Do You Memorize Telephone Numbers?

If you Lost Your Cell Phone Could You Still Contact Friends and Family?

A while back, while scanning through the summaries of IT blogs that I receive in my daily email at work, I came upon a little item about a new problem with cell phones. It seems that, thanks to the speed dial and address book features on cell phones, people no longer have to memorize frequently called numbers of family and close friends. In fact, once entered into the cell phone's address book, there is rarely a need to even look at such numbers again.

How is this a problem? Well, if a person happens to get arrested, their cell phone, along with the rest of their valuables are taken away from them immediately. Later, they are allowed to make their one free phone call, but, without their cell phone, which by then is locked in a vault in another part of the facility, they don't know any numbers to call. Even if they are given access to a phone book, it usually doesn't help because most of their contacts have cell phones and these are not listed in phone directories.

Reflecting on this I realized that, while I have never had to make (and, hopefully, never will have to make) a call from jail, I, too, am hard pressed to recite from memory phone numbers that I frequently call. I know the land line number of my home phone and the number of my office phone which I recite to prospective clients regularly. But, I don't know the desk phone number of the office receptionist since, if I have to speak with him, I just shout across the room and if I have to call him from outside I use the speed dial on my cell phone. The same with my wife and children, all have cell phones and these are all on my speed dial. Whenever, I have to call them, I use the speed dial. What about when I visit the doctor and have to give contact information? If they want my cell phone number, I pull out my phone and look it up in the address book - that is easier than trying to memorize a number I never call. Need number for nearest relative? Out comes my cell phone and I look up the cell number of my wife or children. Obviously, if I ever forget to carry my cell phone or if the battery dies I will be adrift regardless of how many other phones are nearby.

However, there is one number, that has remained burned in my brain even though I haven't called it in over 40 years. As a child, every night my Mother would have my brother or me call our great-Aunt Abbie to check and make sure she was all right. Having repeated her number hundreds of times, it is easy to understand why I haven't forgotten it. You see, when it was my turn to call, I would pick up the phone and when the operator said "Number, please", I would dutifully repeat "Genesee 5502J"

"Number Please"  - Depression Era photo of telephone operators - this technology was relatively unchanged into the 1960s or later.  Photo Credit:   Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC
"Number Please" - Depression Era photo of telephone operators - this technology was relatively unchanged into the 1960s or later. Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC

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1 comment

student 6 years ago

this is a funny time to remember because

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