Phone emergency

People. We need to talk. I need you all to listen to me. Hey. Seriously. Hello? You there. Put down your phone. You can’t read this and listen to me. Not you, sir – you’re reading this on your phone so clearly you can keep reading. Obviously I’m not talking to you. You, ma’am. Yes. You. With the paper in your left hand. Put down the phone and just listen to me for a moment.

So, now that I have your complete and undivided attention, please, please, please listen to me: PUT. DOWN. YOUR. PHONES.

No, I am not again chastising imaginary readers (although if my opening resonated with you, perhaps it’s time for some self reflection).

I am talking about in your cars. Keep looking at your phone all you want when you are reading the paper. I don’t care. In fact, stay on your phone most any other time you want. It’s your life. 

Also, quick side note: If restaurants could get cracking on something for me, that would be great. I would like every restaurant to offer signs you can place on your table that read, “FAMILY ON VACATION. THEY’VE HAD LOTS OF FAMILY TIME, INCLUDING BEING STUCK IN A CAR FOR THE LAST FIVE HOURS. YES, THEY’RE ALL ON THEIR PHONES. THEY NEED SOME ALONE TIME. DON’T JUDGE.”

But I have reached my limit with folks using their phones in the car. Look, I get how amazing your phone is. I have one, too. It’s super awesome. And in fact, it’s so awesome it even has the ability to sit idle for multiple stretches of minutes.

I drive to and from work on a couple of rather busy roads. And I am constantly amazed how many people are on their phones. Texting. Flipping through apps. Watching videos. Seriously. Watching actual movies, phone perched on their steering wheel, video just a streamin’ as they barrel along next to me at 50 mph on a crowded morning commute. Perfectly reasonable choice, right?

Look, I am not one for having to make laws for every conceivable thing out there. I get overregulation can be a problem. I don’t want a rule or a law for every little one-off problem. But we live in a world where, on occasion, people have placed signs above urinals that read “DO NOT DRINK OUT OF URINALS.” Do you think that sign got there because one crazy dude took a bet from his idiot friend and drank out of it? No. It did not. It was not a one-off. It had happened enough that some manager had to say to his staff, “Well, I guess we need to put a sign up to make ‘em stop doing it.”

So we sometimes have to make rules because people, well, drink out of urinals. And while that’s not a law, I’m not sure there would be a whole lot of opposition if someone were to put forth such a law because, you know, gross.

But something like the phone? Yeah, it’s gotten out of hand. Or, rather, too much in hand. I was out in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. A few months ago, they enacted a law that basically said, “Yeah, no using your cell phone. Or drinking out of urinals.” OK, maybe they didn’t include the second part. 

But as we were driving along, my son took part in one of his favorite passenger seat games: Count the Texting Drivers. Around our home, it’s, sadly, around a 40-50 percent rate. It’s awful. In Arizona? Yeah, no one. Not a phone in sight. Everyone just driving around, hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. It. Was. Beautiful.

So South Carolina – I implore you – do the same thing. For those of you who think you are fine and you are safe and blah blah blah – tough. Others have ruined it for you. It’s out of control. It needs to be reeled in. And dealt with with an iron fist. South Carolinians, you can do better. But I’m afraid you’re gonna need help on this one. We need a strict law on this. As for other things, I’ll take you at your word that you haven’t been drinking out of the urinal.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at


Leave a Reply