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Jerry Davich: Are you afflicted with ‘nomophobia’?

MelizzZygmunt Valparaiso was four-time “Jeopardy!” champi1998 participated Tournament Champions 1999. She hopes be chosen for show's 'Battle Decades Tournament.' |

Melizza Zygmunt of Valparaiso was a four-time “Jeopardy!” champion in 1998 and participated in the Tournament of Champions in 1999. She hopes to be chosen for the show's "Battle of the Decades Tournament." | Photo provided

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Updated: November 12, 2013 6:08AM



How long could you go without your cellphone — one week? One day? One hour? Not even that long?

More than half the U.S. population claims to suffer from “nomophobia” (an abbreviation for no-mobile-phone-phobia), defined as the fear of being without a mobile phone, a new study suggests. It doesn’t surprise me one bit.

We, as a society, are now so tethered to our high-tech gadgets that more than half of us use them while driving, one in five smartphone users check emails in bed, one in four flirt with their phones during a date, and 20 percent of users admit to even checking it during sex. (That either must be the longest or the lamest sex, I say.)

Women, by the way, are more likely than men to experience such nomophobia anxiety, according to the study, which was commissioned by a web security firm.

Another recent study, released by Nielsen, showed that blacks outpace the general public in smartphone use, 71 percent versus 62 percent.

On a recent late-night talk show, singing superstar Elton John admitted he doesn’t own a cellphone. Imagine that. Too many people would call and bother him, he explained. This must be a generational reflection more than an aspect of super-celebrityhood.

I know just a handful of people (all of them are over age 50) who also refuse to own or use a cellphone, mostly out of defiance to new technology, not from lack of money. Other seniors I know own a cellphone but use it only if needed during an emergency while driving or outside the home.

If you don’t own a cellphone, I’d like to hear from you. Tell me why. Is it the cost? Not needed? A snub of new technology?

I am addicted to my cellphone — two iPhones, actually, including one for work — and I disconnected my land line a few months ago to save money. Haven’t missed it yet.

On a related note, what’s up with people who staunchly refuse to leave voice mails, instead relying on others to receive only their phone number with the blind expectation to call them back? Or those callers who leave a voice mail but who only say, cryptically I might add, to call them back without any information, insights or guidance.

When I receive such voice mails, I wonder if it’s feedback to a recent column? A future column idea? A hot issue in the news? Did someone kidnap my brother? Is your house on fire? Give me something, people. And please leave your message at the bleep.

This … is … ‘Jeopardy!’

In 1998, Melizza Zygmunt of Valparaiso was a stay-at-home mom with two young kids.

Her father-in-law, an avid fan of the TV game show “Jeopardy!” suggested that she audition to be a contestant. She jumped at the chance, if for no other reason than to have lunch with a friend in Chicago while getting a reprieve from motherhood for a few hours.

“I was shocked when they called me to appear on the show because I didn’t think I did all that well on the test and audition,” Zygmunt told me earlier this week.

She appeared in five “Jeopardy!” games, winning four of them. (You can watch the recap here, http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=832.)

The producers invited Zygmunt to return for the show’s annual “Tournament of Champions” event but she was eliminated in the first round. However, for the show’s 30th anniversary tournament this season, Zygmunt was selected as a “fan favorite” because of a song her daughter, Hannah, wrote and sang on her audition video. (You can watch it here, www.jeopardy.com/minisites/battleofthedecades90s/.)

The show is hosting a “Battle of the Decades Tournament,” pitting the top contestants against each other, and Zygmunt could co-represent the 1990s with your help.

Each decade will have its own tournament with 15 contestants producing one winner. The producers have selected 14 of the 15 contestants for each decade, but an online voting contest will determine the last of the 15 contestants. Zygmunt is one of these candidates and you can vote for her in three ways:

Visit the “Jeopardy!” website, www.jeopardy.com/minisites/battleofthedecades90s/

Go to the show’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Jeopardy

Or by tweeting this message: Melizza #JeopardyVote (with a space in front of the hashtag).

Good luck, Melizza.

Attention runners, marathoners

My Casual Fridays radio show today will offer a preview of Sunday’s Chicago Marathon and you’re invited to call in with your tips, comments or questions.

Have you run a marathon and can offer suggestions for newbies like me? Will you be running, jogging or (like me) limping through your first marathon? Are you an experienced spectator with tips for others who will attend this year’s 26.1-mile race? Do you have a race-related personal story to share?

Call in at 769-9577 (WLPR) and win a pair of movie tickets to the Portage 16 Imax Theater. Tune in Friday between noon and 1 p.m. at 89.1-FM, streaming online at http://lakeshorepublicmedia.org/local-programs/casual-fridays/, and listen to the show’s encore at 11 p.m.

Snail mail snafu

My sincere apologies to all the readers who sent me a snail mail letter over the past few months.

Due to a change in my mailing address, mailroom confusion and other factors beyond my control, I just recently received your letters, cards and press releases, dating back a few months.

If you haven’t received a letter reply from me yet, you will soon — and I’ll bet you probably thought I was being unprofessional or, worse yet, downright rude. I’m sorry for the delay and thanks for your patience.

Connect with Jerry via email, at jdavich@post-trib.com, voice mail, at 713-7237, or Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, at jerrydavich.wordpress.com.



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