It's become decorum to place your phone atop the restaurant table before (and while) you dine. But just because it's the status quo doesn't mean it's not annoying and gross. Use this brilliant test of will to punish pathetic talk-and-texters.
I'll admit I'm as guilty as the rest when it comes to the smartphone at mealtime routine: I'm texting someone else, reading my email, or skimming the Wikipedia entry for the Ottoman-Venetian War (1570-1573) while someone else is trying to talk. "Uh huh. Yeah. Head nod. Head nod." Then they do it. We sit there like a bunch of cyborgs, sucking down our protein and nutrients under the guise of human gathering. No more!
Smartphone Roulette (also known as The Phone Stack) puts money on the line. And if there's one thing humans love more than smartphones and texting, it's money. The rules are simple:
1. When you sit down, place your phones on the table, face down. You may stack them if you'd like to be extra extreme, though this is not required.
2. Nobody is allowed to touch their phone — not even if it rings, vibrates or chimes.
3. If you check your phone before the meal is over, you pay the entire bill. No exceptions. Even if you just lift that phone ever so slightly to see who texted you. Your treat.
* Possible exception: you are having a baby/your wife is having a baby/a baby needs help/other life-threatening circumstance. But those are house rules you can decide as a table.