Push your P2TMOTO Where the Sun Don't Shine
By Sam Low
I'm in an island store. I'm standing in line and I hear this guy talking - loudly.
“Hey Bud, you down there?”
There's a pause, then a metallic reply accompanied by static.
“Yeah, at the steamship 'thority – waz up?”
He's yelling into what looks like a cell phone. Another customer rolls her eyes at me. The rest just stand in line. Can't they hear this? Aren't they pissed off? The cell phone guy is at the other side of the store and I don't want to lose my place in line. I don't want to shout at him, either, that would be just as bad. Then - miracle of miracles, he walks over and stands next to me - holding his cell phone thing - showing it off. Lookit what I got.
It's just too much. I grab the thing and say:
He looks startled and says, “hunh?”
I size him up. Mid thirties, face like a bulldog - way overweight. Can I take him? I'm hardly a specimen. I'm sixty. But he's got a hundred pounds on me so I figure I can run circles around him and tire him out if it comes to that. Or I can run out the door.
“So,” I say, “you got to yell into it or what? Can't you use it like this?”
I put the thing up to my ear and speak gibberish into it. Loudly - like they all do.
“Hunh?” he says, “yeah, but it's also like a walkie-talkie.”
A walkie-talkie? Can you imagine what this means? We already have a nation of bozos shouting inanities at the top of their lungs and now we get to hear the inanities of the bozo on the other end?
I won't bore you with what I told him about being rude and whatnot. The amazing thing is - he apologized. Abjectly. Did I overreact? I give him back the phone/talkie and turn to the counter.
And, yes, I did hear the grunted oath he made as I turned away - but I left it at that.
So here's what inspired this piece. Last week's New Yorker has an ad for a thing called P2TMOTO. The ad shows folks of all ethnicities – Oriental, Black, Spanish, Nordic, Yankee - holding their talkie things up to their mouths and speaking into them The ad says this:
push to tell. your friends or family.
push to transmit. across country.
push to talk. right away.
How about that? The faux poetry of it? Free verse, like E.E. Cummings, right down to the no capital at the beginning of each phase and the little period at the end? In the New Yorker?
My friends, I think we got to tell them where to push that little P2MOTO.
you know where. right away.