month digital watch.
Number 10. and in the elevator. just say good morning to the person next to you a be SILENT for a few moments till the door opens. is that so hard?
Those are some fine horror stories, people. (Though I think the winner may be the phone ringing during the final scene of Anne Frank. Ouch. Man. So wrong.) And Jeanette, you're right: it does border on the neurotic.

And Nurse PhD, I was being inadvertent at all. I meant woman in their 20's (who should have completed most of their vocal growth at that point). They can often seem the worst when it comes to cell phone use. They seem OBSESSED with their phones, like they'd DIE without them. Not all women in their 20's, obviously, but as a feminist and as a woman, I feel I have some room to make some generalizations here.

I'd love to see otherwise but many younger women seem like they're chatting machines; they can't stop. I fear that this superficial techno-obsession reduces their likelihood to discover real empowerment. And also, they can be just plain annoying.

Was I like that in my 20's? Not to the extent that I see today. And no, I don't see young men as fixated. Again, a general observation, not a concrete fact.

I'm reminded of Pick-a-Little, though that's older women:
These are just wonderful and oh so good. I like no. 9 the best because some balls is better than no balls.
Beth, while working out yesterday I noticed that the conversation between two women - probably in their twenties, maybe early thirties - on the treadmill was overtaking the background drone of a male pop singer that was at least as loud. I attribute this to pitch; higher pitch is more difficult to ignore. Women have higher-pitched voices, even after vocal development is complete, and this probably contributes to your annoyance.
Good stuff. I think you might appreciate one of my songs "Hang Up and Drive".
We need to form a group to enforce cell phone behavior - seems like common sense has left the building......