Ten Things Not to Do at the First Telephone Call in 1876

Top ten not to do.

 

This post continues the Top Ten Things Not to Do with a historical background. Yesterday marked the anniversary of the first telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. He famously said, “Watson, come here. I need you” to his assistant Thomas Watson. If you happen to have a time machine and can get there, take this list and maybe you can stay out of trouble.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the first Telephone Call by John W. Howell ©2019

10 If you are at the first phone call, do not talk and laugh while Alexander is on the phone. If you do, at best you will be sushed. At worst, you will be sent to your room without dinner. (Why is it when someone gets on the phone you feel ignored, Gunner. Don’t worry the call only took two seconds.)

9 If you are at the first phone call, do not cut in the waiting line to make a call in front of Tiny the WWF champ. If you do, at best Tiny will ask you to leave. At worst, Tiny who just finished his assertive class will palm your head as if it were a basketball. (You know what will come next, Garfield. It’s that melon squeeze thing he made famous at the circus.)

8 If you are at the first phone call, do not ask Alexander if he has thought of Caller ID. If you do, at best he will give you a funny look. At worst, he will ask you to explain how it works. (Go ahead, Gifford. Tell Alexander Graham Bell exactly how Caller ID functions. Cat got your tongue?)

7 If you are at the first phone call, do not try to talk your way into an operator’s job. If you do, at best you will be ignored. At worst, Tom Watson will think you are taking his role. (Looks like old Tom has a pretty mean uppercut, Gregorie. Best not fool with him.)

6 If you are at the first phone call, do not try to call Alexander collect. If you do, at best he will think it’s a joke. At worst, he will block your number. (Now look what you’ve done Galin. Your phone number has been blocked for all eternity, and you have probably caused a rip in the time continuum.)

5 If you are at the first phone call, do not tell Alexander that he has won an all expense paid cruise. If you do, at best he will hang up. At worst, he will force you to make good on the offer. (So much for starting the first phone scam, Granger.)

4 If you are at the first phone call, do not try to phone prank, Alexander. If you do, at best he won’t bite. At worst, he knows where you live and has friends on the police force. (So much for the Prince Albert in a can joke, Gaagii. He was on to you immediately when he realized Prince Albert tobacco wasn’t available yet.) For the youthful readers, Prince Albert tobacco came in a can. The joke was to call a tobacco shop and ask, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then the jokester would say, “Please let the poor fellow out.” Then the jokester and his buddies would fall about the place laughing.)

3 If you are at the first phone call, do not answer a call from Alexander on a speakerphone. If you do, at best he might disconnect. At worst, he will use his air horn to clear the line. (How is that hearing test coming along, Gabie. That horn had some decibel range huh?)

2 If you are at the first phone call, do not shout into the receiver. If you do, at best no one will be there. At worst the caller will think you are hard of hearing and You’ll end up in a shouting match. (That was a fun call, Gadi. Now go get a Ricola for that hoarse throat.)

1 If you are at the first phone call, do not think Alexander Graham Bell is a telemarketer. If you do, at best you won’t hang up. At worst, you will disconnect from a very historic call. (You could have been written into history, Gaillard. Instead, you are being cursed by Alex himself.)

44 comments

  1. All great tips. Can people still call collect these days?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question. Yes, You dial 1-800-COLLECT and pay a fortune for the call.

      Like

      1. Surprised that’s still a thing in the age of cellphones.

        Like

  2. 0. If you are at the first phone call, do not put Alexander on hold, only to have a senior moment…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha ha ha. Good one. Maybe someone did and he invented hold music. 😄

      Like

  3. I like the idea of trying to call him collect. The first words spoken on that line would have been, if nothing else, unique!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure, GP. 🤬

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another great list, John.
    Re the Prince Albert in the can made me think of the concerning having Robin Hood flour by the bag…😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha haha. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder what Alexander would think about emoji’s being an acceptable form of conversation on your phone.

    Love your lists, Boss.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Marc. I think Alex rolls over a couple of times a day. 📞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL, you’re probably right about that!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good tips here, John. I’d probably try a prank…just for fun. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. (obviously) Thanks, Jill.😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. IF only poor Alex could see what’s become of his invention. I vote for Tiny to take over enforcement of the Do No Call list. I bet he could set things straight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He would be very busy these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Like Dan, I wonder what Alexander would think if he could see phones today.

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  9. Caller ID and telemarketer. Hilarious, John!

    Like

  10. I wonder if he would sell me, say $10 worth of stock. From 1876 to now it could increase in value.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rumor has it that the first telephone call went like this:

    “Hi, this is Judy, you recently stayed at one of our timeshares!”

    To which Alexander Graham Bell responded by slamming down the receiver.

    Like

  12. If you are at the first phone call, do not ask the operator to reverse the charges so that Alexander ends up paying for the call. I wonder if you can still reverse the charges these days, John? I can remember doing it a lot in my days of staying out late and phoning my parents for their taxi service.

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  13. This is a fun one. I would also suggest not to try leaving a message or texting.

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  14. D.L Finn, Author · · Reply

    Great list. Now you have me thinking of prank calls. Is your fridge running…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great list, John. I also think it would be a good idea to have Tiny in charge of the Do Not Call list. Do you remember party lines? My family’s first phone was on a party line. The weird part about that was I didn’t even know the lady that shared our line … except she was mean, even to my mom. Sigh. I kind of miss those days. These days I spend more time blocking calls than I do taking them 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe the number of calls I get.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. In number seven, since the first telephone operator came to work in 1878, the time traveler would be told to come back in a couple of years. For some reason, they first hired rude teenage boys. That was probably because they paid so little. Then it was women. Again, probably because they paid so little. A good list, John. 😦 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice history lesson, Suzanne. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this great post from John Howell’s Fiction Favorites blog with the Top Ten Things Not to Do at the first Telephone Call by John W. Howell

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Don. So nice. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Haha, John, very good indeed. I liked the can joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Robbie. We actually did that as kids. We thought we were so clever.

      Like

  19. I love #4, even though it released a flood of memories, like “Is your refrigerator running?” The best was calling a store and asking, “Do you have Pop?” If they said yes, we’d say, “Send him home. Mom wants him.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Amazing idea, dear John! How the time flies: in 1876 there was a first telephone call, at present there are millions i-phone call. Alexander would have been astonished if he had known about that fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He sure would be astonished, Maria. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Entertaining, as always, John! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jan.

      Like

  22. DO: Say, “This is great, Alexander… But don’t you think it should be smaller and portable?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “And take pictures.” 😀

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  23. Do not ask Alexander if you can text instead of calling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a good one, Noelle.

      Liked by 1 person

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