As I opened the iPad cover to fire up the NIV during church last week, the entire congregation got a few seconds of "Juke Box Hero" by Foreigner.
My loving wife had been listening to a classic rock station just before church. I clapped the cover down quickly like a burglar that's just mistakenly lifted the lid on a music box, but the music persisted until I got the app open and shut down.
The lyrics talk about hearing the "roar of the crowd" and I heard the crowd all right; they were snickering along with a few completely un-muffled belly laughs.
We've all been there, in a meeting, standing in line, or some other inopportune time when our electronic device suddenly blared out unexpectedly.
My cell phone rarely rings except during business hours so I'm bad about remembering to put it on "silent" at church or in a meeting. I got tripped up big time one day at Rotary when the same coworker dialed me three times to ask questions. That's a fine in the club meeting and I pretty much emptied my wallet that day.
The second call that day came before I could get it silenced and the third came after I thought I had the new phone muted. The old phone displayed a message saying silent mode was on and the new one says "sound is on." I finally figured out that "on" is no longer "off."
With the sound "on" at the church potluck, my cell phone nearly caused hysteria as it put out a tone alerting me of the impending blizzard. It was a nerve-jangling noise that I had never heard before. That tone got everyone's attention after it went off on a half dozen cell phones throughout the room.
I have no musical cell phone rings and wouldn't have one if the band sent me a royalty check every time it played. That made the iPad debacle that much worse.
I always set my phone to the ringtone called old-fashioned ring. It sounds like an old rotary dial phone with a mechanical ringer.
Captain Kirk always reminded a ground party being beamed through the transporter room to set their phasers to stun and the crew immediately checked their weapon settings. These days when the preacher or sergeant-at-arms tells us to silence our phones it's a reminder to check our email before we follow orders.
After penning this column, which comes out on Sunday, I know I'm almost assured that someone will read the thing and decide to test my cell phone ringer during church. You may get it to ring, but rest assured it won't be playing "La Bamba" or the "Macarena."
Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org