Obviously I made prank calls as a tween. My diverse repertoire ranged from the gold standard “is your refrigerator running?” to the slightly more racy call to a bowling center about 10-pound balls. Overall they were really very innocent, barely entertaining and undeniably forgettable, except for one.
I have never forgotten the first time my junior high BFF and I dialed and random number and heard the disappointing click of an answering machine on the other end. Normally, we would have hung up, and targeted any other number without the famous 555 prefix then reserved for the silver screen. But as I went to disconnect and heard the recorded “I am not in my car right now”, my jaw dropped.
When I envisioned this dude rolling with a pre-voicemail, tape-loaded answering machine in his car, it seemed so excessive… so deserving of a prank… or just a nasty message from bored and obnoxious teenagers. So we began to rant about all the starving children in Africa, and likely ended with “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?”
Now, I was a very fortunate child growing up. My father drove a beautiful car at the time, equipped with a mobile phone the size of Kobe Bryant’s kicks. It was built into the center console, had a thick cord, and made my dad super-cool. Like this.
Hold up. I do have a point here other than that I was not born to be the next Weird Al Yankovic.
I used to think that the newest technologies were only for the rich, but that isn’t always the case anymore. Gone are the days when I frown upon a parent giving their young child a cell phone, or a car that they couldn't afford with babysitting money. Sure, some lines in there are fuzzier than a television with bunny ears, but the picture is still clear. I want to arm my children with every chance they have to stay safe in this incredibly dangerous world.
I’ve already shared how the film Spring Breakers turned me into an insomniac. Next up was Disconnect which despite being an impeccable film rid me of any doubt that parenting is more f’ing terrifying than ever.
Anyone can be one Facebook post away from feeling suicidal… One dangerous date away from the unimaginable… One trip to the mall away from ending up on a milk carton… One Reese Witherspoon buzz away from an airbag… Or one 911 call away from the last digits they’ll ever dial.
For now, I'm just trying to get my 5 year old to memorize my number.