BRAIN FOOD: Words-worth - Cellular Macarena

The Greeks have a word for it, we used to say, but these days the linguistic action has gone west. In America, no new phenomenon goes unrecorded, unreported or unlabelled. Which brings us to 'Cellular Macarena'. What we now know as a 'mobile' was once, even here, called a 'cellular phone' because of the way it works. It connects to transmitters covering small geographical areas called cells. Cellphones were introduced in 1983 in the US and now there are more than 100 million of them. So when a phone rings in a crowded room or public place, everyone present thinks: 'It's for me.' And, as you will have noticed, everyone simultaneously starts patting their jacket pocket, shirt pocket, trouser pocket, back trouser pocket, and so on ... The result is a faintly embarrassing dance, of a kind last seen during a short-lived craze of summer 1996: a Cellular Macarena, in fact.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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