Thursday, June 25, 2009

Prank calls ain't what they used to be

As a child, prank-calling was fun. Perhaps, even an indoor sport. We used to prank-call at sleep-overs, and even when the parents were out and we had absolutely nothing else to do with our friends to kill some time.

I remember thumbing through the phonebook under "Whitehead." For some reason, we always ended up calling an old lady named Luvena Whitehead. We would ask for "Luvena Blackhead" and when she said that there was no one by that name, I would tell her "Oh sorry, wrong pimple."

Ok, so as an adult maybe it isn't as funny. But when you're a kid and you randomly call people asking for someone else--it is.

I'm sure that if you are my age and you watched "The Simpsons" as a child, you may remember Bart and Lisa calling Moe's Tavern asking for:

Oliver Clothesoff

Al Coholic

Jacques Strap

and my all-time favorite as a child:

Seymour Butz

to name a few.......

My brother and I had phone numbers from the airport payphones. I'm pretty certain that anytime I was there, I wrote down the number so I could use it in the future for a good prank call. I thought it would be funny to call one of the payphones (because you know some dumb schmuck will answer it) and then ask the "dumb schmuck" if there is a 'Mike Rotch' around. We were surely jumping up and down with laughter. Unable to contain ourselves at times, and even ruining the prank all together because we just couldn't get the name out without giggling.

I also remember a time when my brother and I randomly pressed numbers on the phone and reached a gentleman with an answering machine message that was entirely too long and completely different than anything I had ever heard before. This gentleman never picked up his phone--at least that I can remember, so it was great that my brother and I could continue to call this guy over and over again without him picking up the phone.

I think at one point we even shared the phone # with our mom, because it was so damn hilarious. We wanted her to listen to it as well. Believe it or not, to this day, I still remember the greeting on the machine. It went a little something like this:

"Ahhhh, spring. I'm probably outside in the garden right now up to my elbows in mother-earth....planting flowers and vegetables. But don't hang up! Just start talking so I'll have time to drop my trowel and come running to the phone, because I do so VERY much want to talk to you."

Ridiculous right? But a the same time, kind of poetic.

What's sad is although I enjoyed prank calling as a child, my kids will never be able to experience it the same way I did as a child. With caller ID's, and *69 last call return, the phone companies have made it nearly impossible to prank-call without getting caught.

What's the fun in that?

Yeah I know there are things like *67 which allow you to block your own number, but then you have these smug yuppies that have "no call blocking" attached to their phone so you'll never be able to get through without them knowing who you are.

It's a shame.

I'm sure in the future, things with the phones will become more complex. Probably something where your face pops up every time you call someone...I don't know.

I guess the only place my kids will be calling (when they get to the "prank call stage") will be airport payphones.

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