I slammed on the brakes halfway to the salvage store. Wouldn't the opera seem more refined? Or the art museum more cultured?
That's the problem with carrying a tattletale in our pockets. What we might really want are green beans and Cheerios, and we don't care how dented the can or outdated the crinkled box.
But with Steve Jobs and the rest of the gang at Apple tracking our every move, we must consider appearances. Is the fact that we scrounge discards the sort of information we want stored in our "This is Your Life" files?
When my earthly account is canceled, I'd rather the eulogist didn't intone, "Let's see, according to the cell phone records, on the night the orchestra performed at Symphony Hall, the dearly departed's location was mud wrestling at the junior high gym. Then he went to Bucket O' Fries."
Ever since it hit the news a couple weeks ago that iPhones and iPads were tracking and storing users' movements, Apple has been explaining how it isn't violating privacy.
C'mon, anyone who's done the research by which I mean watching forensic science police shows on TV knows you can be tracked anywhere, any time by your cell signal.
It's like a combination of a rat-fink little sister running to mama and a "Where's Waldo" app.
This spying and prying is why I need to change my habits to reflect an air of greater wisdom.
So the first habit I wish to change is carrying a stupid cell phone.
"But what happens," some may ask, "if you get lost? How will rescuers track you?"
There is no point to having such a place as lost if one cannot get there.
I do not want to be right in the middle of a good lost only to have my cell ring and hear my boss' voice saying, "Our tracking devices show that you're wandering in woods by a pond only seven miles away. Perfect. There's work to be done and you're the closest one to it."
"But if you dumped your cell phone, how would we stay in touch?" you ask.
Still, if it must be done, my proposal is that we go back to decoder rings.
When I was a kid, we saved a clump of soup labels to send away for secret agent walkie-talkies that came with Morse-code style decoders. Spin the secret dial to, say, Code K, and the real letters lined up with coded replacements. An affixed chart listed a series of dots and dashes for each coded letter.
(For you texting youngsters out there, yes, our parents warned us to never bip and beep while riding our pet dinosaurs to school.)
I once bip-beeped a message so long and involved that when I received no reply, I went looking for Dale and Gary, who were supposed to be on the other end. Eventually, I found the discarded walkie-talkie, a crumpled sheet of transcription paper and nearly sharp pencil, but no Dale and Gary. I was stymied.
I found out later that they became so bored listening to bips and beeps that they abandoned the spy electronics and ran to the pond in the woods to catch frogs instead.
That's the kind of the communication system I want. Having to spin decoder rings and bipping a complex system of beeps would discourage anyone from bothering me except for actual important stuff. And if I choose to go outside instead of taking the call, I couldn't be tracked down.
Where I'd go, of course, is to the pond to catch frogs. Or to buy slightly creased ones at the salvage store.
----- Cole placed fourth in the bi-monthly "America's Funniest Humor" writing competition. Find his entries on the Burton W. Cole fan page on Facebook. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.