Sunday

December 17th, 2017

Reflections

Welcome to the jail, cell

Lori Borgman

By Lori Borgman

Published Nov. 28, 2014

With the family gathering for the holidays, I thought it only polite to alert them that they could be doing jail time. OK, so maybe the family won't be doing jail time, but their cell phones might.

I got a jail in the mail. Seriously. It's a little jail cell, a 10-inch cube. It's plastic with two lock buttons, jail bars and everything. It even has bunk beds and four upright chairs. My jail came in a box from Foresters, an international financial services provider.

It's an adorable jail and you should get one, too, but Foresters doesn't sell them. They send them out to media types to promote the idea of enhancing family well-being by committing to putting down your cell phone for at least an hour at every family gathering. It's a good idea. A sound investment. They'll see a big return on this one. Bull market all the way. Sorry, sometimes I can't stop.

Foresters also commissioned a Harris poll, which found that people were most annoyed by family members using devices at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I didn't think those findings were all that disturbing considering how many people find family members themselves annoying at Christmas and Thanksgiving.

So now that I've got a little jail, if someone is rude with a cell phone during the holidays, I will confiscate the device (wish me luck), deposit it in the jail and hit the lockdown button which says, "We find you guilty of disruptions, interruptions and distractions. Lock it up!"

I like it. And yet, I look at my little jail and all I can think of is Johnny Cash and "Folsom Prison Blues." I suddenly have an urge to wear black.


I hear the train a comin'
It's rolling round the bend
And I ain't seen a landline since I don't know when
I'm stuck in cell phone prison, and tones keep beepin' on


Yes, this will be the holiday season of "You do the crime, you do the time."

You have the right to put your device on mute. Any text you send can and will be held against you. You have a right to a recharging station; if you cannot find a recharging station, one will be provided for you.

Of course, with jail comes the inevitable jail break. You don't need a file in a cake to bust out of this one, more like a stir stick in a Starbucks. Actually, you just snap the lid off the jail and the contraption starts yelling, "Alert! Alert! Breakout in progress!"

The peculiar thing is, in our family the younger generation is pretty good about detaching from devices. It is my media-driven husband and myself who are sometimes reminded by preschool-age grandchildren (coached, of course) that cell phones are inappropriate during family time.

I think I know who's going to be doing time. At least we won't be alone.


I hear that ring tone wailing, I hang my head and cry.

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Lori Borgman is a newspaper essayist, author and speaker. Her newspaper column, appearing in more than 300 newspapers, touches on a wide array of topics ranging from the truth about nagging to the hazards of upper arm flab. She is also the author of the popular essay, "The death of Common Sense ".

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