May 29, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I don’t think most of my younger siblings have home phones.

Sure, most of them are still in the apartment phase. But for instance, I have a brother who just bought a home, but he doesn’t have a home phone. If we want to talk, he has a cell phone that’s always on him, his wife has a phone that’s always on her and their 1-year-old… is usually unreachable, actually. But we don’t generally need him in emergencies.

And they’re not alone. Approximately 50% of families in the U.S. don’t have home phones at this point, nebech.

So there’s a pretty good chance that you, personally, are wondering, “Should I get rid of my landline?” Or, “Should I have gotten rid of my landline?”

My wife and I still have a landline. We use it to find our cell phones. How do you even find your cell phone if that’s all you have?

I guess that’s why you get married.

In fact, to me, this question is a lot like saying, “Everyone in the family has a car, so why do we need a house?”

Though it’s not. You’re not having a family get-together in your car. So maybe it’s more like the time I was wondering if it would be financially worth it to get a motorcycle instead of a second car. It costs less, uses less gas and traffic is apparently never an issue. We all assume that bikers are scary people, but maybe they’re just financially sensible individuals who happen not to have to wear business suits on their commute. My point is, why have one group car that the whole family has to share? Why not get everyone motorcycles?

Sure, cell phones are more convenient. For example, one downside to home phones is that you can’t bring them with you wherever you go. Well, technically you can, but it’s not going to help you as much, except as a weapon.

On the other hand, cell phones have worse sound quality, though that doesn’t seem to bother the people who exclusively use cell phones. They’re happy t******ou while you’re ******ther word, and you have no idea what the****** are saying, but they don’t seem to notice, except oops, they have to go because their wife is *******, and their battery is about to—.

Which is one of the downsides of cell phones—that when you are home, you have to charge it, and it’s only in one place in the house, and if you want to use it, you’re tied to a wall. Like an old-timey phone.

Whereas when I’m home, which is almost always, I don’t have to have my phone on me, because I have cordless phones scattered all over the house in strategic locations, such as under the couch. That way, if I’m ever cleaning under the couch and the phone rings, I’m right there.

Also, speaking of convenience, if your cell phone doesn’t work, you have to take it to the store. Whereas with a home phone, they actually come to your house, which is awesome. They will come between the hours of 9 and 8, on Tuesday.

“This Tuesday?”

“We don’t know. We just know it’ll be a Tuesday.”

I know this because every single time we call the phone company, they send someone over to fix our phone line. We did it four times this month! You can’t put a price on convenience like that.

But home phones have other benefits, such as that you have a phone number that you’re actually willing to give out. Sure, I could give out my cell phone number, but I don’t want everyone in the world to be able to reach me when I’m out. When I’m out is not a good time. I’m out.

But people who only have cell phones say that that this is why they like it—because they’re unlisted.

“I don’t want random people finding my number and calling me.”

Yeah, like your kids’ friends.

And speaking of kids, my kids’ school forms specifically ask for a home phone number. They want to know that when they call you to pick up your kid in the middle of the day because he ran into a wall during recess, or during class time, you can’t say, “Sorry, I’m at work. Can’t I just pick him up at dismissal in 15 minutes?”

They want to be able to say, “No, you’re home. We called your home phone.”

“Oh, I brought it with me. I have a mobile home.”

And anyway, sometimes people don’t want to call a specific person in your house, they want to call your house in general.

“Hey, is anyone home right now? I don’t care who. I need to borrow a cup of sugar.”

“Why are you eating that much sugar?”

“Okay, is your mommy home?”

Because if all we have is cell phones, there’s no such thing as having your kids screen calls for you. When I was growing up, that’s how we learned to take messages:

Caller: “Hello, can I speak to your father?”

Child: “He’s on the toilet.”

Father (in the background): “Don’t say that! Tell them I’m not available!”

And taking messages is an essential skill to teach your kids for when they enter the workforce.

“Sorry my boss can’t come to the phone. He’s on the toilet.”

So even though most of the people I know that don’t have home phones keep insisting that it’s a generational thing, I think it’s a stage-of-life thing. And they’ll get there. When they get to a point where they’re both out and they want to call the kids and they realize the kids don’t have a phone, then they’ll say, “You know what? We should get a separate cell phone just to keep at home!”

That’s definitely how they’ll phrase it.

By Mordechai Schmutter


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has six books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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