SparkNotes Blog

The Worst Moments for Your Cell Phone to Ring

We Sparklers are people from all different walks of life. But there’s one crucial life component we all have in common: some day, whether it be in the near or distant future, we’re all going to forget to turn off our phones at the worst possible moment.

We don’t know when it will happen. We don’t know why it will happen. But one of the greatest tragedies of the human condition is that our ringtone will be embarrassing when we really can’t afford for it to be embarrassing. Sure, everyone likes a funny ringtone. “This will be hilarious,” you say as you change your ringtone to “Dancing Queen” or “Stacy’s Mom.” And surely it will be hilarious—but not if you’re in any of the following situations:

1. At a job interview. You know your potential employer will surmise all sorts of unpleasant things about your character by your ringtone alone.

2. In a waiting room of any kind. It takes a certain kind of bravado to continue sitting there flipping through magazines, acting as if your phone didn’t just explode with the dulcet tones of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.”

3. In class, whether it be an intimate gathering of 10 or a whopping lecture of 500.

4. When you’re with your grandmother.

5. When you’re a teacher and you’ve just given an impassioned speech about confiscating phones when they go off in class.

6. In the library, particularly during finals week when everybody’s on the verge of a mental breakdown.

7. In a public bathroom.

8. At the urinal, which I feel is worse, because in the stall you can claim a certain amount of anonymity. At the urinal you just have to own up to it.

9. During a tennis match/golf outing/basketball free throw.

10. During the national anthem. You’ll feel the need to explain to everybody why you just interrupted this bounty of musical patriotism with “Get’cha Head in the Game” from High School Musical. But the only thing you can really do is bow your head, grit your teeth, and hope nobody throws a hotdog at you.

11. On a blind date. You’re both trying to figure things out about each other when “Sexy Back” goes off in your purse, and you’re giving them just oodles of material to work with.

12. At a funeral.

13. At a wedding.

14. In a movie theater, particularly if that “turn off your cell phone or we’ll have you killed” bit just played. You don’t give a damn about anyone else’s cinematic experience, and now thanks to Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” everybody knows it.

15. While playing hide-and-seek.

16. While hiding in a closet because the people you’re robbing came home early.

17. When you’re a victim in a hostage situation.

18. When you’re the guy holding hostages.

19. When you’re involved in a tense, life-or-death standoff with Sherlock Holmes.

Has your cellphone ever gone off at an inopportune moment? Was your ringtone totally humiliating?