There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding a fairly ubiquitous piece of technology called a telephone. They have keypads on them, or if you’re not stuck in 2007, a touchscreen. Well, those are for the fancy mobile ones. These devices are more than just phones, but that specific feature has somehow led to a slow unraveling of our societal structure continuum thingy. Some people think we need to get back to our archaic roots and talk on the phone more often.
Should we also send more telegrams?
Should I buy a carrier pigeon, too?
Look, I’m not against phones. I have one. I even use it sometimes. So let’s get that straight. I’m not anti-phone. But I do want to clear up any confusion this telephone feature on the new pocket computers may have caused. To start, you’ve probably been using it wrong all this time. You see, that feature isn’t for calling me. It’s for calling other things, like damn 911, or to order pizza, or to schedule an appointment for an STD test. Chances are, if you’re calling me, you fucked up somewhere. Because some people simply cannot understand that concept, what follows is a more detailed explanation of this policy. If you have any questions, feel free to not call me.
1. DO NOT CALL IF YOU HAVE NOTHING IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS
I do not want to talk on the phone with you unless it’s important. What this means is, you should only be delivering information or trying to receive it. If your situation meets this criteria, state your purpose quickly and succinctly. Do not try to chit-chat with me over the phone unless you’re my mom. She has a permit for that. You don’t. I would know because I’m the only one who issues them. They cost $400, though, so let me know if you want one. If you want to talk to someone just for the hell of it, call a cab or a hooker. Cab drivers love that kind of thing, and hookers will gladly take your money without having to deal with your genitals.
2. DO NOT CALL IF YOU CAN JUST AS EASILY TEXT
When you call me, you are making the assumption that your time is more important than mine. How do I know this? Because you clearly expect me to stop whatever I’m doing to attend to your needs. Your time is more important than mine? This could not be further from the truth. I could be working out the cure for damn Ebola. I could be writing my dissertation. I could be watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Highway to Heaven. You don’t know. But by answering the phone, I am taking a gamble that whatever you have to say
- cannot wait until we are more available to address the interaction
- is even remotely important
- is not going to turn into an hour-long carnival of banality where you constantly veer off-topic into a wall of impenetrable sadness
- is more interesting than Michael Landon playing an angel who solves people’s problems and likes to disappear and reappear behind people to prove that he’s an actual angel
By calling me, you are interrupting my shit. That’s basically like walking up in the middle of whatever I’m doing and saying, “Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Can we talk? Right now? Yeah. Right now. Hey. Hey.” And I’m rude for not wanting to answer the phone? It is always preferable to text me over calling. If your message is too long to text, consider sending it as an email. I don’t care if you “crave human interaction” or “don’t like how texting is so impersonal” or “prefer to talk like people used to do when things weren’t a dystopian hellscape.”
3. DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE OR TEXT THAT JUST SAYS “CALL ME”
If you read #2, you understand the significant risk involved in answering the phone. It’s basically on par with the risk you take from licking a hooker on the asshole.
You’re probably not more interesting than writing a dissertation. Not many people are, so don’t beat yourself up over it.
This is why I never answer the phone. I let it go to voicemail. That way, whoever calls can state the purpose of the call so I can determine whether or not it is worth my time to call back (whenever I feel like doing that). If the caller doesn’t leave a message, it is obviously not that important. If you want a call-back, you must state your case as to why you think your call or text warrants one. Do not just ask me to call you back without any other information. I will just assume you think I won’t want to call you, and you’d be right, so your attempt at tricking me into thinking it’s important won’t work. And no, “CALL ME ITS IMPORTANT” won’t work either.
4. FOR LONG CONVERSATIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, USE EMAIL
If you have an issue you wish to discuss at length with me, send me an email. There is a record of the conversation and, more importantly, I don’t have to talk to you. You can even revise your email over time so as to make it more amazing and succinct. You can attach pictures. You can have a really long signature nobody is ever going to read. What’s important is that your email will wait for me. I can get to the email when it’s convenient. If you’re a real psychopath you can even attach a read receipt. That’s to let you know that I’ve read it so you can shame me in case I don’t reply in accordance with your expectations. So email is superior to telephone. By calling me for something that is clearly too long to handle via text, you also assume that I will remember everything we talked about. I can assure you, I will not. I don’t remember anything. My brain is like an old septic tank that’s starting to rust. The shit just leaks out.
5. IF YOU ARE A BILL COLLECTOR OR WHATEVER, JUST ASSUME I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY
I will just tell you I don’t have it, even if I do. Talking about it won’t change that story, unless you’re selling Girl Scout cookies or subscriptions to Dairy Goat Journal.
6. IF SOMEONE HAS DIED, WELL, YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND CALL ME IF SOMEONE HAS DIED
I don’t know why this is included here. This falls under number one above. But make sure it’s someone I actually know. Don’t call me because you just saw on Twitter that Michael Jackson is no longer with us. I don’t care about any celebrity enough to want the information outside of social media or news. Except for Patrick Swayze. He’s the only one exempt from this stipulation, but since he’s already dead I guess it doesn’t really matter.
7. I HAVE SHITTY HEARING
This is something I like to tell people when I don’t want to talk to them. “I can’t hear right since the war.” I’m telling you this now. It’s better to not call. I probably won’t hear everything you’re saying. You know, because of the war.
8. I DON’T WANT TO TALK ON THE PHONE
I’m not an introvert. I’m not uncomfortable with human interaction. I’m not bad at communication. I’m not a millennial who is suffering from an over-reliance on technology. I was born in the ’70s. I don’t mind talking to people. I just don’t like doing it on the phone. And that, really, is the only reason I need to give you. I don’t want to talk on the phone. So please. Don’t call.