Harley Hay

Harley Hay: On the phone with Dr. Reginald Smoot

Well, it’s been a while – and some might say not nearly long enough – since we heard from our resident self-proclaimed “expert” Dr. Reginald Smoot, non-tenured part-time professor of sociology, Carrot River Correspondence University, Carrot River, Saskatchewan. And since he’s been calling me incessantly for weeks asking why he hasn’t had his name in the paper lately, I figured we might as well throw him a bone, so to speak. In fact, bone throwing-wise, I’m calling him right now…

Hay’s Daze: ‘Hello, is Reg there?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Pardon?”

HD: “I said, ‘Hello, is Reg there?’

Smoot: “Sorry, I wasn’t expecting that.”

HD: “What were you expecting to hear when you answer a phone?”

Smoot: “I try not to answer phones. I don’t like them.”

HD: “You don’t like phones?”

Smoot: “They plant secret data into your brain, cause cauliflower ear, and enable personal cellular communication devices to make pots of money for large communications corporations. Also, I don’t know how to work them.

HD: “Did you say ‘plant data into your brain?’”

Smoot: “Studies show that cell phones carry a tiny chip that shoots information through your ear canal into your cerebral cells, and…

HD: Yes, they’re called sound waves.

Smoot: No, I’m talking about overtly subliminal suggestions like: “You must increase your monthly phone plan” and “You need to purchase an outrageously expensive new phone every two months.”

HD: OK, first of all, “overtly subliminal” is a contradiction in terms, and secondly, what studies can you possibly be referring to? I’ll bet it was one of your own, right?

Smoot: Of course it was my own study, that’s what we sociologists do – we do important studies that shine a light on critical societal constructs, anomalies and greedy cellphone companies. My intense research consisted of a sophisticated formal survey of a random population sample.

HD: Like your last study on the effects of toasting marshmallows in a back yard fire pit where you asked four people why their fingers were so sticky?

Smoot: Of course not. I went to the downtown Co-Op and asked seven people if they had ever used a cellphone. Also, I queried them as to if they’d ever had a headache. The correlation results were astounding.

HD: Are you sure you didn’t get your PhD certificate out of a cereal box?

Smoot: Of course not. I only like Harvest Crunch and those boxes are much too small. Let me ask you, Mr. Smartypants, are you talking on a cellphone right now?

HD: No, it’s a tin can with a string.

Smoot: Right. And have you ever had a headache you couldn’t explain? Or twitchy eyes, especially when not wearing your glasses? Have you ever lost your car keys, or forgotten someone’s name?

HD: The only headache I’ve had regarding a cellphone is when I look at my phone bill, as for those other…

Smoot: Precisely.

HD: Precisely, what?

Smoot: Did you know that Canada pays 15-40 per cent more on their cellphone plans compared to the rest of the world?

HD: I was aware that, yes, Canadians are getting seriously pummeled by cellphone companies.

Smoot: And are you aware that one large, rich cellphone company is trying to purchase another large, rich competitor cellphone company? And can you guess what that means, according to my extensive research?

HD: More Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet calls?

Smoot: You betcha. And Google is one of the richest companies in the world, Skype is owned by a little company called Microsoft, and Zoom founder Eric Yan made $12 million personal dollars in the first six months of 2020.

HD: Yikes.

Smoot: Precisely.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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