Out of Line

Neil Offen

HELP! I CAN’T REMEMBER MY PASSWORDS

By Neil Offen

After many years of faithful service, I recently got rid of my landline, which — as you may remember — we used to just call a line because it was the only line we had and so didn’t require a first name.

I immediately regretted the decision. There are, I have discovered, good reasons to hold on to yesterday’s gizmos, even a few of yesterday’s doo-hickeys and that occasional whatchamacallit. (Which is why, parenthetically, I still have a VCR and audio cassettes and a subscription to a print newspaper and a car that you actually unlock with an actual key.)

It’s quite rare to accidentally leave a landline on the hood of your car and then drive out of the grocery store parking lot. It can be done, but the handset of the landline would probably immediately get caught in your windshield wipers. Best then to only use them on intermittent.

You don’t occasionally use earbuds with a landline. No need to twirl them around your ears until they are finally tight and in place, just in time for them to fall out when you are ordering pizza and the pizza guy is going over your credit card number.

You also aren’t tempted to use noise-canceling headphones with your landline if your hearing is already so diminished it is already canceling all noise.

With a landline, you won’t waste hours mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, lurking on Twitter or Googling best prices for bed linens. You can put those hours to better use by getting out your tablet or laptop and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, lurking on Twitter or Googling best prices for bed linens.

You don’t have to worry about being seen in your jammies when you are landlining and not Zooming, Facetiming or Skyping. This is particularly important if your jammies have cartoon characters on them.

With a landline, you never forget which pocket you’ve put the phone into. Unless, of course, you’re wearing cargo pants and have no idea where you’ve put anything.

Since you can’t do Zoom or Facetime or Skype on a landline, your boss or your cousin in Cincinnati won’t know if you’re making the call from the bathroom (although it’s important in any case not to flush when you’re talking).

You don’t ever have to charge your landline. Which means you don’t have to rustle around in the desk drawer trying to figure out if you need the white charging cable with the wide prong or the black charging cable with the small prong. And you don’t have to admit you don’t know what the real word is for that thing you’ve just called a prong.

There’s no touch screen on a landline. That means no sticky fingerprints on the touchscreen after you’ve been eating apricot jam and then trying, unsuccessfully, to spend hours mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, lurking on Twitter or Googling best prices for bed linens.


Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column will appear twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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1 Comment on "Out of Line"

  1. Without a land line, how are you going to find where you put down your cell phone?

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