Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pick up. Pick up.

Bizarro is brought to you today by Modern Phone Technology.

This cartoon was originally going to have a different caption: "What are you wearing?"

I still think that's a funny caption but once drawn up, it seemed really creepy to have a child saying this, my editor agreed and I changed it to this less pedophilic punch line. That's the nature of the business.

At the risk of sounding like an old timer, I cannot believe how far phone technology has come in my lifetime. Until I was a teenager, you had to dial a phone with that rotary thing, which was an arduous and deafeningly noisy task. There was no such thing as a cordless phone, so you had to stand wherever the phone was. The wires were not detachable, either, and you couldn't switch it off.

We thought the "future" had arrived when they invented extra long curly cords that went from your phone to your handset. But those looked like a bowl of dried spaghetti within a couple of months and you were back to standing next to the phone.

Voice mail and answering machines didn't exist, of course. An answering machine was anyone you could talk into answering the phone so you wouldn't have to get up. I was my parents' answering machine, as well as their TV remote.

On the subject of answering machines, have you noticed Hollywood is the only place that hasn't given them up for electronic voicemail? Movies and TV shows still regularly have old fashioned answering machines, so the audience (and characters in the room) can hear who's calling, thus advancing the drama. James Bond has a car that sees in infrared and shoots nanobots but he still uses an answering machine he bought at Target in 1974. "James, if you're there pick up! Pick up! Pick up!" Does he still have a block of ice hand delivered to his "icebox" every morning, too?

Don't forget to check back at 4pm NYC time today for the contest. See the post below.

9 comments:

Kym said...

I still have an answering machine. It's digital, but still...

I had voicemail for awhile, but I find it much more convenient to see the blinky light and press a button to hear my messages than to pick up the phone, hear a weird stuttering dial tone, and call in to hear my messages.

Chris said...

A friend of mine had no luck looking for toy walkie talkies for a burlesque routine she was putting together. She went to toy stores, dollar stores, drug stores and couldn't find a single one. She told me she couldn't figure it out until she realized that kids these days don't need to play with toy walkie talkies when they've got Blackberries.

That was an odd bit of culture shock.

doug nicodemus said...

that is real funny as is the discussion...

another observation about the "old days"..i am from a real small town (pop 2500) during my college years and shortly thereafter when everyone was moving around a lot my friends would ask for a phone number to stay in touch. i would always say that they could dial 217 482 and any 4 digits after that. when someone picks up the phone just ask them how doug nicodemus is doing or where i am at. they will either know or go get somebody who does...

Josh said...

Man, I wish the editor would've let you go with your original punchline. That would've been funny as hell.

Pirk said...

I remember it took Hollywood a long time to incorporate cell phones into movies too. lots of situations where any real person would've just whipped out their cell and called someone

Ray Avito said...

The only time I use a phone is at work, but if I had a home phone I would absolutely get a rotary, just because I think they are pretty awesome. Convenient?...not so much, but I like them.

sheer.nothingness said...

@Chris: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Writer said...

I would like to have an old corded phone again. I feel like my cell phone is nothing but a ball and chain.

Ryne said...

I like how you say NYC time.