The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Call me when you sit down

Have you been "butt dialed?" You know, maybe instinctively, what that is. It is a situation that was impossible a few decades ago. Maybe even ten years ago. It required technological advances in telecommunications. We never consider the consequences of those advances, do we?

Even though we call it "butt dialing", that isn't really what happens. Your butt cannot actually dial a phone, no matter how "smart" your phone is. I would bet you don't ever carry your phone in your back pocket either. I don't. I no longer even carry a wallet there. I got tired of sitting on it. The wallet, that is.

I stopped carrying a wallet a couple of years ago when my sister-in-law gave me one of those large money/credit card clips. When I was 18, I put my wallet in the glove compartment of my car and left it there. I only needed it to carry my license anyway, I carried what little cash I had in my right front pocket. Still do. I would never even think of putting a cell phone in one of my back pockets. I would guess no one would. You'd sit on it and break it!

Therefore, a "butt dial" is not really what happens but it is an amusing term. What really happens (and I am guessing here because it is impossible for me to do with my cell phone) is that it is a shirt pocket, a purse, or a front pocket near or next to something the owner wants. As the person gropes around for whatever it is, his hand, fingers, maybe knuckles, come in contact with the cell phone and trigger an auto dial.

It is an amazing thing. I got a "butt dialed" call the other day from a friend whom I had just given my new phone number to. We had spent more than a couple of minutes trying to figure out how to get to his "contacts" page so we could put the phone number in. There's no shortcut to dial a number. It is several key presses on just about every phone I have ever seen.

Being the recipient of one of these calls is frustrating. You answer your phone, you hear voices in the background. The "caller" is talking to someone else. You shout into the phone, perhaps (I do), trying to get the caller's attention. But he can't hear you because of the noise around him and because that phone is in his pocket. And who listens to talking pockets? Even in my most drunken state, my most blitzed out stoned condition and hallucinating, I never once acknowledged a talking pocket.

Can you imagine chatting with someone and saying, "Just a minute, I have to answer my pocket."

The reason I can take that superior position and say I won't make one of these calls is simple, I prefer flip phones. There is no way I can accidentally hit any buttons no matter where I put my phone.

You already know, if you are a regular reader of this blog or know me personally, that I am not a fan of cell phones. I grew up before even cordless phones existed. Our first phone was a party line and had no dial or buttons. Touchtone was still years away. You would pick up the handset (which weighed a couple of pounds, I think) and a voice would ask "Number please?" There were no auto dialers, no answering machines, no voice mail, no voice menus, and probably no hold buttons on most business phones. These all came later. Phones were hard-wired to a small gray box on your wall down near the baseboard. You had one phone in your house unless you were rich. Who needed more than one phone?

People would leave their houses and go shopping or to work and no one could reach them easily for hours at a time. Phone calls were special things. People would run to answer a ringing phone.

And now? Now we "butt dial."


Steven Scott said...

I keep my phone in my back pocket when wearing jeans - it's the only place it'll fit in some jeans, and i have keys / other scratchy things in front pockets even when it will fit. It becomes second nature to pull it out before sitting down...for me, my girlfriend sits on hers all the time.
Does butt-dialing happen much anymore? I think it's a byproduct of when phones actually had keys and rockers and directional pads and whatnot :) I know it was easy to do on the old nokia candybar phones - from the homescreen, hitting Up on the d-pad was a shortcut to contacts, and maybe down was last-dialed contacts or something of the hitting up once or twice on accident and then hitting the Call button (also a relic with today's touchscreens) was pretty easy.

i'm probably coming from a different point of view since all of my friends and coworkers (and even mother, now!) have smartphones that generally lack a bunch of hardware buttons.

Douglas4517 said...

Disqus generic email templateDo not trust those "soft" buttons. That "butt call" I received the other day was from a "smart" phone with no buttons on the face. It was really weird because we had a heck of a time just finding the contacts "page", it kept reverting to his golf GPS app.