Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In Perspective - Free Phone Book To Good Home

By Rodney Hays

I don't know if you guys are familiar with the Internet -- The Source Of All Truth -- but it is really changing the way we do business.

One of the changes I noticed just the other day. My mailbox is sort of in a communal area with a bunch of other mailboxes -- not unlike most U.S. prisons.

I went to check my mail and right outside the mail area was a stack of publications that you may or may not have heard of. These books were stacked about three feet high. The books were all neatly wrapped in plastic and available to anybody who wanted one. They were just sitting there waiting to go to a good home. Absolutely free.

Here's the problem. The books I'm talking about are phone books.

That's right, phone books.

Can you believe it? The makers of phone books are still, wait for it, making phone books.
For those of you under the age of 75, let me explain what phone books are.

In the beginning, there was an invention called, for lack of a better term, a land-line phone. These phones were in normal places like homes, businesses and outside the local 7-11. They were used in the same way we use cell phones today except you couldn't text, take pictures or play Words With Friends.
When primitive humans first began using these "land-line phones," The Internet -- The Source Of All Truth -- was just a twinkle in Al Gore's eye. And since these primitive human forms didn't have Google or Yahoo or, they had to resort to barbaric measures to find the number of important people like friends, plumbers and Al Gore.

So, what did these primitive humans do? They turned to the phone book.

The phone book was a book of white and yellow pages that contained phone numbers to everyone in town, including the number to every beer joint, dive, drinkery, gin mill, grog shop, honky tonk, hostelry, hotel, inn, joint, lodge, lounge, night spot, nineteenth hole, pub, public house, roadhouse, saloon, speakeasy, suds, taphouse, taproom and watering hole -- in alphabetical order.

Can you imagine a book with every phone number of every person in town? Well of course you can, you have the Internet -- The Source Of All Truth.

Back in the dark ages of land-line phones, most people only had one number, also known by the Latin name, "home number." Every now and again, a man would get tired of his teenage daughter tying up the only phone line in the house for all hours of the night and purchased an additional line just for his teenage children.

If you needed either of those numbers, you could pull the trusty phone book from the top of the refrigerator and look it up.

It was a great time.

The phone book from my hometown of Cromwell, Okla. was a site to behold though. Cromwell had a population of about 500 people and 12 coon dogs (we didn't count the 972 chickens running around the Morphis' front yard though). The Cromwell phone book -- which also included Bearden, Arbeka and the northern parts of Nobletown -- was pretty thin. It only had about 12 white pages and five or six yellow pages.

But if you needed to get a hold of Shorty Dotson, you knew how to do it.

Phone books, through the years, also served many other useful functions.

When the children couldn't quite reach the dinner table, you could slide a DFW Metroplex phone book under their tiny bottoms and everything was okay.

They were also very handy to groups like the Power Team, who used to rip phone books in half to show off their super-human strength right before telling throngs of sinners about Jesus.

At one time, the phone book was the envy of books.

Now, not so much.

Unfortunately, this is 2010 and the phone book has lost some of its luster. Now, when our fingers do the walking, they usually walk around the keyboard of our cell phones, while we search the Internet -- The Source Of All Truth -- for the phone number we need. The phone book is now sadly gone the way of other relics like the telegraph, the Pony Express and Al Gore.

I'm going to have to Google the name of someone to call to come pick these phone books up. They really are in my way.

To read more of Rodney Hays' humor, check out his blog at Follow him on Twitter at Also become his friend on Facebook.

No comments: