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Bergeson column: Selling my soul

After years of resistance, I finally sold my soul last week.

For years I have been raging against the evil of cell phones. Look what they've done:

Years ago, if somebody told a head of cabbage in the supermarket, "Honey I've told you a million times if I've told you once, you have got to get a new job!" they'd haul the person off.

Today, that same person is sane and at the cutting edge of technology. The cell phone thing in their ear is a status symbol, and nobody blinks when people air their personal business in the produce section.

How many times have I yelled at somebody who has the right of way at a four-way stop but refuses to move -- only to find that they are gibbering to their steering wheel? Dozens.

How many times have I passed a car going 45 miles an hour, weaving across the center line, then to the shoulder, drunk as a skunk at nine in the morning -- only to find they are on a cell phone, gesturing away as if the person can see them.

How many times has a conversation or a meeting been interrupted by a computerized snippet of Mozart or some other cutesy ring tone?

No, I am no friend of cell phones.

Yet last week I ditched my big clunky cell phone, the one that's in the glove compartment for emergencies, the one I never use, the one that's never on, the one that is there for emergencies and long trips.

I gave in and got a phone that talks to the tower that now looms over our town. I got a thin, sleek phone that I can keep in my pocket at all times. It has a good battery that lasts for days.

It contains a camera. It also functions as a tape recorder. I am studying how I can put Mozart on the ringer. And if you leave me a message, the phone will translate it into English and display it in text form on the screen so I don't even have to talk to you if I don't like you.

Soon, I will buy one of those teeth deals to put in my ear at all times so I have my hands free and can weave from center line to shoulder with both hands.

I am always available. You can call me anywhere, anytime, even when I am in the doctor's office or public restroom.

I am yours. I have sold my soul to my new cell phone.

Why, you ask?

The light went on when my supposedly retired father went far out into the woods to saw wood with a cell phone deal in his ear.

No more do we have to worry about him sinking the chainsaw through an artery and languishing in the woods until Mom notices that he didn't show up for supper.

Now he just has to yell "severed artery!" into his phone and it will dial 911, show the ambulance crew where to find him in the woods, provide the emergency personnel with a printable medical history, and call us when he's ready to come home.

The light went on. For years, I have been trapped in the office by the phone. It rings off the hook in the spring and it is usually for me.

If I am not in the office, three people on hourly wage run around looking for me while the customer fumes on hold. Somebody takes a note, which promptly gets lost. That's money down the drain in several ways.

Now, I am free to wander in the woods. If the phone is for me, I can answer right away. No notes on my desk. No angry customers. No wasted time by people trying to figure out where I am.

I am convinced that by selling my soul, I have gained freedom.

Now I am free to talk to the cabbage heads in the produce section and nobody can do a thing about it.