“Two guys walk into a bar. You’d think one of them would have seen it.” Daniel Lybra
I am not a fan of the cell phone as many of you know. I realize that it does have its uses. It has allowed distraught husbands to call home and check that they are picking up the right brand of tampons. It has allowed for the creation of many viral and highly embarrassing videos. And, according to CSI Miami, you should always have one in case you wind up being kidnapped in the trunk of a car. (Sorry, had to click to CSI Miami link and ogle David Caruso for a minute). Damn. In typing last sentence, discovered that I now had the opportunity to create David Caruso link, so had to do some more ogling!) Must focus.
For the most part, cell phones (and, apparently David Caruso sites) have made us rude. We ignore the “present-in-the-flesh” people around us, while we text and twitter with everyone else. We turn the highways and bi-ways into death traps as we text, talk, and drive. And we light up movie theatres with our little telephone screens–who has time to watch a movie with so many texts to text?
Rather than rant and annoy the snot out of myself, I have decided to dedicate today’s blog to the telephone in all its glory–most of it being former glory.
1) This woman appears to be quite annoyed with her cell phone. Perhaps when she asked “can you hear me now?,” no one replied. I have to admit, I’ve often felt like doing this to my phone. It’s one of those runaway touch screens that never seems to stop on the contact that you want and always seems to dial someone that you don’t want–and they are always long distance–and it’s always during prime time. And it never gets any reception in Walmart. What the hell do they make those walls with anyway? Plutonium? But no matter how irked my phone may make me, and no matter how often I entertain thoughts of backing over it with my car, I would never actually “hurt” it. At least, not until my contract is up.
This woman pictured here, however, makes it her business to hurl mobiles. She is a participant in the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, a Scandinavian tradition that is growing in popularity. I knew we all secretly hated these intrusive devices. The World Record for the longest throw is 95.83 meters and is held by Brit, Chris Hughff. There are four different categories in which to compete, but I think the most interesting would be the freestyle category. This allows contestants to choreograph interesting manoeuvres for their mobile devices. Yes, some phone-tosses can be more esthetically pleasing than others. Apparently.
For a phone introduction to phone throwing, watch this video:
2) Okay…this is the coolest thing ever. At least, I think it is. Bare in mind, my life is boring.
This is a little tidbit that I learned at mashable.com and I had fun verifying its accuracy. So, here are the rules. Take any regular seven-digit phone number. Multiply the first three digits by 80. Add one. Multiply that by 250. Then, add the last four digits of the original phone number. Add the last four digits again. Subtract 250. Divide by two. And presto!!!
Seriously, try it with all of your friends’ numbers too. It will work every time.
And this picture makes me miss rotary dial phones. But I don’t miss dialling (that word looks like it isn’t spelled properly, but spell-check claims it is) numbers with lots of nines and zeroes. They always kept the tips of your nails smooth though.
3) The 80s were a blast. Big hair gelled into crunchy, immovable heights, then further solidified with a blast of French Formula or Final Net hairspray. We thought we were cool. Men wore gem-tones without shame. Women wore ties. And innocent people were unceasingly harassed–their lives made unbearable by the never-ending ringing of their phones.
All across the country, people with different area codes were united by one common bond–the ill fortune of having the phone number “867-5309.” And Heaven forbid, they were also named “Jenny.”
If you want to hear the song that created this communications mess, go here:
Other phone numbers have proven troublesome over the years thanks to film or song. In “Bruce Almighty,” God contacted Jim Carrey from the phone number 776-2323…again with no area code. Ironically, in one area code this phone number belonged to a church that had a pastor named Bruce. The DVD version of the film was edited to contain the number 555-0123 instead.
Why do TV shows and movies use phone numbers that start with 555? Officially, the numbers 555-0100 to 555-0199 are reserved for fictional use. There is only one toll-free number reserved for fictional purposes–1-800-555-0199. Other 555 numbers are intended for Directory Assistance applications.
3) I know that it’s the “in” thing to have your phone number convert into a catchy mnemonic. To me, that would make sense if regular phones had QWERTY keypads as diallers. Now we have to remember the letters, convert them one-at-a-time back into numbers, and I’m sorry, but that’s just way too much work. The number 9 belongs to four letters. And I hate it when businesses list their phone numbers mnemonically in the yellow pages. I am looking for a phone number. Not another advertising message encrypted into their phone number. If I am calling you, I already know what product you are selling–and odds are, I am already sold. But if you tick me off by making the phonecall, itself, too complicated, I might dial the other guy. The one that lists his phone number as seven simple digits.
But, just for kicks, I had to put my phone number, my mobile number, my husband’s mobile number, and my parents’ number into this neat “convert your digits to words” service called Phone Spell. None of these numbers, by the way, turned into anything that I would actually use. Some references to kiwis (which I am allergic to), someone named Liz, and a spa (I wish). You can give it a try at: http://www.phonespell.org/
4) Years ago, I bought my father what I thought would be the coolest Father’s Day present ever–a phone that looked like a duck decoy. It even quacked. Unfortunately, a few years later, we heard that land-line phones that had the receiver in the earpiece caused brain cancer. Bye duck.
Let’s face it. Humans love to turn everyday objects into something else. Egg timers that look like eggs with eyes. I admit to owning one of these. Kleenex box covers that look like the Easter Island rocks–I have one. The Kleenex comes out of his nose. Pot holders that look like beaks. Got those. And a gnome that is actually a watering can. Don’t have one, but have been eyeing one at Canadian Tire. Hmmm. Maybe I’m the only one that loves everyday objects that look like something else.
And now, humans have the option of purchasing a cell phone that looks like a pack of Marlboros. And if you smoke, while you’re on the phone, you can get brain cancer and lung cancer simultaneously. Now that’s cool.
Photo Credits: Phone Thrower (flickr husin.sani), Retro Phone (remodelista.com), Jenny (tweentribune.com). Phone Spell logo (phonespell.org), cigarette phone (newlaunches.com), Life in the Future (DryBonesBlog.com).