Jason Witt of Antioch says that his enjoyment last week of a matinee of the animated hit WALL-E was marred by the constant feeling that his cell phone was vibrating in his pocket—even though he had purposely left the phone at home.
"I went to the movie by myself to relax for a couple of hours and just kept feeling like the phone was vibrating. What's up with that?" he says.
Witt is not alone in making a sudden pocket clutch only to discover no vibration there, says Irwin P. Bronk, director of the Institute for Cell Phone Studies at Lipscomb University.
"Phantom cell phone vibrations are a growing problem," he says. "We've done surveys that show that 67.4 percent of people who carry a phone in their pocket report feeling vibrations that aren't there. Our minds can misinterpret what we hear or sense. We can make a ringing phone out of background noise or we can feel vibration of sound waves at a movie and think it's a cell phone."
"I was twitching around like a carp in the bottom of a boat," Witt says. "I was grabbing my pocket every five minutes or so through the whole movie. I couldn't even enjoy the show."
Luckily, experts have worked out a cure. Bronk advises those who want to do away with phantom vibrations to carry a vibrating sex toy in the pocket where they normally carry the phone.
"It's a desensitization treatment," he says. "Leave the sex toy turned on so it vibrates all the time and you quickly get so you don't notice it, and you can watch a movie or do anything else you want to do, in peace. You just have to remember not to pull it out and try to answer it."
But Witt seems unsure. "I'm supposed to carry a vibrating dildo around in my pocket? Maybe I'll just live with the problem," he says.
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