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As cellular technologies have grown increasingly ubiquitous in American life, there has been a proportionate rise in the probability of finding lost mobile phones and phone fragments scattered along the curbside.
As with the detached limbs of toy action figures, the phones resonate with associations to violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, specifically to the roadside bombs (or IEDs) employed by insurgents. Such devices are often disguised as or triggered by cell phones.
The utter banality of finding these objects here, littering the streets of Grand Rapids, serves to emphasize our insulation from the danger and daily tragedy facing those living in another part of the world.