Rotary Phones and Operators

Tony Persico, contributor

I’ve been an old man since I was a kid. I was always out at recess, yelling at the other tykes to get off the monkey bars before they hurt themselves. I ate my lunch two hours before the other kids and was the only one who actually looked forward to nap time.

I can appreciate the new as much as the next guy. I have a fancy smart phone, and I even know how to use it – for the most part, but I can’t text like you younger people with the super thumbs and the acronyms and the emoticons. LOL – what the fuck is that?  If you aren’t actually laughing out loud, don’t tell your friends you are. It artificially inflates their ego. Just say SQTM – smiling quietly to myself, or DYTYF – damn, you think you’re funny. It’s much more honest.

I miss the rotary phone; the one that weighed 47 pounds for no reason. The one that cut you when you dialed because no one thought that a sharp piece of metal may not be the best thing to continuously bang your finger against. Also, you could really slam a rotary phone if you wanted to. You can’t slam the phone on anyone anymore. That was a whole step past hanging up on someone. We took that extra step away from ourselves – what were we thinking? Now when you hang up on someone they just think you went into a tunnel, or my garage. We can’t even clearly tell each other to fuck off with the phone anymore. That is the 317th sign of the apocalypse. Look it up.

And there’s the cool way you used to be able to answer the phone. You hit the bottom and the thing just pops right into your hand.  Sure, it seems infantile, but so is hitting every button on the elevator, and I do that too, so who’s infantile now?

And you used to have to talk to a person who would then put you in touch with the person you were actually calling. That really used to be a job that people were paid to do. Answer the phone from one person, and then call the person they want to talk to. It was a multi-step process involving a third party just to talk on the phone. And phone numbers started with words to make them easier to remember, but you actually had to know the number of the person that you called. You couldn’t just look at the phone and tell it to call your mom.

“Old timey” just keeps getting closer and closer. Turn on the oldies station now and you’ll hear songs from three years ago. The faster things move the closer old gets. After all, my fancy smart phone is over a year old now. It’s definitely time for a new one.


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