Bring Back the Phone Booth


  In all honesty, the origin of this has more to do with Karen’s ideas than mine, but I did start the whole thing by interrupting her coupon-clipping to show her one of the comics in the Sunday (Raleigh) News & Observer, November 13, 2011; namely; “Rhymes With Orange,” by Hilary Price.

It’s a one-frame comic set in a cell phone store, with a salesperson and two customers gawking at a rather porcine Superman, naked, putting one leg at a time into his Superman suit and letting the world know he misses phone booths.  (If you’d like to see the original, the website is at the end of this article.)

Remember Christopher Reeve in the first of the modern Superman movies, needing a place to change and wistfully gazing at a Gotham City pay phone that had no booth?  The Superman of my youth always found a phone booth to change in, one with a little seat and windows high enough to shield him from the waist down (I’m referring to my youth, after all, a time when the comic with the naked guy, especially a porcine naked guy, wouldn’t have been allowed in a newspaper, even in the comics and even in Chicago).

Within a moment or two the suggestions for this article were flying at me across our dining room table.  Once the coupon-clipping was interrupted, the creative flow was unleashed.

“What a great idea for an enterprising young person,” she said, “to bring back phone booths by building attractive ones with those little windows and comfortable seating.”

She continued: “Restaurants, doctor and dentists’ waiting rooms, and other places where people seem to insist on sharing their cell phone conversations with the world could install these phone booths with a sign: CELL PHONE USERS GET SENT TO THE PHONE BOOTH!”

And more: “Booths could be installed on busy streets.  After all, you can’t hear on your cell phone with all the traffic noise.  There could be charges for using the booths.”

I finally had an idea: Could be made so you’d have to insert a credit card to get in.  Maybe
that would avoid the public phones that occasionally pop up in the movies, the ones all broken, with the handset missing at the end of the wire swinging in the breeze, and the phone book with all the important pages missing.  Come to think of it, with modern cell phones you just need the booth – no phone book.

And finally she observed: “Superheroes need places to change.”

I think banishing rude cell phone users to soundproof booths is more persuasive, but I certainly don’t want superheroes mooning or flashing us either.

(Website to view the comic: www.rhymeswithorange.com , included with a thank you and tip of my hat to Hilary Price.  Looking forward to more of your humor!)

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