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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wild Card: What a Bunch of Yobbos

"But I'm scheduling you a hair appointment."
Sebastian Shakespeare detailed in his column for the London Evening Standard several more incidents of bad cell phone behaviour in live theatre situations. The column heading "Why Not Give Asbos To These Theatre Yobbos" may prove a bit vexing for some of my readers, but fear not, cherubs, you are reading the blog of a dedicated anglophile. I've seen every episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, Torchwood, Fawlty Towers, The Office (UK version), and Chef! (for which I really think Lenny Henry owes me at least a thank you note). I'm also a frequent viewer of Doctor Who, Being Human, and Top Gear. I've even seen no less than three episodes of Mistresses. Yes, I, a red-blooded American male, have watched and even enjoyed Mistresses. (It's kind of like a UK version of Sex and the City, only, you know, good.)
Okay, so an "asbo" or "ASBO" is short for "Anti-Social Behaviour Order": a penalty instituted under the administration of former Prime Minister Tony Blair for behaviours that are unsavory but fall short of being actually criminal. It is a civil order that can restrict behavior (yes, I know I'm switching back and forth with the spelling - it amuses me - let it go) in some way, though the issuance of an ASBO is now often viewed as a badge of honor (or honour) among youth rebelling against . . . well, I guess rebelling against the fact that they have too many freedoms to really rebel against anything.
Mr. Shakespeare, in a nod to his namesake, picked a humorous and derogatory term that rhymed with "Asbos" in order to round out his headline with "Yobbos."
"Put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV?
Really? That works?"
But what, you may ask, is a "yobbo" exactly?
Well, I suppose I could just direct you toward Urban Dictionary where you may discover the answer for yourself, but, as I am all about educating the public, I think I will instead provide some illustrative examples:
If your cell phone rings in a theater, you are a yobbo.
If your cell phone rings in a theater and you answer it, you are a complete yobbo.
If you don't use your cell phone enough to know how to turn it off, but still feel that you must have it with you in a theater: yobbo.
Possum on a gumbush!
If you use your cell phone often and simply forgot to turn it off: yobbo. Double yobbo for knowing better.
If you absolutely must have your cell phone with you and activated because there is the real possibility of a desperate emergency during the two hours you will be in the theater: what are you doing at the theater, you yobbo?!! (Besides, this is Denver! It's the touring production! We don't get Brian d'Arcy James! We get Tom Wopat! If we're lucky!)
If you have had a cell phone conversation while operating your vehicle that lasted more than three blocks and did not contain the phrases "Is it a right or a left at the corner?", "I'm almost there", or "Sorry I'm late, the salmon were spawning across Colfax again", you are a self-important yobbo.
If you text on your cell phone while driving, you are a dangerous, self-important yobbo, and not Skeet Ulrich dangerous: Lindsay Lohan dangerous.
On second thought, let's stay in.
If you have had a conversation on your cell phone in a supermarket that lasts for more than five minutes and doesn't include the phrase, "tell your brother the fire extinguisher is under the sink," you are a yobbo who is not as interesting as you think you are. Incidentally, the person on the other end of the line is also a yobbo for not yelling "Put a sock in it, you yobbo!" into their phone, or at the very least making a plausible excuse like: "I have to hang up now, I'm having a wart chewed off by a badger."
"Are you happy with your
current long distance provider?"
If you spend more than four hours a day on your cell phone and you are not a hostage negotiator, you are a yobbo, and you are probably a very annoying yobbo who wasted four hours' worth of somebody else's time.
Embracing technology and increasing productivity, efficiency, and making the world a better place makes you a cutting edge individual riding the wave of progress.
Embracing technology and being a pain in the neck makes you a yobbo.
Okay. Glad I could clear that up for you.
(I do now feel that I owe apologies to both Tom Wopat and Lindsay Lohan. I will be sure to take them a fruit basket when they come to Denver next year in the road show of Damn Yankees.)

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