Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sometimes Progress Is Good, Sometimes People Are Stupid

I grew up in a simpler time. Computers were still gigantic and expensive items not yet developed for home use, television was broadcast through the air, which meant sometimes, you couldn't pull a signal to watch your favorite show, and the rotary phone was still the main means of communication for most Americans.
While in elementary school, with my father at work everyday and my mother spending most of her time in the hospital, we were left unsupervised, and with no one to guide us, were introduced to the prank phone call. Calling places to see if the carried Prince Albert in a can, or random houses to see if their refrigerators were running was a source of amusement we never tired of, safe in the knowledge that if we ended the phone call quick enough, there'd be no way to trace it back to us. We'd scan the phone book, seeking out oddly named people, and make prank phone calls based upon them. (pity the poor widow of one Caesar Dusterwinkle, who must have received hundreds of phone calls from fourth, fifth and sixth graders at Mary A. White elementary school pretending to be elves asking if Caesar was home)
But that was then. Nowadays, with caller ID and cell phones, prank calling has been replaced by the robocall and the junk call. A person would have to be fairly stupid to call the police and threaten to shoot the next snowplow driver to come down your street. Having spent much of my teenage years in a rural area where a visit from the snowplow was as frequent as a full moon, a snowplow driving down our street would have been a welcome sign, especially for my dad, the only one who had a truck and would have to drive into town to buy cigarettes beer and food for some of the neighbors less daring to take the daunting trek down unplowed roads. And I knew that I'd rather have to shovel out chunks of snow from the end of my driveway than have to spend the winter cooped up in the house with my Dad and stepmom with out any weed.

1 comment:

Tom Harper said...

Interesting post. Ah, those crank phone calls, such memories.