Say phone book a bunch of times and it really does seem like an unused word from the distant past.
This right here is a phone book. You might be too young to know what a phone book is. Along with landline telephones, dial-up internet, cassette players, CD players, CRT TVs, and dinosaurs, phone books became obsolete a few million years ago due to technological innovation. In the case of phone books it’s because of this certain thing you might’ve heard of called the internet. You see the internet is a place where computers and servers are connected and shit and this let’s you get information about anything you want. You want to order pizza? Internet. You want to watch porn? The internet excels at that. You want to have in-depth discussions involving people who share the same hobbies that you do? Internet. Want to read someone’s shitty blog? Internet. Book a vacation? Internet? Go to college? Internet. How about having lively political debates on Facebook that change people’s minds and improves the world? Nope. The internet can’t do that. Sorry.
I found this relic near the mailbox one day. It’s still there too. I might go out and take some more pictures but it’ll probably just sit on the curb and rot in a few months. It’ll serve as a lovely greenhouse for growing various molds in the spring and summer once it gets some water damage. Currently it’s covered by a layer of snow, buried under a glacier like it’s friend and kin the Woolly Mammoth. Sorry phone book, but you’re useless.
Before the internet there were books, big thick books, that had shit printed in them. They had maps and a bunch of phone numbers. The white pages were — you guessed it — white
and had people’s home phone numbers printed. You could seriously look up the last name of a girl you had a crush on, guess which address was hers, and mail her creepy letters, call her randomly, and even stalk her if you wanted. Another section of the book called the yellow pages (which were strangely blue…) had businesses arranged by what they did. If you needed to find someone to put a roof on your house you’d look under “roofing” and there would be a list of roofers. You could advertise your company and get a big gaudy ad that would make you more likely to be called. As a kid I thought lawyers, realtors, and car salesman always had the dumbest, gaudiest, and most obnoxious ads of all. Luckily that remains true to this day on TV with car salesman screaming NO MONEY DOWN NO INTEREST UNTIL 2020 IF YOU BUY A LEASED CHEVROLET SOCCER-MOM-WAGON-TANK TOOODAAAYYY. ACT NOWWWW. It’s like one of those old wrestling or monster truck commercials you’d hear on rock radio stations. Damn.
I’d also like to point out that I took these pictures from a phone book we had lying around the house because I couldn’t be bothered to carry the curbside one back to the house. It was still in its plastic bag. We’ve had it since May of 2016. The thing sat around for two years under some junk without being used or opened. At all.
The internet killed phone books off but like all organisms they’re trying their best to evolve under new natural selection pressure. They’ve gotten smaller and thinner, and the ink used doesn’t seem as colorful. Only the shittiest ads are now printed from the sleaziest lawyers and others who don’t realize that the internet is actually where people look for services if they’re under 90 years old. See this chump right here? Somehow he thinks he’s going to get business from his face being on the back of a phonebook. The only people that will see him are garbage men and recycling people but seeing as he’s an “injury lawyer” maybe that’s what he’s going for. Are they more susceptible to being injured than others? No one else will see him unless they are cleaning some random drawer in living room a few years from now when they clean shit out of it. Also on the front cover is a company advertising digital advertising. On a phone book. I don’t even know what to think about that. There sure is some dissonance going on.
It’s kind of sad to think about phone books even if they are as useful now as a triangular car tire, but they really were a thing. They were Google before Google existed. It’s even sadder to think that companies are still trying to be profitable with them. Why? Let them die off like the dodo, they’re not coming back barring a meltdown of society. Someone cuts trees down, turns them into paper, and prints them onto useless books. It’s almost like credit card offers where junk is sent to your house without you asking for it. It seems like such a waste for (I’m assuming) little benefit. It’s hard to say that phone books sucks because they’re more pathetic than anything. They are like a soon to be extinct animal that just couldn’t make it in the new world. They’re not mean or malicious. They’re just sad and pitiful.
And then I stop personifying or animalifying them or whatever and realize they’re damn phone books. Quit dropping them off at my house. I’m going to let it sit and rot and I’m never going to use it. Phone books Suck.
(It was after writing all of this that I noticed this little thing on the cover: you can opt out of receiving the damn things! You know what I’m going to do right now…)