Thursday, December 3, 2009

No Static at All

By a show of hands, how many readers can make the association between the title of this post and a particular Steely Dan tune?

How about a Lucille Ball moment? (I’ve had too many of these to count.)

A while back, Straight Guy tweeted that he’d introduced his kids to The Three Stooges…and was happily recounting that they *got* it. One generation passing the slapstick-torch…I found it comforting and amusing all at the same time. I mean, he’s a guy…and it’s The Three Stooges. Of course he’s happy to pass on that kind of humor…I can only hope that he’ll stop just short of the “pull my finger” joke.

From here, it was a mere hop, skip, jump and short mental cab ride to musing over the electronic advances I’ve seen in my lifetime. From corded phones and 8-tracks…admittedly, too many to mention. From there, I narrowed the field….edited my mental post, if you will…to the advances that have taken place in Connor’s (12) life. This was a discussion that required Connor’s undivided attention. That’s why it took another three days to arrive at a single block of time he was willing to devote to having a dialogue with me on this most significant subject:

Kathryn: “Well Connor….I can’t tell you how happy I am we’re finally sitting down to discuss the advantages and ramifications that technological advances have had on your short but astoundingly meaningful lifetime.

Clinton Kelly: (My unexpected IV) “Connor was unavailable, citing a staggering amount of ‘DBQ’s’ due tomorrow. He sends his regrets and…well, me.”

K: (Confused) “What? ‘DB’…whats? Where is he??”

CK: (Sighs) “He’s knee-deep in ‘Document Based Questions’ for social studies. He’s doing his homework, kiddo. I’m evidently the filler. If you’d rather re-schedule, I totally understand. There’s a martini glass in the freezer with my name on it.”

K: “When I’m already 300 words in? I. Don’t. Think. So. And isn’t that your martini right there on the table?”

CK: “Riiiiight. Well, that’s convenient. So, fire away.”

K: “Um. Well…no offense, sweetie…but you passed the age of 12 a loooong time ago.”

CK: (Takes sip) “I’m well aware. However, I still have the mental ability to remember being 12.”

K: (Frowns) “What’s that supposed to mean? Are you insinuating that I do not have the psychological capacity to recall my tween and early teen years? Because you would be sadly mistaken, my friend. I remember it like it was yesterday.”

CK: (Takes another sip) “Okay. Give me an example of one relatable, yet substantial difference between technology for Connor and 'the Kathryn in the days of yore’.”

K: (Shoots withering scowl) “HA. Did Connor really send you? Or am I gonna find him tied up in the closet in a few days?”

CK: (Smiles in response.)

K: “FINE. At 6 o’clock this morning, we had no power, it was raining cats & dogs, windy as hell and pitch black in the house. Half of our flashlights had dead batteries and we wound up navigating our way in the dark aided by the ‘flash feature’ on the video option on our cell phones. They made it so freakin' bright, we practically needed shades.”

CK: “Sweet. And your personal teen phone memory?”

K: “Well. Dad got mad ‘cause we kept making all these calls during the day while he and Mom were at work and the phone bill was through the roof. Somehow, he got his hands on a lock that fit through the first hole of the dial and….”

CK: “Wait. The first what?”

K: “The first HOLE…(said in a LOUD VOICE) ya know, where the NUMBER ONE would be. It was a rotary phone….like this:
….and the lock looked like this:
The lock fit into the #1 hole and we weren’t supposed to be able to dial out.”

CK: “Real safe. Where’s Child Protective Services when you need them?”

K: “EXACTLY. It took us approximately 6 hours to figure out if we kept continuously banging on the buttons, the operator would eventually come on. She probably thought we were having an epileptic seizure or something….anyway, we’d give her the number and she’d place the call.”

CK: “And how many calls a day did you make using this method?”

K: “Well, it wasn’t just me. I mean, I’m sure Laura was the brains behind the operation…and there were four of us kids…times three hours a day, times five days a week…well, you do the math. All I remember was that Dad was spitting mad the next time the phone bill came and the lock disappeared shortly thereafter.”

CK: “Your father was a beaten man. Remind me to tell Connor this story.”

K: “I’d rather you didn’t. Although, it’s certainly one of the tamer things we kids did. Of course, I’d rather he not know any of that, either.”

Anything you wouldn’t want your kids to know that YOU did as a child? Nah…I’ll bet every one of you were perfect children….am I right??


carissajaded said...

I hope you really do have a martini glass with Clinton Kelly's name on it!

Ohhh the rotary phone. My parent's used one until about 1998, but I refused to use it. I did do plenty of damage to the phone bill though. And I managed to piss my dad off quite often. Every time he took my phone away for talking on it "past my bed time" I would simply pull one of my extra phones out of hiding. When he caught me using one of those, dude it was trouble. I remember the shake of the floor with every footstep...

Spot said...

I was an absolutely fabulous child. My teen years however, I was a nightmare. Luckily, I was really good at prevaricating and my folks had no clue! When we lived in England though, I did run up a phone bill when they weren't home. I just got grounded though. I actually make my kids pay for their overages on the cell bill. And they know all my horrid abominable stories. It was definitely a "here's where I screwed up, don't let this be you" teaching moment. Also a "I pulled everything you can possible think of so don't even think you're gonna slide that crap by me" kinda deal. So far it's working for me...

Love the convos with you and IV. Can I have a martini now??
♥Spot

dailyseeking said...

I have my grandparents black rotary phone. We used to have a party line and that was fun!

book*addict said...

of course I was perfect! IDK, I grew up differently then how my daughter will grow up. Son the circumstances for what i did is different. I don't think I'd want her to know all about my childhood because then it'll give her free reign to do what i did, and I don't think that'd be a great idea. I will share one story.
When I was 12 I went to my friend's farm which was at the time an hour away from my house. Her mom was very permissive so we did a lot of stuff we shouldn't have. Boys came over and we were on the roof. One of the them was smoking a cig and everyone else except my friend and i were drinking beers. Remember, we were 12. Anyways, they all had about 1 beer and then we decided we wanted to go to the bowling alley. One of the boys had a chauffeur so we went without telling our parents.
Maybe that wasn't my worst childhood adventure, but it's the most sane for right now.

Allegria said...

Oooh! Dailyseeking, we had a party line, too! Always an adventure. And,Kathryn--I was the perfect child. *rolls eyes*

ValleyWriter said...

I don't have children, but if I did, there are a few things (not fit for public consumption) that I wouldn't want them to do. But, then again, I turned out OK (*twitch* *twitch*)... :-)

Gingerella said...

I actually miss the old rotaries. When I win the lottery I'm going to buy a bakelite phone from the 40's that's been retrofitted to work with modern touch-tone technology. And if the time ever comes where I absolutely have to break down and acquire a cell phone, I'm going to make sure my ringtone is one of those real-sounding rotary bell sounds! ;)

My dad flipped a lid over the long distance bills too, particularly when I was in the 10th grade, and my first "real" boyfriend lived in a town 50 miles away...ah, memories!

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

I've been slowly telling my mother the TRUE stories of what went on during my younger years. It's really starting to drive her nuts. Not sure I'll tell The King...unless he asks.

Ron said...

OMG...the second I saw the photo of the rotary phone I HOWLED!!

You have no idea how many memories it brought back for me as a child. And I totally forgot about the "lock" but the when I saw it, I remembered it being used on my father's office phone.

I was so lucky because when we got older, my parents actually installed our very own telephone, with our very own telephone number in our rooms - can you believe it?

And yes...I was a PERFECT child.

Perfectly HORRIBLE!

HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Great post, my NY friend!

xoxoxo

JD at I Do Things said...

Make fun of the rotary phone all ye like, but I really miss the old-fashioned handset. It was so much easier to cradle between your ear and shoulder. With today's modern phones, there's NOTHING to cradle. My neck hurts. I hate phones.

Tom Bailey said...

The phone part of this is hillarious to me. That rotary phone picture bring up tons of dialling memories.

You have such a great way of telling stories.

Best regards,
Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey said...

The phone part of this is hillarious to me. That rotary phone picture bring up tons of dialling memories.

You have such a great way of telling stories.

Best regards,
Tom Bailey

Smileyfreak said...

I was an 'angel' *cough cough lol* :) Very amusing post,your dad was very...inventive ;) I hope my kid never stays up all night texting :)

Gavin said...

"Anything you wouldn’t want your kids to know that YOU did as a child? "

Oh goodness no. XD Not a good example to follow here. XD I used to have a phone like that. Almost wish I still did. Phones nowadays are much too complicated for my poor fried brain to handle. XD

Collette said...

No lock on our phone. My mom used to unscrew the speaker end of the phone & remove the piece from inside. Therefore, the person on the other end could not hear you when you spoke. (Or maybe we did that to my mom.)Anyway, being the oldest girl of 3, I always had to set a good example for my younger sisters. (unfortunately, it didn't always happen that way...)

Gropius said...

13 year old stepson asked me what a record was the other day. YIKES. He does like the Three Stooges. Bought him a DVD of old episodes last Christmas.... Ah, some things never change.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Like many of your commenters I was a perfect kid. I know, hard to believe. Maybe once I forgot to say my prayers, but that's about it...

Kathryn said...

carissajaded: Oooh! You're making me shake just thinking about those stomping footsteps that meant "Dad was coming...and he was M-A-D"! We're lucky we survived to adulthood!

Spot: Here's your martini, my dear. BTW....I had to Google "prevaricating". (Showoff.) I'm too afraid to tell da boys half the crap my siblings and I did. It seems like I'll bring something to life if I do!

dailyseeking: Your grandparents black phone? Is it that really *heavy* one?? I don't remember a party line...maybe we lived too far in the boonies for that...

book*addict: Well, I totally hear you about being afraid to put ideas in our kid's heads. And...hello?....12yo and smoking AND drinking? on the freakin' roof?? I realize you weren't one of the offenders, but still...you DID have a LOT of freedom, I'm guessing.

Allegria: Uh-huh. Party lines and perfect children....and that's the way it was!!

ValleyWriter: HA! Laughed out loud at the *twitch, twitch*! I know what you're saying...we'd rather they learn from our mistakes. *Twitch!*

Gingerella: WOW...50 miles! That's a LOT of walking for a 10th-grader! Yeah, it's funny how we yearn for the "days of yore"...and I HAVE that old-time ring for my cell! Score!

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt: Yeah, we STILL haven't clued in Dad. Some things are better not shared, I think!

Lou said...

Yes I thought of Steely Dan the second I saw your post title on my dashboard. My older sister was responsible and studious growing up so my parents gave me a lot of freedom assuming I too would use it wisely. Boy were they mistaken. What I got up to isn't fit for public consumption, suffice it to say I was a hell raiser. My parents didn't know what hit them.

Kathryn said...

RON! Oh, how lucky were YOU? You must've been a perfect child for your dad to give you kids your own line! (THAT, or he got tired of never getting to use the phone himself...we KNOW that's the real reason!!)xoxo

JD at I Do Things: I totally hear that! You're right, my dear...nothin' left on those itty-bitty phones to cradle. How'd you get to be so smart??

Tom Bailey: Thank you, kind sir! Always happy to hear from you as well!

Smileyfreak: HA! I'm sure you were (cough) perfect! And I'm sure your kid would NEVER (cough) text all night!

Gavin: HA! Isn't it funny? It's "do as I say, not as I DO!" I think we'd all be in big trouble if our kids did what WE did!

Collette: OMG! I don't think my parents thought to do that...or I know they would have! We must've tortured them, right??

Dreamfarm Girl said...

Well naturally I never talked back to my parents, but somehow I did talk them into buying me my own phone (alas, not phone number) when I was 13. It was a beautiful baby blue princess, and the dial had that soft touch like a cat's purr rather than the hard dial like the one in the picture (our hall phone).

I remember maybe 10 years back my kids were aghast that I grew up without a VCR and movies on video. Yes, we actually had to go to a movie theater to see a movie. Things have already changed for them considerably since then too.

Thanks for the memory lane trip!
And I love that steely dan song.

Heather said...

We didn't even have a phone till well after I had moved out. The first phone my parents had was a wall mount push button. LOL

MeanDonnaJean said...

"No Static at All

By a show of hands, how many readers can make the association between the title of this post and a particular Steely Dan tune?"

I can, I can!!!!

It's FM, baby. EFF EMM!!!

Kathryn said...

Gropius: OUCH. I've been meaning to share The 3 Stooges w/da boys...I can't imagine that slapstick is ever NOT funny. It doesn't always have to be about special effects, right??

Maureen@IslandRoar: Oh, so perfect! How is it that I've never heard of Saint Maureen??

Lou: Good girl. You're the first one to actually refer to that reference! Why does this little tidbit into your past not surprise me? Were you the baby or the middle? 'Cause you SOUND like you were a middle child to me....

Dreamfarm Girl: Oh, how I longed for a baby blue princess phone! Such memories....(sigh). I'm reminded of how easy our kids have it each time we lose power...they don't know what to do with themselves!

Heather: Yeah...the push button. All new-fangled and required so much less energy to dial, right?

MeanDonnaJean: THANK YOU! I NEVER tire of this song....nevah!!

Alicia said...

Well my babies are 23 and 27 now so pretty much I've done all the damage I can...lol.

But hey, know what I remember? Party lines! We always lived out in the country and we had a party line where everyone was on the same line and if you were on the line someone else in another house could pick up the phone and listen in and vice versa...I listened in quite a bit.

Straight Guy said...

Wow, K, thanks for the shout out. Just so everyone knows, don't spring the Stooges on your kids unsuspectingly, start slowly with a few vintage "I Love Lucy" clips (recommend the chocolate factory and grape stomping episodes) easily found on YouTube. When you get to the stooges, look for any clips featuring the trio fleeing a gorilla on the loose. Good times.

Kathryn said...

Alicia: OMG! You're not the first person to mention this...I'm very jealous! We didn't have a party line...but I DID live in the suburbs. I feel cheated!

Kathryn said...

Straight Guy: You're welcome! I just love the face that you're passing the torch...and I'm going to seriously look up those classic Lucy eppys. 3 Stooges fleeing a gorilla? Da boys'll LOVE that!

Straight in Upstate said...

"Hurry the bottle, mama, it's grapefruit wine"...at least that's what I've always heard; watch the lyric be something completely different, like your Vlingo experience!!

My 17 yr. old niece gives us crap because we still have a corded phone. "It...plugs into the wall!! How stupid is that? You mean I have to STAND here to use the phone?" Hey, I didn't buy a pushbutton phone until my wife got sick of not being able to access any customer service ("Press 1 for...") because I clung to my rotary dial!

Kathryn said...

Straight in Upstate: Oh, God...you're my HERO! I think. Wait. Do you have a technological aversion to everything? Or just the phone? 'Cause if it's just the phone, I think it's fantastic!

Get this: I've just Googled the words! It's "Worry" the bottle, mama! I always thought it was "hand me", but the guy was slurring 'cause he was...ya know, drunk!

Straight in Upstate said...

Oh dear, hero-hood hangs in the balance. I'm obviously not a Luddite because I'm addicted to blogs and Facebook. I don't think I have an aversion to tech. so much as a healthy skepticism, especially regarding content and quality. Why do I need a MP3 player when the sound quality is horrid and I'm paying for (or at the very least, reformatting into) something intangible (an audio file)? Is this really progress? I prefer my banjo to a lot of the latest-and-greatest tech I'm supposed to be buying (as you know from the other blog, I may not really be straight because I don't want to buy a 6-foot flat screen HD TV). So if I've blown my shot at hero-dom, so be it - GG hadn't even sent my swatches yet for my cape.

i never would have guessed "Worry the bottle" as the correct lyric!

Kathryn said...

Straight in Upstate: HA! Well, you've made me smile several times today, so your Hero-dom is hereby granted and upheld. Even if you DO still listen to those old vinyls! I can tell you I'm the only one in my circle who doesn't have satellite radio, but I DO have an iPod.

Yeah..."worry the bottle"...at least, that's what the first 2 sites I checked said...and one of them was supposedly the "Steely Dan" site. I've decided to sing "Hurry the bottle", 'cause it makes a hell of a lot more sense!

PS: Swatches are in the mail. How do you feel about a nice turquoise and umber mix? (HA! I don't even know what "umber" is!)

Straight in Upstate said...

Favorite line from The Incredibles: "
No more capes!!" If you haven't seen it, it's worth it.

Kathryn said...

Straight in Upstate: Now, how could I have missed such a classic? If it's ON DEMAND, I shall find it.

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