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Are you hopelessly confused about telephone etiquette?


“Don’t you dare call me without texting first!” blared a recent headline in the Wall Street Journal.
Yes, forget about Taiwan and other potential hot spots; battle lines are being drawn over the divisive issue of modern telephone etiquette.
(“Plenty of ink for the battle lines, since we didn’t use any codifying the unwritten rules of cellphone etiquette!”)
Some combatants are merely miffed or startled (“The call is coming from inside your circle of friends!”) about receiving an unexpected personal call.
(I understand. My heart skips a beat when I see the number for my mother’s nursing home on caller ID, even though it’s usually something innocuous like “Is it okay to vaccinate your mom against the previous vaccine?”)
But other telecommunications troopers are prepared to end a lifelong friendship or craft voodoo dolls of everyone who will be at Thanksgiving dinner – if the people in their life don’t unfailingly give them a texted “heads up” about any upcoming vocalized conversation.
According to the Journal, society definitely contains a few outliers (young people who love to get a surprise phone call and senior citizens who are hooked on texting); but in general, Gen Z and Millennials are the most thin-skinned about having their inviolable schedule disturbed by (YUCK!) CALLERS.
Extremists in these groups are probably unnerved because they think you’re going to ask them to help blaze a trail through the wilderness or hand-milk a dinosaur or something.
Who dares question the righteous indignation of individuals who find their tranquility shattered by “well-meaning” friends, relatives or the “Chatty Cathy” neighbor who prattles on and on in that wheezing voice about rescuing six dogs from the blazing inferno that used to be the text-hugger’s house?
Honestly, you spend all morning posting photos of your iguanas, footwear, charcuterie board and colonoscopy on a bazillion social media sites and then some jackass throws you off your game by ringing up to let you know they’ve been thinking about you!
I hate to admit it, but we older folks need to accept the blame for our misspent youth. We wasted our formative years learning how to build bridges, cure diseases and compose symphonies when we should obviously have majored in Forecasting Everything That People Will Get Their Panties In A Wad About In 2024!
But, playing devil’s advocate for a moment, would our republic even exist if the new rules of communications etiquette had been in place during colonial times? Would there have been sufficient time for Ben Franklin to print handbills in Philadelphia and get them to Massachusetts promptly enough to let the citizenry know, “Be prepared for one P. Revere to ride through the countryside on the 18th of April sometime around twelve-ish with an urgent message”?
Or what if Alexander Graham Bell had spilled acid on himself and telegraphed, “Mr. Watson, have your people text my people”?
Call me a wild and crazy guy, but I tend to make a case-by-case judgment of whether a text or out-of-the-blue call best suits the needs of all involved. Including the National Security Agency. (“Don’t mind us. Distinct speech or unambiguous emojis – they’re both cool. Be sure to name names.”)
Maybe I haven’t left you ROFL, but next week I’m going to write one of my funniest columns ever. I’m not going to just phone it in.
Not unless I text you first.

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.