Source of ultimate evil isolated

Based on a statistical analysis of multiple studies, scientists in Denver announced yesterday that they have discovered the source of Ultimate Evil. “We are excited,” said lead researcher Peter Anspach, “in a somewhat subdued way. While we have finally isolated the cause of Ultimate Evil, we have yet to discover a mode for dispatching it.” What was this fiendish evil that the studies pointed to?

“Public cellphone usage,” Anspach explained. This theory has been hailed as groundbreaking not only for its statistical soundness, but also its broad explanatory powers.

The International Bowling, Knitting, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking League (IBKCCCBL) is celebrating the finding, which they say offers definitive proof that the old days were, in fact, the good old days. “Sure,” said IBKCCCBL spokeswoman Adelle DeWitt, “there was murder and genocide and racism and domestic abuse and rampant disregard for natural resources in the good old days. But at least the Ultimate Evil had not yet been released. Now, thanks to all you whippersnappers and your whippersnapper technology, we’re doomed.”
This was a sentiment that Anspach echoed. “The good news is, we’ve figured out where it comes from,” he said, “but the bad news is that the Ultimate Evil seems to be growing in size. We don’t know if it’s heading for a tipping point, or what will happen if it reaches one.”

Small studies conducted on college students do offer some hope, however. Anspach explained, “We can at least slow the growth of the Ultimate Evil by designating official cellphone-free zones. Unfortunately, the people most likely to need reminders not to talk on their cellphones in public spaces are also the least likely to notice such zones.”

Anspach said that the Ultimate Evil seems to be mostly attracted to large congregations of people, especially if they are in a position where they are unable to escape. “We get the strongest readings,” he said, “in places like computer labs, buses, and restaurants, where the people not on the phone would rather not leave suddenly. The Evil-attracting effect is further intensified if the person speaking on the phone could easily step out for a moment to take the call.”

He also noted that the politeness from other occupants of the room could worsen matters, since typically those around the caller are decent folks rather than, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “canker blossoms,” and will suffer through calls of substantial length in silence.

This, Aspach claims, is the wrong approach. “They are well aware that they are summoning Ultimate Evil with their actions,” he said, “and if you stand by and do nothing out of simple politeness, you are culpable with them when Evil casts its dark shadow over the earth, and there is much woe and torment.”

Aspach suggested a quiet, but firm warning, followed by Sharpie facial tattoos if the caller shows no signs of leaving. “It seems cruel, but you are doing a great service for future generations,” he said.

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