Guess last use of rotary phone no milestone

Looks like I’m going to have to roll through whatever pops into my head this time around. The rest of my mind is too occupied with trying to get used to this new computer screen I’m staring at.

I guess we just found out the hard way that the old one was one power outage away from giving up the ghost. The power outage came, the computer monitor went.

All I know for sure is that the new one has a few more inches of empty screen space to mock me each week about this time, daring me to come up with words to fill it up.

Oh sure, the new one passes the eye test a little better than its predecessor, but if it lasts seven plus years like the old one, I should be able to get used to it. 

Slow speed dial

It’s been a few years now since I wrote a column about wishing I had known when I was doing something for the last time. I think what brought that on was the fact my son was going trick-or-treating without me and I wish I had appreciated the year prior a little more.

On a much less emotional note, a similar thought hit me while watching TV this week. There’s a commercial running where a man makes a phone call on an old-fashioned rotary dial telephone. Hopefully, most of you recall the type.

You put your finger in the hole of a dial corresponding with a number and spun it until it hit a metal stop bar, whereupon you released the dial and it spun back to the original position. 

If you had to dial a number with a lot of eights and nines, it could take a while.

My wife and I had the same thought at the same time. We wondered when it was that we last had to do that to place a phone call.

When was the last spin of the dial before “touch-tone” buttons took their place?

We’re guessing it might have been in the first apartment we had after getting married, so it was a long time ago.

Maybe it was at the job I had at the time where they were notorious for not modernizing equipment very fast. Or maybe it happened in that other lost icon of the era, a phone booth. With a pay phone.

I’d call my parents and ask them if they have any ideas as to when it might have been, but my cellphone is upstairs and I have to use it because that’s the phone that has their number stored in the memory. Which means I don’t have it in my own memory banks.

Speaking of cellphones, did you see the article this week that pointed out that the first cellphone call was placed 40 years ago this week? It took another 10-12 years for them to become commercially viable, but I wonder if they had any idea at the time what their invention was to become.

I can’t confirm that the person the cellphone pioneer called asked him to just send him a text instead.

Time to crane my neck

Near-perfect weather and the first week of April. I’m thinking this weekend might be a good time to go do a little sandhill crane watching before they take off out of here. It will be first in a series of excuses to get out of yard work.

Don’t push it

Things That Make Me Nervous No. 1,209 : They took down the snow fences from along a few streets in my neighborhood this week. That’s just tempting fate, if you ask me.

Now, for sure, that “slight chance of a dusting of snow” they say might happen in the next few days is destined to be known as the April Blizzard of ’13. 

Oh well, at least I have an excuse to not re-arrange the garage this weekend. I’m not going to double the odds by moving my slowblower to the back and the lawn mower to the front.

You’re not going to be able to blame a snowstorm on me. It’s all on the heads of those guys who took down the snow fence.

Couldn’t they have waited until Memorial Day?

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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