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Coping With The Cell Phone Culture

This column was written by CBS Evening News Anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.
This is another in our occasional comments on the cell phone culture.

I realized a long time ago that cell phones are not to communicate. They are the new cigarette, something to grab when we're nervous, but I have come to believe they are something more, a magic carpet that takes us from reality to a different place like a child who reads "Harry Potter" or the drunk who believes he is invincible, as in, 'It's OK, honey. They'll never see us over here.'

Cell phone users are transported to a place where they no longer see or hear the world around them. Unfortunately, in the world around them, where the rest of us are, we hear them. It's like standing on the corner when one of those cars that blare rap music stops for a light. Mercifully, the cars move on. These ego-phoniacs just keep on talking about things that are, one, boring, or, two, no one else's business.

In the Denver Admiral's Club airport lounge early one morning last week, I listened for a full half-hour as a woman explained confidential details of a business presentation including her company's fall-back positions. What would the other side have paid for what was being forced on me for free?

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I'm not sure how the rest of us can combat this, but here is one thought. The next time an ego-phoniac shares a secret you don't want to hear, just join in the conversation, something like, 'Why that's a terrible idea,' or, 'Don't be such a gutless ninny. Stand up for yourself.'

On second thought, that could be a good way to get hit in the mouth with a cell phone. Still, it might be worth the risk.

By Bob Schieffer

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