Wednesday, September 6, 2017


For as long as I can remember, I have always disliked the telephone. No, let me amend that: HATED the telephone. In my view, it’s always been an infernally intrusive pest, an insidious serenity-disrupting nuisance. For me, the ringing of a telephone doesn’t engender feelings of curiosity, or excitement, or anticipation; au contraire, my overwhelming reaction is invariably some mental variation of “Shut the <bleep> up and leave me alone!”

Of course, most folks have no such issues with answering a call; they pick up the phone, say “Hello?” and cheerfully proceed to engage with whomever and/or whatever is on the other end. Frankly, I don’t understand how anyone can maintain their composure in the face of so many horrible possibilities... I mean, think about it! Oh, sure, it might be Publishers Clearing House informing you that you’ve just won all the gold in Fort Knox. OR –and infinitely more likely– it could be the IRS saying that you owe them all the gold in Fort Knox. OR a wrong-number moron wanting to speak with Mr. Elmo Bugg. OR some idiot offering to sell you condo timeshares in Leviticus Notch, Iowa. OR The-Most-Annoying-Guy-In-The-World inviting you to come with him to Wal-Mart for the Annual Bowling Ball Blowout Sale. OR the eight millionth telemarketer with a Bangladeshi accent asking if you’re home. OR... but you get the idea, right? Call me a paranoid old mossback, but I am done with putting the receiver to my ear and hearing some obvious cretin demand, “Who IS this??”

Now, it wasn’t as bad in the good old days (cue me angrily waving my cane and shouting) when telephones were restricted to homes and booths on the street. Back then, you could actually evade the nerve-shredding BRR-I-NNG! by driving in your car, going to the beach, relaxing with a book under an elm, or climbing Mount Whitney. But nowadays, since the advent of portable cell phones –which, I am convinced, will hasten humanity’s inevitable extinction– there is no escape. Everyone has a phone, and they take the blasted thing everywhere they go; it’s become more of an appendage than a device. Not only that, cell phones have  seemingly become the primary form of human-to-human communication: abominations such as “texts” and “tweets” have not only reduced large segments of the populace to glassy-eyed fanatical phone-peckers (including the orange-haired you-know-who), but have given rise to an execrable form of shorthand typified by hideous acronyms like “ROFL” and “SYL”, or even worse, bastardized misspellings such as “UR” for “you’re”. Alas for the English language! The ability to converse in complete, grammatically-correct sentences has been so vitiated by this cell-phone/tweet/text addiction that I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the near future, humans lose the capacity to speak in anything other than grunts and squeals, like wild pigs or tapirs... sic transit gloria mundi!

Fortunately for me, I have an amazingly wonderful Significant Other who has none of these issues. Cool as a cucumber, she wields her iPhone with aplomb & skill, taking messages, arranging appointments, keeping everything from dissolving into chaos, and thereby sparing me the necessity of ever using my own iPhone for anything other than playing idiotic slot machine games based on Willy Wonka. Not only that, but being highly educated, she speaks in beautiful complete sentences that are music to my ears, and she absolutely shares my loathing for “UR” and “LOL”. Bless her heart!

But I still HATE the damn telephone, and– hey, wait, check it out! I just won 54 million dollars on the Oompa-Loompa Bonus... wow! Peck-peck-peck-peck...


Lannie Woulff

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