The ubiquity of cell phones have caused people to stop memorizing phone numbers. Scroll through a list of names or start typing their first name and you can be calling a person in seconds.
Many of my students don't know a single phone number save the landline at their home (if they even have a landline). In fact, as part of a basic skills test that I give kids every year, I insist on having them learn a back-up phone number in addition to their parent's number.
It led me to wonder what phone numbers I still know or can recall. There was a time when I knew the phone numbers of most of my friends and many of my family members. Dozens, I'd guess. Today there aren't nearly as many, and most of them are vestiges from a time before cell phones.
- The phone number attached to my childhood home (defunct)
- The phone number attached to my first apartment in Attleboro, MA (defunct)
- The phone number of the Milford, MA McDonald's where I once worked (still in operation)
- The home phone number of my best friend's parents in Milford, MA (still in operation)
- The phone number attached to my first apartment in Connecticut (defunct)
- The phone number attached to my first home in Connecticut (defunct)
- The phone number of the Hartford, CT McDonald's where I once worked (still in operation)
- My father's phone number (still in operation)
- My friend Jeff's cellular phone number, memorized only because I use his name and phone number when renting golf carts in the event I don't return one someday (still in operation)
- My wife's cellular phone number (though it occasionally slips from my mind) (still in operation)
- Our current landline (unfortunately still in operation)
I don't even include my own cellular number on the list because I often have to look it up.
When I tell my students that I once had dozens of phone numbers memorized (as a means of berating them when they don't memorize their multiplication facts), they find this incomprehensible.
Dozens of seven-digit combinations? They can't believe it.
I almost can't believe it, either.