Someone suggested that my life would be easier if I had a cell phone. I could call home anytime I liked. I could call for help any time I needed it. I could send and receive e-mail and surf the Internet while charging through the Burger King’s drive-through while simultaneously talking to my sweetie while she drives over the Lion’s Gate bridge.

I didn’t see the point. I can call home anytime I like now. Twenty or so years ago, when I started teaching aerobics, I spend a good deal of time calling home. I call on the anticipation that someone might have called and left information about a class for me to sub. I can do that quite well from a land line.

I can’t imagine what kind of trouble I could get out of using a cell phone. Once I was a youth worker. A client’s father cornered his daughter in the company of a member of an infamous Vancouver Asian gang. The daughter and the gang member were in the front seat of a BMW. The father, in a Pontiac, gently pressed his Pontiac into the grill of the Beamer. The gangster simply picked up his cell phone and called for reinforcements. I couldn’t do that. The stress of simply having a teenaged young woman with me in a BMW would cause me to fumble and dial the wrong number.

Driving and phoning can be a dangerous pursuit. We expect cell phone users to pull over and talk on the phone. They don’t. They drive and talk simultaneously. Last spring, I got a dinner- time call from the middle of Highway . I heard a few words complete with Doppler effect, then the line went dead. People shouldn’t talk and drive. It can really unnerve the listener. In India, they can send you to prison for six months for talking and driving.

The person who suggested I get a cell phone is a ticketed sea captain. He told me that cell phones now come specially designed to meet all my needs. He recently bought a cell phone. It was equipped with a satellite monitored global positioning system. He can use it to define, within a square meter, where he is on the planet’s surface. I get nervous when I hear of sea captains relying on the telephone when lost at sea.

I distrust cell phones. A friend has pet turtles. He uses a solution of Dettol and water to disinfect the turtles and everything the turtles touch. This is a milky solution. He left a bottle of the stuff near the cell phone as he went to play with the turtles. When he came back, the mixture separated – vertically. People often wear cell phones clipped to their waists. I can think of several glands and organs in this area that don’t need vertical separation.

For me, these reasons are compelling enough to not buy a cell phone, but my real reason I don’t want a cell is that I can see into it’s future. It’s going to cost me too much money. First, I’ll forget the password and be isolated from my messages. My second trick would involve forgetting to turn the answering machine on. It would go off during at an intimate dinner, and I, showing not a modicum of class, would answer it. My sweetie would wrestle it from me and start phoning her friends in Jamaica.

My third trick is one I’ve done many times. I’d leave it on the roof of my car and drive away. Over the years, many of my prized possessions met this fate. These include flashlights, a bag of artifacts from when I was an archaeologist, three wrapped birthday presents, one wrapped wedding present, a guitar, an infant’s car seat, and several mugs filled with coffee. It would be a very short time before my cell phone would join the list.



Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive  

You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. re looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all the above, he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia


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