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NBC Squashes Bob the Tomato�s Free Speech

From Sesame Street To MTV To Immorality











By Marsha West

December 16, 2006

I can�t prove it, but there may be millions of people around the globe suffering from an addiction known as CPA. There�s no known cure, no inoculation against CPA and it can strike almost anyone. Millions of teens, twenty-somethings, even senior citizens are inflicted with this addiction. Many youngsters ages 8-12 say they would willingly become CPAs if their parents would allow it.

What is CPA? The scientific term is cellisphoneitis. It�s commonly referred to as cell phone addiction.

CPA is no laughing matter. Just ask anyone who has had to endure those annoying ringtones in the middle of a conversation. It�s obvious when someone is suffering from CPA as they will not be able to fight the urge to answer the phone. After they hang up they will look you square in the eye and say they�re sorry for the interruption. But don�t believe it! CPAs cannot be trusted.

Cell phone users have developed another annoying compulsion: TMS. The scientific term is texmessitis. The medical term is text message syndrome. This state-of-the-art innovation allows users to send and receive messages from their CPs. TMing could turn out to be as disruptive as CPA. Case in point. Recently my husband and I went to a movie. A teenager sprawled out in his seat used his CP to send/receive text messages to/from his girlfriend (my husband peeked) throughout the entire two hour thirteen minute movie. The obvious question is, Why would this kid pay nine bucks to sit in a darkened theater TMing his girlfriend? Answer: He�s a moron.

Sooner or later the dreaded CP addiction will strike someone you know. It may be a family member or a friend. This addiction should not be taken lightly! All the experts say that kicking the CP habit is nearly impossible, which is why users must be slowly weaned off their CPs. Most people who try to quit cold turkey experience horrific withdrawl symptoms. During this time, keep a close watch on your own CP. In some cases it�s a good idea to hide it from them. Sadly, some CPAs will return to their habit before you can say, �Can you hear me now?�

Be alert! CPAs are all over the place. The other day as I waited in a checkout line at Target I overheard a woman yakking away on her CP. People in the shoe section could also hear her side of the conversation. Evidently she didn�t mind who heard her because she made no attempt to lower her voice. During the five-minute sales transaction the woman chattered away. She had to use her free hand to riffle through her purse (which was more like a small suitcase) to locate her wallet. Yakking up a storm she managed to write a check, show the sales associate (SA) her ID, scold two of her three children for fighting, and place several bags in a shopping cart that was roughly the size of a Volkswagen. Here�s the amazing part. With her free hand this petite woman steered the red beast to the exit, while herding three unruly kids. I have to admit I admire her ability to multi-task.

Had the woman been paying attention during the sales transaction she might have noticed the red bath towel someone had left on the counter. It was in with her merchandise so the SA rang it up. The woman returned a few minutes later and wagged the towel in his face. �This isn�t mine!� she growled. The SA turned as red as the towel. He apologized for the mistake and explained that customer service would refund her money. The angry woman turned and stomped off. (Her kids made a beeline to the snack bar.) The SA shrugged and said, �Cell phones.� Evidently this sort of thing had happened before.

My personal pet peeve is people who talk on their CPs and/or TM while driving. I realize this is an unpopular position to take as I�ve gotten an earful from family and friends who tell me to get a life. Their defense goes something like this: �Talking on a CP or TMing while driving is no more dangerous or distracting than eating, drinking a beverage, applying makeup, or flirting with the person in the car next to you.� That�s like saying: �Since drivers already do a whole host of really dangerous activities, what could one more distraction hurt?�


Here�s one example of why I�m against drivers talking on CPs and/or TMing. The other day I was waiting at a stoplight at a busy intersection, and to pass the time I decided to count CP users making a left hand turn. Six in all. Two of the cars had precious cargo in the back seat, probably buckled up for safety. What those kids really needed protection from was the parent who was driving the car! You�d think adults would have the good sense to lay down their CPs for a few seconds and place both hands on the wheel, just in case the unexpected were to happen, like another vehicle plowing into them. When it comes to CPs, even highly intelligent grown ups suddenly become Dumb and Dumber!

Making a left/right/U turn, or merging into traffic while jabbering on a CP is bad enough, but what I witnessed last week really takes the cake. Once again I was at a busy intersection, this time with my husband and two friends. We were shocked to see a young man perched on a bicycle in the left turn lane, waiting for the light to change. Evidently he was working on his tan because the only covering he wore were cut off shorts and a variety of tattoos. Any normal person would find riding a bike in heavy traffic an occasion for nail biting. Not this kid though. He sat there like he didn�t have a care in the world, chatting on his CP. It clearly hadn�t occurred to him that he was surrounded on all sides by 4,000-pound automobiles, many of them driven by distracted CP users.

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The light turned green. The boy�s left hand gripped the handlebars, his slippery flip-flop found the pedal, and the bike sprinted forward. The fool continued to chat through the turn.

So, what�s my solution to this global epidemic? A twelve-step program for CPAs!

� 2006 Marsha West - All Rights Reserved

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Marsha West is the Founder and Editor of the E-Mail Brigade News Report, an online news report for conservative people of faith. Marsha is a freelance writer specializing in Christian worldview. She is a regular contributor to,,, plus her commentaries appear in and

Marsha is also designer and webmaster of a Christian apologetics website, On Solid Rock Resources. She is currently writing a series of children's books for homeschoolers. Marsha and her husband reside in historic Jacksonville Oregon.

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The light turned green. The boy�s left hand gripped the handlebars, his slippery flip-flop found the pedal, and the bike sprinted forward. The fool continued to chat through the turn.