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  • Paul Davidson

Words For <i>Your</i> Enjoyment: Rotary Dial Telephones

It’s a tradition mere months in the making but it has transformed the world into a place unlike no other. It is Friday’s “Words For Your Enjoyment” where you provide the idea, and WFME steals it.

This week’s question comes from Jeff who writes: My question is this: Don’t you think all of the problems in the world can be traced back to the phasing out of the rotary dial phone?

Good Lord, Jeff. You’re right.

And so I got right down to business, doing the research of a thousand men to determine the chain of events caused by the rotary phone which has, for all intents and purposes caused so many problems in the civilized world it isn’t even funny.

Obesity: These days, people sit on their fat butts all day long in the car and in the office and in their homes. But way back when, before obesity was a countrywide epidemic, there were leaner times. Times when we all used a rotary telephone!!! Think about it. Like a huge aerobic workout, we used our fingers to turn the hard-to-turn discus, dialing number after number. And with making mistakes often or living in towns where numbers started with a number above 7, our fingers were really doing the “walking.”

War: Mainstream pushable buttons were not readily available or common until rotary telephones went the way of the dinosaur. At that moment, when push-button phones took over, so did our government leader’s desire to “push buttons.” Around the same time of the death of the rotary telephone so too did there emerge the “evil red button of nuclear war” which was all thanks to the disappearance of you know who.

Poverty & The Homeless: Sure, we’ve always had homeless people, although they were called Hobos before the phasing out of the rotary telephone. See, rotary phones used a special “clicking mechanism” that communicated the clicks through the phones lines, which sent signals to dial a number. That’s why a number 7 had farther to rotate back to, because the extra rotating was extra clicks. Well, this mechanism was easy to duplicate and was how most people down on their luck or running out of money made those extra “free calls” for job interviews. But alas, once the rotary telephone disappeared, those folks on the edge of poverty could no longer make those extra important last-minute calls for help. The push button “tone feature” guarded against such freebies. And so, those normally able to get a job to save themselves and their families, ended up turning to the street. Changing their name from Hobos to Homeless was strictly based on wanting to remove the letters “bos” after the “HO” in Hobos, so that these sad folks who had been unable to make that last call to get a job, would never remember that they had missed out on getting just “one more boss” (i.e. “bos”) in a company.

Ozone Depletion: Simply put, people whose fingers are not tired from using the rotary telephone have fingers that are less fatigued and when using hair-spray or aerosol canisters, have heavy “trigger-fingers” thus sending extra un-used portions of their aerosol cans up into the air and depleting the ozone layer even further.

Damn you, you official technology people in big business who took away our beloved rotary dial telephone! Had you taken the time to really think about the repercussions, you may have realized that you were making a huge mistake. For, had you not done what you did as brought up here today by our good WFME friend, Jeff… Had you let the rotary dial phone live on… The world of today might be free of obesity, war, poverty and an evironment on the eve of destruction.

Then again, I could be wrong. But that’s never stopped me before.

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