Pay Phones

My parents lived less than 50 yards from McKay Dee Hospital. As a young boy, this provided a number of benefits. If I could convince my mom to give me 75 cents, I could buy a Ramlin Root Beer and a package of raspberry and coconut Zingers.

The other benefit came in the form of crank calling the bank of pay phones located just inside the hospital’s main entrance. I’d memorize the four phone numbers and use one phone to call the others. Passersby would tire of the ringing and take the bait. Seldom did I have much of a conversation with the pranked because my laughter would blow my cover. booth

It was all fun and games until a nurse or janitor called security. I can’t imagine how many times a uniformed security guard chased me down those carpeted hallways on my skateboard. No way does a middle aged, out-of-shape security guard catch a 12-year old mischief maker.

These were a few of my thoughts as we came across this working phone booth at Westport Marina this afternoon. My kids didn’t know what to make of it. They stared at it for a few minutes before going inside.

“Dad, why does the phone say 75 cents?”

“Because that’s what it costs if you want to make a call.”

“Why would someone pay to use a phone? And why’s the phone connected to a cord?”

Sadly, I was unable to find a number associated to this phone or I would have tried calling it from my iPhone. I considered telling my children about my past pay phone exploits. Explain why security chased me from the building.

But they will find out about my misspent youth soon enough.

I wonder what my son will do with his spare time when he turns 12 in a few years? Crank calling pay phones won’t be an option and that makes me sad.

Good thing I’m not out of bad examples to teach him.

Comments

  1. I was not much of a prankster at that age. Parents were not the type to find this the least bit funny.

    Regardless of that, I miss the pay phone booth as well. As a kid those were commonly at gas stations, convenience marts and more. Now a cell phone has become a mandatory accessory.

    Sigh. It's a transition into a new age.

  2. Tojosan, my parents wouldn't have liked the phone pranks either, but we could have done a lot worse. The pay phone is now a symbol for Superman and drug dealers.

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