I opened my front door today and saw a telephone book lying there.
It was inside a plastic sleeve, near the door, so I know it wasn’t dropped there accidentally by some random passerby who just happened to be carrying a telephone book in a plastic bag and got tired.
Telephone books have gone the way of the landline telephone, the answering machine, and the snail mail that includes a Thank You note for the gift I sent a relative a year ago.
(The typing monitor asked if I meant ‘landmine’ instead of landline. I hope not, typing monitor. I hope not.)
That’s okay; I figure I had annoyed them with my gift, and I was considerate enough not to annoy them a second time. Maybe they thought it was charity, and got mad at me for patronizing them. I’ll let them buy their own gifts from now on.
The sight of this telephone book engendered in me a yearning for the good old days of looking for a phone number the old-fashioned way, by using the alphabet.
After phoning around and asking other people for their input, which I would never do, I came up with 7 reasons I miss the telephone book:
1) The telephone book made an awesome booster seat
People are always having kids. They can’t seem to control themselves. After they have them, they bring them over to your house when you invite them for dinner. These small people can’t see over the top of the table, leaving you to scramble around looking for something to boost them up high enough to see what’s on their dinner plate.
I don’t want them sitting in my lap; they are always embarrassingly afraid of you and start screaming as soon as their parents get ten inches away from them.
Either that, or they haven’t been changed in three months and the smell puts you right off your feed.
2) The telephone book had things in it you never knew you needed until you saw it in the phone book while you were looking for a dentist
I regularly searched through the phone book looking for a tire store, or a vet, or a place to buy shoelaces. This search would take me at least an hour, because I’d get distracted by all the businesses that were in the phone book.
These pages usually included full page ads for the fifteen thousand escort services in your hometown, which crowded out the two primary care physicians who actually stayed there to make a living. At least they’ll have plenty of escorts to choose from.
The internet isn’t nearly as interesting, mainly because if you type in a search for a ‘vet’, Google will bring up phrases like, “Did you mean, Rooms to let? Perhaps you’d like an escort? We have lots of those.”
3) Telephone books help if your house is falling into a sinkhole
I don’t know how furniture people do it, but they manage to build tables and cabinets and whatnot with one leg shorter than the others.
As your plate slid down the length of the table, you rushed to the other end and inserted a phone book under the short leg of the table, the local phone book, because the regular one was way too big. If you used the big one, you had the opposite problem and your plate slid back the other way. Insert the little one, and now you had a level table.
Voila! You were an engineer extraordinaire.
4) Telephone books help those people who don’t have the internet
They won’t help those people who don’t have a telephone, but I never said I was a genius.
5) Telephone books are stacked
Just one telephone book was enough to give that extra inch or so you needed to reach the top shelf and get one of those mugs you haven’t seen in years.
When I was a teenager, I visited my great-aunt in Texas. She was a tiny woman, and I was 5’10”, so reaching the top shelf of her cabinets was no big deal to me. I pulled down a cup for my coffee, and when she saw it, she plotzed. (She was Jewish.)
‘Where did you get that?’ she asked me. When I told her the top shelf, she said she hadn’t seen those cups in years.
Not only that, but standing on a telephone book can make kissing a tall stranger easier, especially if the tall stranger has back problems.
6) Telephone books can be stacked really high; high enough to do an oil change on your car
This one was my guy’s idea. If you’re like me, you don’t do oil changes. If you do them, you may appreciate this tip, especially if you don’t have your tire jack handy.
7) The telephone book can fill that spot where the toilet paper used to be
There will come a day when you are sitting in one of your favorite spots, and you realize you, a) don’t have any reading material; and b) forgot to buy toilet paper on your last trip to the store.
If that random passerby has conveniently left you a telephone book, you can heft it into the bathroom, and keep it there for any number of emergencies.
Now that we’ve established how valuable a telephone book is, please don’t call and ask me to find you a dentist in the phone book.
I’m unlisted, anyway.