“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All names have been withdrawn.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!

*****DATA*****

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.

*****END DATA*****

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 wgru@umich.edu.

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