My cell phone bill is how much?

There are things that I come across that make me shake my head and contemplate how my father would have handled the situation had it been me as the central character.

For instance, I stumbled across a story recently that originally ran in the Oakland Tribune. The main character in this story, a 13-year-old boy, recently ran up a cell phone bill of nearly $22,000.

I’ll let that soak in for a minute.

The father, Ted Estarija, said that he expected his bill would go up that month because he added his son to his bill. Expectations were certainly met, as that “payment due” line read “$21,917.”

On the bright side, Estarija told the paper that he had talked to his carrier, Verizon, and they said they would credit his account for the entire amount. The father also said he suspended his son’s cellular account.

This is when I began to think about what my father would have done to me had I rang up a bill that high. Suffice it to say that I would be carrying that cell phone around with me the rest of my life. It’s also safe to assume that it would not be in a particularly comfortable place.

Though our cell phone king will not be facing charges for his exploits, John Ditullio certainly is — though it might be hard for those who know him to recognize him under the makeup he’s wearing.

According to a Reuters story, Ditullio is facing murder charges in Florida for allegedly stabbing a 17-year-old to death in 2006. The judge thought that the defendant’s neck and face tattoos would be prejudicial to a jury, so he ordered the state to pay for a cosmetologist to cover up the swastika, barbed wire and obscenity so the jury could be a bit more unbiased when determining Ditullio’s fate.

I understand what the judge is saying. I do. But it seems to me that Ditullio was trying to make a statement of sorts when he got these tattoos in the first place. The statement might have been that he’s a racist but, hey, it’s his statement, and his decision to have them. If the judge thought they might be prejudicial, let Ditullio cover them up himself or pay for it to be done.

I always get a chuckle when Charles Manson comes up before the parole board and they show the images of him with the swastika on his forehead, and I imagine him trying to convince a room of people that he should be allowed out on the streets. Hey, I’m a free-speech guy and think these guys have the right to wear any tattoos they see fit.

But I also think they have to live with those choices.

Of course, living with one’s choices is nothing new. People make decisions every day, and many of them have consequences, like the 32-year-old man in Washington state who allegedly decided to break into a vacant home last weekend.

According to an Associated Press story, a man heard some noise at the vacant home, grabbed his compound bow and went to investigate. He apparently stumbled across the intruder and chased him for three blocks before firing a broadhead arrow into the alleged intruder’s buttocks.

Later that evening, the aforementioned 32-year-old man sought treatment at a nearby hospital for an arrow wound to the tush. Sometimes, a criminal career can be a real pain in the ...

But I digress.

The New York Times reported recently that parents are taking pretty big steps in trying to get their kids into prestigious kindergartens. According to their story, courses and private coaching for applicants 3 and 4 years old are gaining popularity in New York City, and can cost more than $1,000.

So, for just 1/22nd the cost of a certain cell phone bill, parents can make sure that their kids are on the fast track to ... oh, this is absurd.

I know. I know. Getting into the “right” kindergarten can lead to the prestigious grade schools which lead to the best high schools and so on and so on and so on. But why are we in such a collective hurry to make our children grow up faster and faster every year?

Let the kids play. Let them act like doofuses. Time goes by fast, and before you know it, they’ll have cell phone plans.