Holding cells

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American Airlines has decided to allow passengers to use cell phones while on board. To those of us who shun these pagan devices, this is very, very bad news.

At this point, usage will be limited to planes parked at the gate or stuck on the ground, but anybody with a lick of sense can see that this is merely the thin end of the wedge. There's no going back.

What we need, then, are some restrictions. First of all, anybody who begins a cell-phone conversation with the question "Guess where I am?" loses his or her phone immediately and permanently.

Next, a list of acceptable phone topics needs to be compiled and strictly enforced. Zero-tolerance on this is essential. Acceptable topics may include but not necessarily be limited to: quitting a six-figure job on a whim; houses on fire; in-laws. Other topics should be case-handled by a 90% majority vote among passengers. Children and in-flight staff should only be allowed to vote "no."

You want to be soft. You've got to be firm.

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