HUnter-2-4621


When I was in grade school, we had a black rotary telephone in our hallway. It was heavy and attached to the wall with a thick cord. Originally, it came with a phone number that started with two letters. Our two-letter prefix was HU, which stood for Hunter and represented the numeral 48.

“Darby residence,” my mother would say, answering its deep-throated ring.

Sadly, that’s all gone now; mother, childhood, the rotary phone, that deep-throated ring.

That phone has been replace by the smartphone, the size of a postcard. As an aside, a postcard is a smallish rectangular piece of very thin cardboard used for sending a message by mail without an envelope, typically having a photograph or other illustration on one side and place to write a few brief words like, “Wish you were here,” the precipitants address and a stamp on the other side.

And now, instead of a ringing all through the house, we hear tiny sounds, little dings, beeps, dongs and bongs going off at all times and from the couch, end table, laundry room, under the bed pillow and even the bathroom.

It used to be, in the old days, you’d just send a birthday card or pick up the phone, wish them a happy birthday or whatever, but not now. In fact, a week ago I wanted to say happy birthday to a long-time friend.

“Do we have his phone number by chance?” I asked my wife.

“I don’t know,” she said. “If it isn’t in the Rolodex, perhaps you can looking him up on Facebook and tweet him.”

I’m certain she meant ‘message’ him. It’s so easy to get confused with all the assorted social media apps. Anyway after an exhaustive search, I was unable to find his address or an online profile and I never did get to wish him Happy Birthday.

Then today, I found all of his information in my cellphone’s contact list. Now I know what happened to the old familiar phone book as well as the Yellow Pages, so thick that it could double as a booster seat in a pinch.

There is a reason they call them smartphones and mine is definitely smarter than me. At least I’m intelligent enough to know not to use my phone as a booster seat, though I often forget it is in my back pocket and I wind-up sitting on it anyway.

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