Now that the iPhone is here, I guess it’s too much to hope that phones will become obsolete.
I was going to title this post “I Hate Phones,” but with all the recent fruit hatred, I don’t want to come off as a negative blogger.
So my point is not really that I love e-mail but that I much prefer e-mail to phones. And that I hate phones. Particularly cell phones. (And, yes, I do have a cell phone, but I use it only for emergencies and to order takeout from Olive Mountain in Evanston when I have a craving for chicken tikka.) But I’m not going to go off on a rant about cell phone users; I really want to focus more on phone vs. e-mail.
It just makes sense. A phone call can be so intrusive. You’re not prepared, you’re in the middle of cleaning the litter box, you’re not in the mood to talk (for me that mood is always). Like a lot of people, I’m just better online. Sending a resume? E-mail. Sending a manuscript? E-mail. Ordering from a catalog, inviting friends over for a movie, sending my condolences to a sick relative? E-mail, e-mail, e-mail.
When the phone rings, I feel like a character in a slasher film who keeps getting scary phone calls from the killer. The ringing gets louder and louder, more insistent, jangling my already jangled nerves until I start screaming SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!!!!!!!
Nevertheless, I put up with the ringing in order to screen my calls. I don’t have caller ID—it wouldn’t matter. I’m not picking up unless it’s one of the elite few (you know who you are, and you know I screen).
It’s not just me. A business Web site asked users whether they preferred e-mail to the phone when conducting business. Some interesting replies:
I only use the phone when interactivity is really (genuinely) needed. That is not very often.
My [business] cards don’t even list a phone. If you can’t do email, you don’t need to be “talking” to me.
I will generally not talk to clients on the phone. It just ends up in me getting angry at them.
Recently a friend told me that, upon hearing that I rarely use a cell phone and don’t have caller ID, her friend asked incredulously: “Is she 80?” (This same friend cleverly came up with a sign language motion for “E-mail me”—fingers typing the air—to replace the familiar “Call me” motion—pinkie finger and thumb to ear).
I recently had to use a phone. And either I really am 80 or phones have become too sophisticated for me. I was at the computer while I was talking and temporarily forgot why the mouthpiece was given that name. I noisily blew a loud gust of air to get rid of the dust on my keyboard. I hope the person I was RSVP-ing wasn’t too offended (next time put an e-mail address on the invitation!).
And, let’s face it, e-mail spam is way funnier than phone spam.
JD’s Top Ten Favorite Spam Subject Lines
- Such medication–dinky cost!
- Get a Pornstar Size D**k
- I’ll never stop loving you. Go and get her now.
- Y Stupidly Work for Low Salary? [can I work stupidly for a high salary?]
- I think we owe you 889933 dollars [strangely, this never materialized]
- Improved sleep and emotional stability [from Ophelia Moody]
- Amplify your phallus: Swallow 3 these tablets every solar day
- Right Bra, Right Attitude [so that’s why I’m so cranky]
- 246 People Died from Mosquiteos [from Mosquito Incorporated]
- Gently Read My Mail [Sir or Madam, I know no other way]
And consider these subject lines from a legitimate source:
- My left eyebrow is growing faster than the right
- My watch stopped
- Please cancel Twee Kitten order
Phun Phone Phacts
- Having a cell phone on your body can make lightning strikes more severe
- Lightning strikes kill phone users
- Using a cell phone while it’s recharging can lead to electrocution
- People lie more on the phone than on e-mail
If you want to love e-mail:
- Start by throwing away your cell phone. This article tells you why.
- Next, throw out your landline phone. I know it’s hard, but just think how good you’ll feel telling AT&T to go screw themselves.
- Now, sit back, and enjoy the quite, calm world of virtual communication. No more ringing, no more screaming.