Superman’s Kryptonite 

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The cellphone is a wondrous invention. You’re not bound by wires or outlets anymore. You can call anybody, anyplace, anytime. You can phone home or your bookie from the back nine, the South 40, or your treehouse. You can call in a box with a fox or in a house with a mouse. You can call here and there or anywhere.

In addition to all these Seussian qualities, your cellphone allows you to do a variety of delightful things. Let you fritter away hours on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Instead of mowing the lawn, you can play Angry Birds, check the weather, read your horoscope, or order a pizza with anchovies. (Yes, people really do that.)

You can now watch your favorite programs anywhere. Broaden your intellectual horizons by watching PBS, the History Channel, or “SpongeBob SquarePants.” If you’re into sports, watch a baseball game—a Yankees game, of course. Maybe the Red Sox, but there is a little-known clause in the Constitution for the immediate confiscation and destruction of cellphones used for this.

They are clearly popular. Apple sold 41 million iPhones in three months this year. However, there is one disturbing side effect: an older, beloved institution suffers or dies. For example, the pop-top can was a boon for beer and soft drinks. But the noble church key disappeared. Once upon a time a geek was identified by his slide rule and pocket protector with six ballpoint pens, two of them leaking. Then came the calculator and slide rules disappeared, allowing geeks to blend with cool kids unless they kept pocket protectors.

And now it’s the cellphone. Despite all the good it does, the cellphone pretty much wiped out the majestic telephone booth. When was the last time you saw one? There was a time when phone booths were in every shopping mall and service station.

The lack of telephone booths explains the mess in the world. With no more booths, Superman disappeared. A definite connection. Without phone booths, Clark Kent cannot change. Bring it back and Superman will rid us of crime in the streets, evil despots, rage drivers, stupid TV shows, and people who don’t pick up after their dogs.

Without phone booths, a television classic, “The Sopranos,” wouldn’t have survived. That’s where Tony called his various goons to order hits on those exiting the show.

So, express your thanks tonight for the contributions of the late, great phone booth. They now live in the Land of Extinction, waiting for the ring that never comes and being pooped on by passenger pigeons.