I came across an old telephone in the basement today. I kept it in a box along with a few Squeeze albums, my first cell phone and a well-worn cassette Walkman. It was a poor man’s time capsule meant to surprise my students one day with how primitive life was before Beyonce.
The phone was the standard, molded-plastic tank dominating tabletops across America in the early ’80s. Some of my fancier friends had phones shaped like Mickey Mouse or replica footballs if they signed up for a subscription to Sports Illustrated. Not my family. The closest our phone got to fashion was the faded orange sticker listing the numbers to call in case of emergency. It was, however, adorned with buttons instead of the rotary dial, easily the biggest time saver since the bagel slicer. Along with our Atari console and a monstrous microwave oven, it was proof we were entering a New Technological Age.