06 December 2014
I’m getting awfully tired of ads for phone companies, begging me to switch, hounding me to spend more money for their latest plan, month after month after month.
Frankly, I’m longing for the good old days, when all you could get from a phone company was an ugly black rotary phone. And by gawd, you were grateful for it too, because you had to sweat to get it.
Remember those days? You would move into a new apartment in November, and you would phone up some snotty service rep at Ma Bell, who would treat you as if you were some sort of macrobiotic slime culture. <Sniff – sorry! I’m becoming nostalgic.>
You: I’d like to get a phone as soon as possible, please.
Rep: Let me see…how about…say…July 2017? We can send a man out sometime between the 4th and the 28th. You’ll have to make sure that someone’s home every second.
You: Yes! Oh Yes! I’m so grateful. Thank you!
Rep: The colour will be black.
You: Great! Black is cool.
Rep: Okay, now we’ll need your first born as a deposit.
I really liked those old back dial phones. I mean, those phones had substance; they had weight. You could do a lot to them and they would bounce back. I remember once playing kickball in the hallway at university, and our team would have won, but the darn ball (phone) started ringing and some fool on the other team picked it up.
Try playing kickball with a smartphone. It ain’t so smart after a play or two.
Take my word for it: today’s flimsy phones are simply wuss. Not to mention, they are ruining crime fiction.
At this point, I know readers are going to say, ‘Of course they are ruining crime fiction! You can’t isolate your protagonist anymore.” And yes, this is a problem, unless your protagonist has the intelligence of a demented chipmonk and perpetually forgets to charge their phone just before the climax in every book you write (cliché alert).
But I’m thinking beyond the obvious here.
Think of how those old black phones had significance in old black and white movies. Remember Jimmy Stewart with the broken leg in Rear Window? Remember those desperate calls he made over the heavy 1950s telephone…would they really be as fear-inducing if he was using an iPhone with a ring tone of ‘La Bomba?’
I mean, really. How can you commit a really good murder with a receiver that weighs less than a padded bra? What are you supposed to do…stuff it down someone’s throat until they choke on it?
What’s more, who can get really excited about an obscene phone call made over a cellphone the size of a playing card? Come on now…do I really need to spell out the symbolism?
Melodie Campbell writes funny books, like the award-winning mob comedy, The Goddaughter’s Revenge. You can buy them in stores and online at all the usual sources.
22 November 2014
Apparently, the current hot project for Those Who Don’t Have Enough To Do At City Hall, is making our language completely gender-neutral. “Harbourmaster” is the latest word to fall under the gender axe. While I wouldn’t dream of suggesting “Harbour Mistress” (this is a family column) I am not so sure about HarbourPerson either.
No doubt about it, that man in “woman” has got to go. Probably the first place to be hit will be public washrooms. Better get used to “Persons” and WoPersons”.
If that isn’t confusing enough, imagine what is going to happen to all of our great tunes? Are we really going to be singing along to “Hey Mr/Ms Tambourine Person”? Frankly, “When a Person…loves a Person” just doesn’t do it for me. “I’m a Solitary Person” might squeak by, but “Pretty Person” doesn’t have a chance.
Not to mention the effect this will have on our great literature. Hemingway will have won the Pulitzer for “The Old Person and the Sea.” “Little Persons” will be read by persons of gender everywhere, and “The Person of LaMancha” may sweep Broadway. My own personal <sic> favourite has got to be Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Persons.”
All this could result in a new branch of philology, with its own name, of course – SEpersonTICS…and since my Canadian government is so insistent on being politically correct, surely Winnipeg deserves to reside in “Personitoba?”
You see, the problem is personifold. You can’t just draw the line here. ALL things must be included and made equal.
It’s simple, when you get the hang of it. Fireplaces will have persontels, the rich can live in personsions, and those of us with long fingernails can go for personicures. “Manuella” may not be too happy about becoming Personuella, but what the heck. We’ve got a persondate.
(This is a leash-free day, so go for it, and add your own gender-free word changes in the comments.)
When she is not cracking the whip as Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada, Melodie Campbell spends her time writing funny novels like The Artful Goddaughter, for Orca Books.