A friend of mine, during a recent lengthy hospital stay, misplaced his cell phone. He asked me to contact his daughter to let her know his phone was lost because she would be worried about him. I was happy to help. I just needed to know her phone number. The conversation went something like “Okay, so what’s her number?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Who would know it?” “Her friend Katy.” “Okay, so what’s her number?” “I don’t know,” he replied. It began to sound like an Abbott & Costello routine.
Odd as that seemed, I began to wonder in general how many phone numbers we actually have memorized. We rely so much on Siri or on our device’s internal directory to keep track of the numbers that the need to memorize them is nearly unnecessary. Unless, of course, you lose your phone in which case you are totally incommunicado.
Based on a recent informal and non-scientific study that I performed, it appears to me that the average person has memorized just four telephone numbers. I’m not talking about the phone number of the house you lived in back in 1974, although many people still seem to remember those old phone numbers, myself included. I’m talking about current-day contact numbers for those closest to us.
Here are my findings of the phone numbers people have memorized: (1) their own telephone number (2) the number for their spouse (or ex-spouse, or both); (3) their work number; and (4) their mother’s phone number. That’s it. Not the kids, not the siblings. With few exceptions, this was the finding.
My own experience bears this out. Although I can tell you my mother’s landline phone number, I have no clue as to what her cell phone number is. So, I put it to you, how many phone numbers do you have memorized? Have you memorized more or less than the average of four?
Twice in the past week, someone I was speaking to has referred to their cell phone as a brick. The first was a teenager who had his app privileges removed (perhaps he should’ve taken out the trash when asked), and his phone was now a device limited to making phone calls or sending text messages. “Now it’s just a brick” was the retort. Yes, now it is doing only what it was originally intended to do. It’s like being transported back in time to Y2K.
The other instance was a person from an earlier generation who was reminiscing about having to carry around a battery pack with an antenna that would provide power for his early-era cell phone. “It was like carrying around a brick,” was how he described it. So, look at what has happened here: two generations have come together to find common ground - that their cell phones are/were like bricks. Exactly. Bricks that are like building blocks bridging a generation gap. Thanks, Apple!
Speaking of phones, I was trying to look up the phone number to AA, but by mistake I found the number to AAA. Now, every time I drink, my car gets towed.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County and writes a bi-weekly column for the Navasota Examiner.