Tuesday 31 January 2012

Say, What’s Your Number?

I had a dream last night and the only thing that I remember is the name, Willy Dickgrabber. I’m pretty sure that it’s a good thing I don’t remember the dream. It is also kind of worrying that I would dream that name at all. Perhaps it’s time for therapy.

So, as I was lying in bed trying to wake up and wondering why in Hell the name Willy Dickgrabber would be in my mind, I started to think about being a kid. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with Willy Dickgrabber, but surprisingly, it has to do with phone calls. Back in the “good old days” there was only one phone in every house; it was black, rotary and stayed in one place. Wherever it was located, you can be sure that there was a big, white phone book somewhere within reach. Most people had a phone table with a chair that you could sit in comfortably while talking and a handy pencil and paper for taking notes. This is where you would go to talk to your friends and if you were lucky, your girl friends. Your parents pretended not to be eavesdropping, but I was pretty careful about what I said whenever they were around.
I know what you are thinking, “What does this have to do with Willy Dickgrabber?” Well, as you were sitting at the phone talking about whatever it is that kids talk about for hours (I really can’t remember) you would pick up the phone book and flip through it. Sometimes you would find an interesting name and then it would start a contest of sorts as to who could find the weirdest or dirtiest name. I would have been golden with “Willy Dickgrabber”. There was “Ray Screws”, “Phil Hiscock”, “Harry Beavers”, ”Richard Rubright” and the names just kept coming and coming. Sure, it was stupid and juvenile, but I was juvenile and it appears that I was stupid as well. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that I was just giggling when I wrote those names. Pretty good I guess.

When I tired of thinking about Willy, I went on to think about the telephone pranks that we used to play. When I was looking up a telephone prank on Google, there was a wiki entry that mentioned that pranks were popular with dial up phones of the last century. WTF!! Oh, I guess it was the last century. Kind of makes me feel oldish. I used to tell my friends that the phone can answer my questions. For instance, “What sound does an Eskimo woman make when she sits on an ice cube?” Then I would dial this number that the phone company used to test the line, and when dialled it would emit a high pitched squeal. Yep, comic gold!

There was the classic of calling a random number and asking if their refrigerator was running. When they said yes you would tell them that they had better go and catch it. It was funnier back in the sixties. You would call and say it was the phone company and you were testing the line, would they mind holding the phone out and whistling. Sometimes they would, and after you would thank them and say that you will send a bag of bird seed. Sometimes you would order a pizza and have it delivered to the neighbour across the street. Yes, yes, yes…they are and were pretty stupid.

Now, no one can do these from the home phone because of caller ID. Not much fun being an asshole, when right afterwards, you get a call back telling you that they will be calling your parents the next day. There is a resurgence of prank calls now using the internet and VOIP. There is also a website ( http://www.bored.com/dialpeople/index.php ) that lets you send automated prank calls. It lets you select the number that you want to call, the number that will show up on caller ID and of course an automated message. Surprisingly, the website doesn’t allow you to use vulgar language, so I guess this is the modern version of the refrigerator running gag. I can hardly wait to try it.

Say, what’s your number?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tip and like you I can't wait to try it out! B