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lower the cone of silence

keep-calm-and-shhh-46For those who remember Get Smart from the 1960s, you’re familiar with the Cone of Silence. For those who who think the Cone of Silence is a new flavor at Baskin Robbins, let me fill you in.

In the sitcom, CONTROL secret agents were the good guys and KAOS the bad. The Cone of Silence was a bubble-shaped device that dropped from the ceiling to cover the heads of CONTROL secret agent Maxwell Smart and his boss, the Chief, when they shared highly classified info that no one else could be allowed to hear. The only problem with the Cone of Silence was that Smart and the Chief couldn’t hear each other either, and ended up shouting so loudly under the Cone that everyone could hear them. Thus, hilarity — and KAOS — ensued. See for yourself here.

Makes me wonder — how great would it be if you could lower a Cone of Silence (one that worked) over your head any time you needed to mute some mayhem? To wit:

That guy sitting next to you in coach who just can’t seem to turn his iPod volume up high enough for his liking even though it’s so loud that you can feel it in your teeth. Who keeps it playing non-stop on your non-stop flight from LAX to Melbourne. If only you could suggest that he shove that iPod down under. Just saying.

Those women at the movies who feel the need to chat at full volume during the trailers. Hey, I get it, the movie hasn’t started yet. But hey, get this — some of us actually like hearing the trailer dialogue versus your dialogue about why he didn’t call and whether you should call and who called whom last. Here’s a quarter — take it out to the lobby and call someone who cares.

The mom who thinks it’s a great idea to give her toddler a talking toy off the shelf while shopping. A talking toy turned up to full volume. A talking toy turned up to full volume that plays continuously. A talking toy turned up to full volume that plays continuously until you want to leave your shopping cart and run out of the store screaming. Continuously.

That guy on the cell phone in the doctor’s office. Talking to his wife while filling out his paperwork. Asking if she remembers the dates he had his a) hemorrhoids removed, b) abscess lanced, and c) ear wax drained. How about the date that he  d) caused an entire waiting room full of people to gag?

One more. That person in the office next to yours who leaves her cell phone on “ring” but goes off to three-hour meetings without it. Who has it set to ring ten times before going to voice mail. And who locks her door so that you can’t get in there to shut it off and teach her a little cell-awareness. Dial “S” for “seriously?!”

The Cone of Silence might be the difference between chaos and control. But until someone figures out how to make one that works, maybe we can all take a deep breath and try to be a little more considerate of each other when we share space (like keeping our voices low while on our shoe phones).

And if we overstep, sometimes all it takes is a heartfelt “sorry about that.”  Smart advice. Extremely very smart.


© 2014 Claudia Grossman

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