Party lines to mobiles, the little devils track us

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

Howdy, friends!

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I turned 60 years old on February 20th.  The big 6-0. If I knew I would have lived this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.

Of all the changes I’ve witnessed the past 60 years, in my opinion, the telephone has got to be in the Top 5.

I remember when we got our first phone at home. It was a little black thing screwed to the kitchen wall with a short cord and we as kids were not allowed to touch it unless there was a grandparent on the other end wanting to speak to one of us.

We were not on a party line, but a lot of folks were. Can you imagine a neighbor down the street being able to listen in on your calls? 

Well, that’s the way it was back then and when you heard that distinctive click you knew your conversation was being spied on.

My Grandmother Darby was on a party line on Pope-Crowder Road back in the day. Three short rings were her cue that someone was calling her. It’s crazy to even think about it in today’s world but that’s the way it was.

As we two boys turned teenagers that kitchen phone became more important to us simply because we were teenage boys talking to teenage girls.

By that time we had a second phone and I enjoyed aggravating my brother when I tried to listen in on his lover phone calls. Got myself roughed up a few times for doing it, too.

As times changed, so did phones. They went from the long tangled cord versions to the cordless ones with the little antenna and it worked well as long as you remained at a proper distance from the base. We still use those today at the shop.

Then came the portable bag phones that resembled an elder lady’s purse crammed with the Good Lord only knows. You had to be careful who you called because you didn’t need a blabber on your dollar a minute bag phone. They didn’t last long.

Then came the cellphone. Most of us had a little Nokia that worked fairly well as far as phone calls were concerned but quickly were outdated as soon as text messaging came along, then most of us moved to Blackberry and that was as backwards as any phone ever invented.

Now most of us have I-Phones. Little computers we can use to do most anything. Watch TV, a ballgame or even a movie. But it all comes at a price because that little devil is tracking our every move. It even knows what we want to buy before we do.

I constantly try to turn off all the ways it tracks me but as soon as I do another update comes along and it’s all back to square one.

At least with the old party line you could hear that click when someone is listening in. Now the powers that be can listen in whenever they want to, click free.

Kind of spooky ain’t it? Just something to think about.

Take care of yourself folks and shut down that phone every now and then when you can.