North Carolina, North Carolina
June 11
Birdwatcher Extraordinaire


NOVEMBER 24, 2010 8:24AM

The Death of the Phone Book~ OMG!

Rate: 35 Flag

"Yes, this the the electric company and we need to know if your refrigerator is running."
"Why? Should I check"?
"Yes, please. This could be serious".
Lady runs in kitchen, comes back  out of breath.
"Yes, It's running".
"Well, you better catch it before it gets away"! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! 
Ring!!Ring!!~~"Hello, Bob's Grocery" 
"Yes, I was wondering if you had Prince Albert in the Can"?
"Why yes we do sir"!
"Well you better let him out before he gives out of air"! HAHAHAHAHA! 
Yes folks, that was how kids back in my day would make prank telephone calls. There were many of them, but these are just two examples I could remember. You think your life is boring, look what we did to pass the time. But we did have a phone book and we could look up names of people we wanted to call and find numbers we didn't know and yes, even make these stupid prank phone calls.  They are now in the process of taking away something that we have always taken for granted, the Telephone Book. R.I.P. Dammit!

These were just a couple of old ones I found on Google images. Way to old for me and I'm ancient. Now some of the  telephone companies are asking congress or the FCC I'm not sure, if they can stop printing phone books. They claim they are obsolete and expensive. They also use up trees, millions of them and they may be right but I hate it just the same. It's like taking away part of me somehow. 


These are the kind most of us probably had or have.  I never use it much, but I like to have it around. I have numbers of people written in it from years ago that I will never need, but I don't want to get rid of them. I want my phone book! Sure, you can  call 411 and get a number but it costs and you have to spell out everything to these people in India who have no idea what you want, only the information if you're lucky. They don't know I'm calling Bob's Barbershop but that Bob died years ago and his daughter now runs it as  Barb's His & Her Cut & Style but she never got around to changing the old number. This is small-town America, why pay for another ad when everyone knows ole' Bob died anyway?

Remember this? Yes, no matter how strong a man was, if he couldn't tear a phone book in half he was a wimp. Now what will they tear in half? The cellphone bill? Why, no man on earth could tear one of those things in half. Just the hidden charges alone would make Arnold Schwarzenegger cry like a baby. Put the state and  federal taxes along with the taxes that are are so top secret Obama can't see them and you can hardly carry the envelope. 


How about the yellow pages? How will we find the lawn mower guy we always use but always lose the number. The gas company who even though I don't use gas, I really need the number every now and again. I don't know why but Terri asked me just last week what was the name of the company because she had to call them. I know not why. I needed it yesterday to find a cheap mechanic (hah, there is no such thing) to try and fix my wipers on my clunker because when it rains, I am sitting under a bridge on the interstate until the rain let's up.


These were just a couple of the old ones I found. I was going to do this whole piece on old phone books but then I got turned around. I started thinking that another part of our lives is becoming obsolete. That something else that I have known all my life is disappearing and will never come back. That everyday, they advertise a new cellphone that makes the one they advertised the day before look like it was made in the stone age. How do they do this? How many of these phones can they continue making? They already do more than the computer I'm typing on now. This computer was made in 1995, I think, and has everything I need. I do wish I had a laptop so I could sit comfortable, but as far as what I need, this is fine. 


To the phone companies, who could care less about the environment, it's the cost of making them but this is really what it's all about. I read once that one Sunday New York Times  newspaper used up one good-sized tree. I thought that was crazy. One paper? How many does one New York phone book take? A forest? But when I saw the above picture of the waste of making millions of phone books it made me think. Do I really need a phone book? No, I was being selfish as usual and as far as I'm concerned, they can stop making them yesterday. But I do get to bitch about it, I'm an old man, I've earned that right!


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Don't take mine away, I'm only half way through memorizing the thing

When I heard they were discontinuing the phone book, part of me felt awful that they were doing it, and the other part of me was surprised that they were still making them to begin with. rated
Rainman will be angry. BTW: you can call Google411 for free. 800-466-4411. r+
Oh, hell, now I'm never going to finish building that phonebook house...I was ging to be on extreme's just the fireplace that's giving me trouble.

stop the advance of the 451s
Most of my third grade students did not know what a telephone book was when it came up in conversation. They are of the cell phone, internet calling era. I brought some old ones in the classroom for them to explore. I almost always look up the business phone numbers I need online and personal numbers I seem to already have of those I want to contact.
Great piece, scanner.
And the people hired to deliver them have lost a source of added revenue. You're right, Scanner, about how speedily new devices become outdated and sent to Boot Hill when the old one was perfectly functional. I suspect it has something to do not with the functionality but with the social meaning of the things--how they are interpreted and valued, things like how pretty it looks or how cool it makes me seem, or how socially acceptable I'll be if I have one. It's like we're no longer being sold something that works, something that has a purpose that it meets, but rather the image or meaning it will confer on us.
I have not received a white pages in years...I can't ever remember phone numbers. I would love to have one.
I live in Denver and I get two sets of phone books, one from Dex (the phone companies Yellow Pages) and one from Yellow Pages (purchased from the phone company). I get two white pages, two yellow pages and two for my area in Denver. TIMBER! All that wood. There is phone book recycling bin at the local Safeway. Talk about overkill. You have to pay fifty cents not to be listed in the phone company's (Qwest which has just been purchased by some cable company in the wilds of Louisiana). At one time you had to be paid to get listed.
My sister and I were just talking about phone books! She hates that they use paper yet she will miss them...and so will I. Nice job, dude
Sigh.. I have had something similar to this in my drafts for awhile now.
This makes me sad.. means there are more things out there I do not understand hahaha

Rated with hugs and Happy Thanksgiving
Just another sad example of the fact that I have lived too long. Maybe I'm still a dinosaur but I actually use the phone book all the time and I would hate to see it go the way of the Dodo bird.
And then there's Steve Martin in "The Jerk"--"The new phone books are out! I'm somebody!"
We think that everything fit to be found can be Googled. We forget what a tool the Yellow Pages are. And now, it's gone "mainline" with Happy Thanksgiving, ScanMan
Great post and tribute to a dinosaur.
rated with love
I'm never sure which phone book I want to keep, we get a few a year from different companies, though I don't have any land lines. I do keep one in the car because I hate to drive around looking for a business that moved but I guess people who have internet on their phones can use that. Like you I'd rather have the trees and I'll start stopping at gas stations to ask or check before I leave home.

As far as cells I don't use any cell stuff except the phone and voice mail, people text me (I can't text back so I don't know why I can see them) and within a day or two remember I don't read them and they call me or give up instead. One less thing for me to bother with and it all seems to work out for me somehow.
i can't read them anyways, the type is too small. i bet there will always be the yellow pages.
We receive our paper telephone books annually. They're cumbersome and take up space, so I usually discard them into my blue recycle bin.

The Internet is faster but it, too, has cons. Not to mention the software updates and miscellaneous gadgetry apps that are basically obsolete the second they come off an assembly line in China.
I'm in the Torman camp on this one. I haven't used a phone book since 2004; Google works much better for me. As far as I'm concerned phone books are good for one thing: propping up toddlers in a chair so they can sit at the table.

What?! No phone books? Where will we find yellow pages, and what if you don't have a computer?
piles of the delivered phone books are sitting by the rural mail boxes around here. Who will take them away? If you want one fine but why deliver so many to people who just leave them out to litter?
GREAT post! Seriously, this is a wonderful read. It does pull some heart strings, though - like you, I seldom use the phone book anymore - they've made the print alot smaller. Right? They DID make the fonts tinier the last few years, RIGHT!?!? But there's something satisfying about having it around, something that connects us to a simpler time....
I don't know what it is, Kit, but I do find that I'm a fan of paper over plastic. Plastic is cold and its decomposition process leaves more carbon than recycled paper products. Computers are still the new kid on the block when it comes to green technology.
Without the phone book, what's going to go crashing down the basement steps every time the door is opened because my wife insists on stashing it there?
I'm grateful. As a conservationist who has minimized plastics and trys to avoid wasting paper, it was unpleasant to come home the other day to find not one, but two phone books on my front step, both wrapped in double layer plastic.
Boohoohoo! I never could rip that damn phone book in half. Sir Atlas lied to me with his stupid program!! WAAAA!! :D

Scanner - am torn between nostalgia and good riddance! They send so many smaller variations where I live, according to county, which side of the Hudson, etc., that I end up saving for a year until the next ones come at me, then I toss them all into recycling, not feeling much better because I am cynical enough to think it all gets tossed. I guess it goes away, gradually, even in the landfill. As opposed to cell phones! You made this interesting and entertaining. Loved the opening. One of the moves that scared me most as a kid was "I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are" about 2 teenage girls making that prank call to a guy who just killed his wife. (I think it was one of Joan Crawford's last lame pics, but it sure scared the bejesus out of me!) Happy T-giving to you and Terri!
I wish I had the phone book from my childhood so I could look up the addresses of my favorite places that have been replaced by parking lots and strip malls.
... operator, what number are you calling?
Just like a strongman deprived of the test of ripping the latest volume AT&T Yellow Pages in half, what is Maya Angelou going to read in order to prove that she can read anything and make it interesting? Just like John Cena, she will be without a yardstick. Yardsticks -- do they even make those anymore or did we finally go metric?

About once a year, I decide to use the damned phonebook to find a number instead of the computer. But then I forget things like the pizza places aren't in the restaurant section -- they are in the pizza section. My entire sense of linear categorization in the world of printed matter is now gone. My mind is digitized. Great post. Rated.
Good riddance phone book. Now, if I could get rid of this phone then things would be much better. I want an old black phone that rings but only once in a blue moon.
The phone prank I remember is asking about Johnny Walker in the bottle.

Happy Thanksgiving and good health, Scanner. informative and wow did you find some old ones. I throw them caz the computer tells me all I need to know.
But without phonebooks, what will little kids visiting relatives in metropolitan areas sit on at the dinner table when there aren't enough booster seats?
People who rely so heavily upon technology seem to forget that technology is contingent upon a power source any prolonged interruption in that power would result in cataclysmic system failure due to loss of information. Another words back everything you really need up with Hard Copy!
I am glad to see phonebooks go. There are about six of them cluttering my phone desk right now and I never use them. I do, however, miss phonebooths.
Happy thanksgiving, Scanner! :-}
I'm (we're?) old and the world had passed me (us?) by. Let it go I say, so that our children may have their chance to rule and fix all that I've let go.
The last I heard, which was only a few years ago, Jenny actually still had that number. Never gave it up. Don't know the area code, though. Catchy as hell, isn't it?
Don't really need it myself, although I am always thumbing through it to find the number of my favorite Chinese takeaway which I can never remember for some reason. I will keep one of their menus next time...problem solved, forest saved.
And some of those old ones don't look so old to me...
When the Model T came out, there were folks who continued to drive around in a carriage with horses. Time to move on.

Rated especially for the Prince Albert memories.... and no one called the police on us then... did they?
It's was about time. I mean, maybe my grandmother is still using phone books. And why we should bother with paper, when Internet Yellow Pages exists? It's easier and faster. Plus that you can start a small business generated from ads.