Number, please?


At a recent meeting of the Geneva Street Think Tank, a matter of the brain came up. Somebody mentioned that they had seen a story about adding memory to the brain, or something. That led to a “what if” proposition. You’ve heard of these people who remember everything. There was a story about these people the other night on TV. Ask them what they were doing April 14, 1931 and they can tell you, right then. Suppose a tiny computer the size of a pin head could be stuck inside your cranium, a device that knew … everything, a regular Google right in there. Ask you any question and it would know the answer. Spit it out immediately!
Law me! There’d be no need for books or formulas or math or chemistry studying. It would all be there in your brain. Turn it on just as you would a water tap. No need for school. You’d know everything about everything. I think we’re headed in that direction. Only thing is, somebody’s still got to learn how to install these little devices. Ah, that will all be in there, too. Then, when you called somebody a pin head it would be a true description, not an insult.
They’re working on it, I’ll bet you. Then, maybe I could remember my brother’s telephone number. And speaking of telephones, have we made any progress? Now, it takes 11 numbers to call that brother. Eleven. I’ve almost memorized his, but no one else’s. Too much!
On our 20 family party line, everybody had a “ring.” Ours was a long and a short. Aunt Lessie’s was two longs, and so on. Everybody knew everybody’s ring and, if you wanted to know what was going on at Uncle Kent’s (five shorts) just listen when you heard that ring. Listening in was not frowned upon, it was expected. Butt in if you liked. And one “long” ring was a call to the exchange in town. You surely listened in then. It must be a call to the doctor or to the horse doctor.
And even in a later period, Auburn telephone numbers were TU (for tuxedo) and four digits; Opelika’s were SH (for Sherwood) plus four digits. So much simpler: “Operator, give me Sherwood-so and so.” It’s obvious to me that some changes need to be made. Well, maybe that’s the trouble: too many changes have already been made.
Get it straightened out, you pin head. Look, I’ve got this terrible pain in my back… but, let’s see. I already have the cure right in my head, don’t I?
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at


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