Bizarro: Turn off your brain cells before the screening!

A candid request from the management...

We’re all familiar with the request at cinemas, theatres and concert halls for everyone to turn off their cell phones (a.k.a. mobiles) before the show starts. Not that everyone complies — there are enough deviants among us who just can’t disengage themselves from their electronic leashes even for a couple of hours.

But here’s a new twist to that common (and much needed) request: I came across this in the Bizarro cartoon, which offers some fascinating insights into our topsy turvy times. There are times when I feel that every TV set should come with this line printed on top!

Everyone has a story about cell phones going off at the wrong time in the wrong place. Here’s my favourite.

Together with my TVEAP team, I was running the 2004 AIDS Film Festival in Bangkok, Thailand, during the 15th International AIDS Conference, in July 2004. The festival was held across three venues, and showcased over 50 film titles from around the world — we had nearly half the film makers turning up in person to be introduce their films.

One such film maker, an academic turned film maker, was eagerly talking about his film (an excellent one, unusual for academics) when somebody’s cell phone went off.

The film maker wasn’t amused. He told the full house: “Unless you’re a person with nuclear trigger responsibility, can everyone PLEASE turn off their cell phones?”

But the cell phone ring continued, getting louder.

It took a full minute for its owner to be found — who turned out to be our speaker himself! His own cell phone had been ringing in his trouser pocket all this time, disrupting his own talk.

Moral of the story: Turn off your cell phone at a public performance, especially if it’s your own performance!

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