When I was much younger, I sat for several dental students to take their final dental exams at the University of Pennsylvania (I was teaching in a Philadelphia suburb at the time). In appreciation, the students got together and gave me a transistor radio. I’ve still got it somewhere. It is fun to watch old TV programs and note how characters answer or speak on the phone. The really old TV programs show the black square rotary phone. More modern ones show characters using wall phones, then wireless ones, and now the small ubiquitous “smart phones.” Seems now that everyone has a cell phone and communicates, communicates, and communicates. Fact is, researchers from The U. of California, Irvine, and Microsoft Research, found that people on average check their inboxes 77 times a day. Some things go out of style as innovations occur. Graham Bell and Thomas Edison would not recognize this world.
Sometimes when I don’t sleep, I’ll turn on the radio in the middle of the night and listen to Coast to Coast with George Noory. The other night, I listened to a noted astronomer who has a career making predictions based on his knowledge of astrology. He explained the various alignments of the planets and predicted a stormy, difficult 2023 and 2024. In fact, he said that in two years, America might not even exist or it might be a star rising like a phoenix from the ashes. The predictions were dire. It all came over AM radio, and I loved listening until I fell asleep.
When waiting for some appointment, people often flip through magazine pages, appalled at some of the stories. Others put the magazine down and watch people go by. I recall someone telling another, “Let’s go to the Mall and watch people.” That was long ago, when going to the Mall was an occasion. Writers are observant. They have to be in order to develop stories that interest or fascinate. Truth is stranger than fiction, as the old saw goes. To be honest, that is so. Truth is, we will have six more weeks of winter. Punxsutawney Phil told us so…. Whether we talk and tell stories via the modern phones, listen to them over Sirius Radio or AM stations, or make up tales about characters we see or imagine, there is a story to be told.