Dial “T” for Truth

When you get to be my age, you start prefacing boring things you’re about to say with, “When you get to be my age.” Or, “I remember when I was a kid.” Or, “Put on yer hat, dummy, cuz’ I’m about to start spittin’ on ya.” Luckily for you, this isn’t one of those times.

When you get to be around my age, you become aware that a bunch of stuff that was completely central to your life as a kid is now gone forever. And that hurts, man. Because we all want to be relevant. But when my friend’s grandpa, for instance, told me (as he actually did recently) that he used to climb a telephone pole on the road outside his family farm so that he could listen to the classical music he could hear coming out of the transformer box up there, was the first word that popped into my mind, “relevant?”

No. It was “liar.” Who does that old man think he’s kidding?

A. Nobody likes classical music that much.

B. You can’t put your ear to a box on an electrical line and hear music.

C. Nobody who ended up with legs as skinny as that guy could ever climb anything.

D. Who’s ever heard of a “family farm”?

When I’m telling stories about my past, I hate it when young people look at me as if I’m lying — which they do all the time, especially if I happen to be wearing this:

Stupid kids. No respect.

Anyway, one of the things I have trouble getting young people to believe is what “telephones” were like when I was a kid. I used to have that problem, anyway. But now I just send them the video below! (In it, be sure to catch the little girl’s desperate “Keep smiling! swallow right after she’s done holding the receiver into the camera so you can hear the dial tone. What a trooper.)

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Linda Chimienti

    “I remember when I was a kid” your sister Nancy and I made up a dance to go with the “busy signal” on the phone. (We used to call up KLIV Radio a lot to request songs or enter contests.) Don’t you wish you had a video of THAT?

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      I do.

  • http://coopernicus.wordpress.com cooper

    Aside from being tagged a liar, I find it warming when today's kids exercise the infamous eye roll, as if to say, "oh my God here he goes again."

    When I was a kid, the eye roll was usually followed by a smack in the head with a yardstick…

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    "B. You can’t put your ear to a box on an electrical line and hear music…" and live to tell about said music.

    I think I know that phone. When I was a kid, we had a party line. No, not that kind of a line. kids.

  • http://soiledwings.com Sherry Meneley

    When I was you’re age: Dial phones that you got for FREE from PacBell, 8-track cartridges, pennies ontop the needle of the record player, taping music off the radio and making "mixes" (while waiting for the damn DJ to shut up), and the one that horrifies my niece who thinks I’m lying – feminine products the size of diapers…and those hideous belts my grandma talked about (at least no one I knew had to sit on a donkey). OMGosh, sorry, I had to go there….

  • http://www.lisamertins.com lisa

    john, do you still “turn on” the television? you should ask one of those smart aleck young’ns why they say that. or “movie.”


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