Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

It’s 3 AM

It’s 3 AM. Do you know where your telephone is? Darned if I do. So I was deeply relieved recently to see that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were running dueling commercials about who is better suited to be President when the phone rings at that ungodly hour with news of a terror attack or possibly an earth-shaking Brangelina update. And you should be relieved as well. Because no matter who you think would make a better president, it is good to know the leader of the free world will apparently be answering an old-fashioned, corded telephone.

Both candidates’ commercials featured the same ominously ringing phone, the same innocently sleeping children, even the same introduction: “It’s 3 AM, and your children are safe and asleep.” Being a mom, my first thought upon watching those red-phone ads was “Why doesn’t someone answer that dad gum thing before it wakes up the kids?”

But after that, I noticed something in Senator Clinton’s commercial. Actually, I noticed a couple of things. First, when we see her reassuringly answering that crisis call, she looks really good. She’s wearing a smartly tailored, camel-colored jacket and gold necklace. Her hair is nicely coiffed, and her makeup appears freshly applied. Any woman who can answer a middle-of-the-night emergency looking that put-together is a force to be reckoned with.

The other thing I noticed is that the perfectly composed, potential Commander in Chief was speaking on a strange-looking device with a cord attached to it that my children probably wouldn’t recognize as a telephone. I had to look at it twice myself before I remembered what it was. We haven’t had a corded phone in our house since before the first season of American Idol (gasp!), a time roughly equivalent in my kids’ minds to the Paleolithic Era.

I really miss that old dinosaur phone with the coiled tail. Back in the day, as my son says, one of life’s little pleasures was being able to slam down a telephone on annoying callers. Now, with the rise of cordless phones, the best you can do is ferociously poke the Off button – or, if money is no object, throw the receiver into a wall. That is, of course, if you can find the receiver. The stupid, tailless things are always missing in action. Despite having three of them in our house, when the base rings with an incoming call, not a single receiver necessary to answer that call can be found.

“The phone’s ringing!” I yell the obvious to my seemingly oblivious family. “Where’s the phone this time?”

My children will simply point accusingly at each other as if they are identifying a murderer in a courtroom, then go back to whatever they were doing. I will scramble madly around, upturning couch cushions, checking under furniture, peeking into the refrigerator. (I actually found it there once.) By this time, naturally, the answering machine will have picked up the call, which is just as well. I’m too exhausted at that point to actually hold a conversation anyway.

I’ve found phones under pillows, in bathrooms, on top of the hamster cage, even out in the back yard. I frequently find them in clusters, lying next to each (usually tangled in my daughter’s bedspread) as if for protection. One of the phones, the one grabbed by a kid with peanut butter all over his hands, has a shiny, well-worn appearance after being vigorously licked clean by our considerate dog.

I’ve decided the solution is to return to the good old days, when the only phones were those black, 10-pound behemoths with the industrial cables connecting the receiver to the base. The kind of phone you would never find in someone’s sock drawer. The kind of phone that can handle an apocalyptic, late-night call in the White House, no matter who will be answering that call.

~  © Jackie Papandrew 2008 ~

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2008, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]


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