“ANN ARBOR, Mich. — If you use your cell phone to talk about news of the day or to express opinions about issues, you are more likely to be civically and politically engaged, a new study says,” says a Sept. 13 University News Service report.
All names have been withdrawn.
RESEARCHER 1: Hey, hey, hey.
RESEARCHER 2: Aloha.
RESEARCHER 1: Is that a lei?
RESEARCHER 2 (touching his lei): You like it?
RESEARCHER 1: Hey-o, Mr. Stylish over here, being all stylish.
RESEARCHER 2: Hey-o, Mr. Nice Guy over there, being all nice.
RESEARCHER 1 (sits down in bean bag chair): Weeell, they gave us two million for another study.
RESEARCHER 2: The University? Didn’t we just do one?
RESEARCHER 1: Three years ago. So yeah. But it’s two mil. We should probably do one. Are those gummy bears?
RESEARCHER 2 (passing gummy bears): Hmmm. Something with the media? And how it influences us?
RESEARCHER 1 (picking out red ones): Thank you, Researcher Two. And that’s a great idea. It’s bold. It’s edgy. The media is all around us. Take cell phones.
RESEARCHER 2: Take cell phones.
RESEARCHER 1: All around us. I’ve got 12.
RESEARCHER 2: Nice!
RESEARCHER 1: They’ve got movies, music, Tetris. They’re a game-changer. Bob and Tom down the hall just did a study about how people who use cell phones to talk about politics and news and stuff are more likely to be civically and politically engaged.
RESEARCHER 2 (playing Tetris on phone): Oooh, so if you talk about politics on your phone, you’re more likely to be interested in politics and engage yourself in them?
RESEARCHER 1: Basically. I think so. It might be a bit more complicated, but probably not.
RESEARCHER 2: Fascinating.
RESEARCHER 1: Exactly. Now, what I’m wondering is this: What about those people who aren’t using their phones to talk about issues and politics and stuff?
RESEARCHER 2: Hmmm. Probably worth investigating?
RESEARCHER 1: Mind reader in the building. Do we still have that student cell phone data?
RESEARCHER 2: I just saw it somewhere… (Looks under Jenga tower.) Here it is — Aw, crap.
RESEARCHER 1: Woooah, JENGA! Ha ha. We won’t count that, though. Okay, let’s see what we got here. Texts AND calls, very nice. Should we show them to readers?
RESEARCHER 2: Who’s reading this?
COLUMNIST: No one.
RESEARCHER 1: Excellent point. But we should do it for posterity’s sake.
RESEARCHER 2: I love posterity!
TEXTER 1: let me tel u sometihng about teh universe
TEXTER 2: what?
TEXTER 1: just a litlle sometingh abot the univerrse
TEXTER 2: are you drinking?
TEXTER 1: LOL
TEXTER 2: dammit
TEXTER 1: its biig
CALLER 1: What do I think? What do you think I think?
CALLER 2: Oh, don’t be a whore, (name removed).
CALLER 1: I’M the whore? Please. So what frat was he in?
CALLER 2: Shady Phi.
CALLER 1: Oh for the love of Jesus (expletive) (expletive), (name removed).
CALLER 2: Oh, shut up.
CALLER 1: Hey, are you watching “Glee” tonight?
CALLER 2: Mhm.
CALLER 1: Can I come?
CALLER 2: See you thennn. Gotta go.
CALLER 1: Laterrr.
TEXTER 1: hey u wanna come over tonite
TEXTER 2: wow. srsly?
TEXTER 1: yea y not
TEXTER 2: i cant believe u
TEXTER 1: what
TEXTER 2: ‘what.’ god such a moron
TEXTER 1: what
TEXTER 2: y dont u take me on a date
TEXTER 2: … r u going to answer me
TEXTER 2: …
TEXTER 1: what
TEXTER 1: just come ovr
TEXTER 2: god u piece of (expletive) (expletive)
CALLER 1: BRAAAAAH. CAN YOU HEAR ME?
CALLER 2: LOUD AND CLEAR, BROPALLO.
CALLER 1: HA HA, LIKE APOLLO THE SPACESHIP, SOLID.
CALLER 2: DUDE. TOUCH — (expletive) — DOWN.
CALLER 1: D-NARD.
CALLER 2: SHOELACE.
CALLER 1: DOESN’T TIE HIS SHOES.
CALLER 2: WE SHOULDN’T TIE OUR SHOES.
CALLER 1: LET’S WALK AROUND WITH OUR SHOES UNTIED TOMORROW.
CALLER 2: WE’LL INVITE ALL OUR FRIENDS.
CALLER 1: SOLID.
RESEARCHER 1: Good lord. This is…I think we’ve got something here. This was under Jenga the whole time?
RESEARCHER 2 (frowning): So, um…students…who aren’t talking about politics and issues…are less likely…
RESEARCHER 1: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
RESEARCHER 2: …To care about politics and issues?
RESEARCHER 1: Bingo.
RESEARCHER 2: Woah…this is…I feel like this is groundbreaking.
RESEARCHER 1: This is groundcrushing.
RESEARCHER 2: We just (expletive) owned the ground.
RESEARCHER 1: Wait until Bob and Tom hear about this.
RESEARCHER 2: Researcher One?
RESEARCHER 1: Yes, Researcher Two?
RESEARCHER 2: What about the two million?
RESEARCHER 1: Oh. Yes. Well, we’re out of gummy bears, aren’t we?
Will Grundler is an assistant editorial page editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.