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What would Joe Schmidt do about cell phone rudeness? ...

I’ll admit up front that the link between the Hall-of-Fame linebacker and the modern curse that is the ubiquitous cell phone is tenuous or maybe even preposterous. I wanted to carp about cell phone use and extoll the virtues of the 1959 Topps Football set in general and that Joe Schmidt card in particular, so I joined a couple of admittedly disparate themes.


The 1959 Topps set came into the picture in a cover feature that we did in this week’s issue of Sports Collectors Digest (March 13). I’ve never collected football as an adult, though I probably had most of the set as a kid in 1959. Some time in the early 1960s, I traded all of my football for another kid’s 1960 Topps Baseball cards, and since the other kid was quite a bit more fastidious than I am (not too tough a call: Oscar Madison is more fastidious than I am), his 1960 Baseball cards were in far better condition than my own. Good enough that I still have a whole bunch of them a half century later.

But doing the article was great fun as I looked back at a wonderful set of cards, and now I’m thinking of maybe putting the set together. We also had a lot of fun with the garish pink backgrounds that were used on so many of the 1959s, creating one of the silliest covers we’ve ever had in the 35-plus years of SCD. (shown)

now my beef. I was having breakfast at a House of Pancakes yesterday and trying to enjoy my Sunday New York Times when a woman about 45 years old and seated a table away began talking on her cell phone.


She was seated at a booth with her son, perhaps in his early 20s, and she talked at full volume for what was probably 20 minutes but seemed like 40. I’d like to tell you that my first thought was that if Joe Schmidt were here, he wouldn’t tolerate that kind of behavior, but I would be fibbing. Mostly I was just mad as hell.

For anybody who would suggest that having to listen to her talk on the phone would be no different than listening to her talk to her son, I say, phooey. People raise their voices for the telephone, and even if they didn’t, there’s a different tone and modulation to it that makes it harder – if not impossible – to ignore.

Ultimately, it’s our fault for tolerating this kind of second-hand audio smoke. Grrrrrr. I once sat in a limo for 25 minutes from an airport on my way to an auction on the East Coast and listened as some dullard preened and cavorted through all his earth-shattering business ventures. I should have smacked that dolt on the forehead with his very own instrument, and I should have politely asked the lady yesterday to return the call at another time in a non-public venue.

That’s what Joe Schmidt would have done.

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