Every six months in Phoenix, we have these stealthy-like people who swarm through our neighborhoods delivering phonebooks. They’re as quiet as those translucent moths that glow in the dark. I couldn’t tell you if they were young or old, drive trucks or vans, or prefer their martinis shaken or stirred, but when they’ve grown tired of delivering phonebooks, every single one of them should definitely consider careers as spies or double agents.
That’s because, I swear, you never see them. Not completely, anyway. You’ll just catch glimpses or echoes. They make 007 look like a punch-drunk elephant. And they deliver about 100 pounds of shiny phonebooks to everyone’s doorsteps before you even know what’s happening. These people are amazing.
But what’s not amazing are the truckloads of phone books left on my doorstep that I don’t need and never ordered. Sadly, the phone company hasn’t heard yet that Al Gore discovered the Internet. Who the heck uses a phonebook anymore? It’s like asking who still uses a typewriter?
Never mind the phonebookmisitosis. Phonebookmisitosis is the fear of being suffocated by too many phonebooks. I definitely count myself as a sufferer. There’s no pill yet to alleviate the pain, although I hear the pharmaceutical companies are looking into it. I’ve had to hoist so many dang phone books into my blue recycle bin that I’ve lost count but I bet I’ve lifted a few thousand pounds over the years.
And the phonebooks come in a variety of versions: White pages, Blue pages, Yellow Pages, A-M, N-Z. There are about 16 different ways to find the same phone number that has most assuredly been disconnected by the time the book gets published. They’re also thick as tree trunks and heavy as beer kegs. And there’s always some disturbing photograph of a personal injury attorney plastered on the back cover over a clever phone number like 1-800-SUE-EVERYBODY.
The phonebook has gone the way of the abacus but somehow the phone companies haven’t figured that out yet. And don’t bother to complain to them either. I’ve tried. You get the pleasure of leaving a message on someone’s voicemail who translates their name and job title into about 26 different languages. Leaving messages doesn’t stop them. It might make it worse.
Because they keep coming.
I always think that maybe the next time I’ll catch the guy and tell him what he can do with his phonebooks.
::Writer X also writes at The 100 Most Annoying Things::