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  • Paul Davidson

Words For <i>Your</i> Enjoyment: Little Black Books

[Insert typical welcome message here, welcoming readers to yet another edition of “Words For Your Enjoyment.” Communicate excitement and intrigue, drawing the readers into the depths that is comical satire.]

This week, Andrea asks the question, “Little black books. What does it reveal about someone?”

Oh, little black books. These days, people walking around with them are probably either big, huge, obsessive fans of Happy Days and the lifestyle choices of The Fonz, or they’re really self-conscious about themselves. Why else would someone walk around making sure you know that they have a little black book “filled with numbers” from strange women (or men) they’ve met at a bar, the supermarket, at a party and/or through friends.

Let’s be honest here and let’s not get all gender-hating on me — women don’t have black books. They never have. If they did, they’re one of those progressive controlling women. But with the phasing out of old-time black books in the 70’s and the popularity of computers in the 80’s, little black books have taken a turn towards technology (that’s four “T” words in a five word spread — yeeeaaaaah!).

I once had a conversation with someone who I know who still has a black book. Let’s take a look at that conversation to see if it tells us anything about the type of person they are:

Them: Aren’t you going to ask me what that bulge is in my pocket?

Me: No.

Them: No, no, it’s not what you think.

Me: Oh yeah?

Them: YES. Here, I’ll show you. See? It’s my black book.

Me: You have a black book.

Them: Uh, yeah. Isn’t it cool? It’s leather.

Me: So, what – you have a lot of women’s phone numbers in there?

Them: Sure. Yeah. Totally.

Me: Can I see?

Them: It’s sort of private. Like, I don’t want you scamming numbers out of it and then using it for your own personal use.

Me: You don’t have any numbers in there, do you?

Them: I have emergency numbers in here.

Me: What, like 911?

Them: Uh, yeah.

It is my belief, that people who actually still carry around little black books are desperate for attention that they’re not getting from the opposite sex. Yes, but what about people carrying the “new and improved little black book” — the PDA? There are millions of people walking around with thousands of numbers and contacts in a little electronic organizer but the goal is different. Everyone has PDA’s. Only the elite carried little black books.

But there is something rapidly taking over the ancient form of little black books and the next generation of PDAs. In my opinion, today’s little black book is the Instant Messenger Buddy List (for those who are in the loop). Just like those forcing little black books on society, so too are the computer-literate (like this overheard convo at a bar):

Him: So, why don’t I give you my screen name?

Her: Your screen name?

Him: Yeah. For Instant Messenger.

Her: For Instant Messenger?

Him: You know, buddy lists? Chatting?

Her: Do you have a phone number?

Him: Well yeah, but-

Her: Can’t you just give me that?

In the end, sometimes people are ahead of the curve (as in trying to force singles to accept screen names instead of phone numbers) and some people are behind the curve (as in those people still using black books in which they must manually [gasp!] write down people’s information). In the end, people who must flaunt a little black book are obviously desperate for attention and secretly want everyone to know it.

Because maybe, deep down — it’s the squeeky wheel that gets the oil?

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