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Tale of Two Answering Machines

Tale of Two Answering Machines (Photo credit: Earthworm)

… if I don’t want to show my age.

And why did this come up today?

Earlier in the day when I was out, I got a call from a friend … a definitely non-tech-savvy friend. No computers, no Internet, no DVR … nothing.

And her message went something like this, as it always does:

“Hello? Holly? (pause) Are you there? (another pause) Come on, just pick up the phone. (pause, pause) I know you are screening your calls. OK, just call me some time.”

And when I returned her call, I got a recording. Now the thing is … she has an answering machine.

The old-fashioned kind.

That answers when you are out.

But when she is on the other line, her phone service supplier automatically switches her over to Voicemail … which she never checks.

Because it’s too complicated.

And no matter how many times I explain it … or that fact that I have it for all my calls … that never stops her from leaving a message assuming I have a box which I can hear in the background of my life here.

And I realized the term “answering machine” is now an obsolete term … more or less. Even though many folks still have and use them.

Mostly older folks. Like me.

Hey, 60 qualifies as older in the thoughts of all 20 or 30 year olds.

So my mind wandered to the other technical terms that I dare not use for fear of getting odd looks from younger people. So I have made a list here in case you want to tell some older person to … you know … save face or something. Or you could show it to some younger person … to explain the olden days.

Samsung eBook Reader with a paperback book

Samsung eBook Reader with a paperback book (Photo credit: umpcportal.com)

Book – These were old constructions of paper and words. You had to physically hold the thing open and move the thin slips of paper, called pages, from side to side to display more words. Kind of like a Nook or Kindle, but far more cumbersome.

Mail / Letter – In olden days, people would take a piece of paper and a pen or pencil … and make marks on it … sometimes curly marks … called cursive writing. It had nothing to do with cursing. Well, not usually.

Then the paper … called a letter … was placed in another piece of folded paper … called an envelope … and was given to a person … called a letter carrier or mailman … who would eventually get the letter to another person.

Most of the time it was the person you intended to get the letter.

Cell Phone – This was a device that could only do one thing. Connect you … with voice only … to another person. No keypad. No apps. No text. No online anything.

Beeper – Before there were cell phones, there were even more limited items called Beepers. They did nothing … except beep … and show the number the other person had typed in. Not even Caller ID.

Old Telephones and assorted equipment

Old Telephones and assorted equipment (Photo credit: sgroi)

Telephone – In the olden days there were these things called Telephones which were on a table in the hall of a house. Occasionally there was one on the kitchen wall with a long long cord between the speaking/hearing part and the base unit. There was this round rotating plate called a dial with holes in it to “dial” the number you wanted to reach.

Land-Line / Home Phone / Long Distance Call – When using the Telephone (see above) a house would have a physical wire running to the house for the phone … hence House Phone. Since the wires ran across tall poles down the street over land this was called a Land Line.

In order to call across the land far away you made a Long Distance Call … and paid extra. Sometimes several houses shared the same phone number. This was called a Party Line, and didn’t usually have anything to do with a Party of any kind.

Captain Ramey (Forest Whitaker) outside the bo...

Captain Ramey (Forest Whitaker) outside the booth negotiating with Stu (Colin Farrell). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Phone Booth – For people who needed to make calls outside of home or office, various public phones were placed … for a fee … in public places. Sometimes these were in a large box you could stand inside.

In older days, these were used primarily by Super-Heroes. More recently they were used by Drug Dealers.

There are other words that you will want to shy away from as well. Like VCR, Diskette and PDA … which does not stand for Public Displays of Affection.

Television set for Wikipedia userbox icons, or...

Television set for Wikipedia userbox icons, or other things. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why, I even remember when the Channel Changer on a Television Set consisted of my brother or I jumping up … we both were able to jump back then … and go over to the Television Set to rotate a dial to one of the other three stations available.

Oh, and we didn’t have to pay for any of it.

But the one I like the best … the one that I actually didn’t know for a while … is Weblog.

As in Web Log

As in a Log of things on the Web.

As in … Blog.

As in … this.