Life came to a crashing halt the other day. Not for me, but for everyone trying to call me because I smashed my cell phone. I was riding trials bikes with Big Air Tod when I was rejected on a section, thrown to the ground, rolled over a rock and across some cacti. To top off that feat, the bike came back after me and landed on my leg. Thankfully, I had my phone in the front pocket of the over-the-boot pants and it took the blow. As I always say: “I’m only taking this on rides for emergency situations.” This time the phone really worked, though it doesn’t work too well anymore.Sometimes it seems to function, it just looks like I have a better screen saver than you-if you like hippie trippy designs. So I can’t get messages, find out who is calling or see any other information on what used to be the screen. In fact, I’m not sure it rings every time someone is calling. Problem? Not really. I’m enjoying my freedom while out riding. I know my home phone number by heart so I can call my wife to check in (maybe), and in return, she calls me in the morning when I’m traveling ’cause the alarm clock feature is impossible to access.Now that everyone is carrying cell phones, there is a new culture of communication, and I’m not sure that I approve. There is the right and wrong way to have a phone with you. When dirt biking or during dirt bike-related activities, I see the need for some etiquette. This list contains a few poor examples of cell phone use:1. Girlfriend or wife calls to “see what you’re up to.”2. Any work-related item that takes away from riding time. It is OK to handle some business at a “smoke break” on the trail or between motos, but it better be completed when the kickstarter falls.3. Any calls while watching MX or SX on TV, especially when you are a guest viewing the race with that little bomb in your pocket.4. Wife or girlfriend calls to “check to see if you are OK” during the ride, before 9 p.m. when you are out riding-or midnight if you have a habit of riding at night, going out to dinner or swinging by Bob’s after a ride.5. Spending half the drive out to the riding spot text messaging your girlfriend, especially if you have a wife!6. Expecting someone to talk for more than 15 seconds when they are in the garage prepping a bike for a ride.With a staff of young guys, I’ve seen it all, especially the concerned-girlfriend scenario. Don’t worry, sweetie, we’ll call you when there is a problem, guaranteed! A good way to assess the importance of answering is to pretend it is your mom on the other end. Pretend she was calling you with the same frequency. Would you stop the ride for that? And if mom left that many messages on your phone, would you crack open the after-ride beverage or return the call first? (Sorry, mom!)The right way to use the cell phone when riding is to stop at the best place on a ride, usually with a great view and phone service to boot. Call your riding buddy who couldn’t go because he had to work or, better yet, because he went to the cat show with his girlfriend. I do this to Big Air Tod or Diamond Dave all the time. If they only knew how stoked I am to make these kinds of calls and tell them in great detail about what I’m doing.So now after a few days, it seems most people have figured out that there is something wrong with my phone. And it isn’t ’cause I’m not returning my calls, as I’m not too good about that anyway. It was because Big Air Tod has been calling all of our mutual friends and having them call me. When I answer, they say, “Man, you’re hard to get hold of. Is there something wrong with your phone?” The open-ended question baiting the hook for the full story on how the phone got smashed, which they already know in full detail: I crashed trying a section Tod made clean. As we say, payback is a bitch.A few days later, I cleaned that trials section and another that Tod just couldn’t do. I’d have called him to gloat in my glory, but my phone still doesn’t seem to work!