The store's computer beeps alert until the cashier enters the data. The fast-food french fry machine beeps irritation until the worker lifts potatoes from the boiling oil. The phone in our pocket buzzes in alarm and sings when it rings. And I've figured out, finally, what's wrong with the world: we've lost our bells.
I'm sure you all remember little Zusu from the film It's A Wonderful Life. Yes, she's absolutely adorable, though personally, I find her sing-song irritating and always wish I could dub in another child's voice.
Still, her messages holds clear: "Teacher says that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings."
In It's A Wonderful Life, that angel is the bumbling Clarence Oddbody, with his childlike sweetness and his drinker's red nose, giving legions of ordinary clod-like Angels Second Class the hope that they, too, might someday someday hear that bell and get their wings.
It must be obvious to all of us that buzzers and beeps simply won't do it. In fact, they are irritating as, well, Hell.
No, we need more of this:
And, of course, this:
(Though I must point out that the broadly smiling woman, center, is one of two people of color at the impromptu party. And the maid.)