A few days ago, I suggested that mobile phones should all have a button on them, which when pressed, plays your ringtone. This would mean that if you found yourself stuck in a conversation with someone that you really wanted to get out of, you could discretely press this button, which would be a raised and reasonably large button for easy and discrete access from within your pocket, and your phone would then ring. You could then be freed from an obligation to talk to the boring person you’ve been lumbered with. Today, I have another feature that I think should be incorporated into all mobile phones.
This idea was inspired by the sound of a phone going off which belonged to the person sitting next to me on the train. If you listen to the audio version of this Dollop, then you will be treated to an impression of this ringtone; for the rest of you, you will have to use your imagination. Very fast and loud techno music filled the carriage, and an MC began some very enthusiastic, high-octane shouting over the boom boom boom booming and whoop whoop whoop whooping. The owner of the phone that was playing this lively loud rave music, gave a weary sigh, and slowly produced the phone out of his pocket, and as he did so the volume increased even further.
“Come on come on come on come on,” yelled the MC. Boom boom boom boom, whoop whoop whoop whoop! The owner of the phone gave another long sigh, cleared his throat and answered.
His “hello” was croaky, flat and world-weary. He was very downbeat and clearly hungover. I could imagine that last night, his mood and energy levels would have matched his raver’s ringtone, and it would have been a more appropriate choice, but it certainly didn’t suit his mood on this particular morning. The contrast between his techno hardcore ringtone and his demeanour was comical. It caused me and a few others nearby to chuckle. His phone call ended with him croaking an unenthusiastic “bye,” before returning his phone to his pocket with another long sigh.
No sooner had he returned the phone to his pocket: “come on come on come on come on,” whoop whoop whoop whoop, boom boom boom boom! He held his head in his hands, gave an exasperated sigh, and then reproduced his phone from his pocket. People were audibly amused by this, and I tried to stifle my chuckles, given that I was sitting next to him, not that this man would have had the requisite energy to challenge my amusement anyway.
This person presumably chose his ringtone when he was in a partying mood. I imagine that he didn’t consider how he might feel the morning after, hungover and on a train full of people. In this environment his ringtone seemed like an absurd choice. I therefore think that phones should come with an option to choose specific ringtones for specific times, so that he can have his raver’s ringtone for a Friday and Saturday night when he’s out clubbing and partying, but have something a little more sedate for a Sunday morning that will compliment his hangover, and will be less embarrassing for him on a packed train. Or maybe this could be a function that is automatically activated, so that the phone is able to consider the time of day and the person’s location, and then surmise that a techno hardcore ringtone would be inadvisable in this particular situation.
My other idea would be to integrate a system that is universally compatible for all phones, whereby the person calling you is able to select an option that will bypass your chosen ringtone and play a more standard, sensible one. This would be useful if you knew that the person you are ringing had a stupid novelty ringtone set, but the news that you had to impart was of a sobering nature. Therefore, you could choose to bypass the novelty ringtone for something more pedestrian, to suit your sobering news. For instance, hospitals and care homes could use this feature by default when calling someone, to avoid a situation where the news of their mother’s death is heralded by the Benny Hill theme or We’re Avin A Gang Bang by Black Lace.
Or maybe a better feature would be a system that, whenever someone downloads an annoying novelty ringtone, they are instantly killed. Notice that I stipulated “instantly,” it wouldn’t be a slow and painful death, I am not a monster. I would however have a rule that the deceased person’s novelty ringtone choice must be played during the funeral service. This would act as a deterent for other people, warning them against downloading annoying novelty ringtones. People would soon start getting the message when their loved ones are being carried in on a coffin to the relentless blabberings of the Crazy Frog. Have I gone too far? No, I thought not. Novelty ringtones are really that annoying, and I doubt any sane, rational person would have any problems with the combative measures I am suggesting here.
Get in touch with me if you are an IT specialist who is interested in working with me on these exciting initiatives. It would be useful to have some lawyers come forward to help as well.