“And Now That You’re On The Right Road, Don’t Forget His Area Code…”

In 1962, the President of AT&T decided to introduce a solely numeric code for telephones.  Previously, telephone owners were provided names such as Triangle, Poplar, Crestview, State, etc., whose first two letters could be found on any telephone, making it easier for owners to remember telephone numbers.  Allan Sherman satirized the President’s decision in a funny and rousing song, Let’s All Call Up AT&T And Protest to The President, march!, in his album, My Son, The Celebrity.   Sherman sings:  “Let us wake him up from his slumber.  Get a pencil, I’ll give you his number.”  Then comes a ridiculously long spewing of digits followed by the quote from the post’s title.  Another silly long stream of numbers follows.  However, in retrospect, Allan Sherman was something of a prophet.  A few years later, zip codes were introduced.  Credit card numbers became more prevalent.  Social security numbers, VINs for cars, numbers to locate departments within an individual entity came into being.  Now there are numbers to access checking accounts, confirmation numbers for purchases, numbers in user names and passwords.  And the end is nowhere in sight.  An improved means of communication, or a ridiculously long spewing of digits?  I leave it to you.

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

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