Hung up the Phone!

When was the last time you “Hung up the phone”?

Technology pays my bills.  Well, more like the fact that technology isn’t perfect pays my bills.  However, while technology changes our lives, we cling to old expression and idioms.  The jokes about eight track tapes are endless, but how many of you reading this actually used an eight track tape?  I did, it was part of the stereo my brothers and me received for Christmas one year.  It had a turn table, cassette player, AM & FM receiver, and the venerable eight track player.

I could not wait to run out with my Christmas money and buy my first eight track cassette.  I bought two that trip; one I do not remember, the other was a Jefferson Starship cassette.  It lasted approximately one and a half plays before being devoured by the eight track cassette player!


Kids today don’t get any jokes about eight track cassette players, but they might still get “hung up the phone”.  Because of audiophiles, vinyl records are still available, so they get that.  But now it’s a luxury, for us, it was life.

When my parents moved to Minneapolis, I was in the middle of fourth grade.  I have no memory of class room phones before the Minneapolis schools, probably because they were pretty un-remarkable.  Those phones in that old Minneapolis public school were the epitome of “hung up the phone”.  These were the ear piece on the cradle while you spoke into the mouth piece protruding from the ugly black box on the wall.  It would ring, and that gray haired old lady would pluck the ear piece from the cradle, put it to her ear, and talk into the cone on the black box.

When she was done, she would hang up the phone.  Wasn’t really a phone, it only went to the office, no angry calls from parents to the classroom in that school…noooo!

When I was a kid, most homes had one phone.  It hung on the kitchen/dining room wall.  If you were really fortunate, you had more than one phone.  The really privileged kids had their own line.  My high school sweet heart had her own phone line, but she paid for it.  They were far from privileged, she was just ambitious.

When we were done with a call, we put the phone back in the cradle where it hung.  We “hung up the phone”.

Before I move forward, how many of you remember what a pain it was that your grandparents still had rotary phones?  It was an exercise in misery!  Six…de de de, until it came back to the start, one…de de de, back to start, two…de de de, back to start.  And you still had seven more numbers to dial if it was a long distance call.  If you needed to make more than one call, you went searching for a pencil, eraser first, because dialing seven numbers was bad enough…ten was HELL!

Then the cell phone came along.  My first was mounted in my truck, hard wired, corded from the handset to the radio mounted below my seat, on up to the antenna.  It sort of hung up, but just picking up the phone didn’t answer the call, you had to push the “Send” button.  To make a call you had to punch in the number, and then hit the same “Send” button.

“Send” send what, the numbers, the call, you’re first born.

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