The Mystery of the Rotary Phone

These two 17-year-olds are smart enough to be engineering students: but can they figure out how to use a rotary phone?

We’re not making fun of them. They’ve never seen, let alone used, one of these before. And yet it wasn’t so long ago that a rotary phone was found in every American household.

This is how knowledge gets lost. And it can happen quickly.

All right, rotary phones are obsolete, we don’t need them anymore, few people still have one. The rotary phone has been replaced by more advanced technology. But much more important knowledge can get lost, without being replaced: a knowledge of history, for instance, or a grasp of civics. Thanks to our laughably inadequate “education” system, knowledge of history and civics is all but extinct. That’s why there are millions of young people who literally do not know that the law of the land, the Constitution, limits what the government is allowed to do.

We don’t need the rotary phone anymore, but we still need history and civics. And we’re quickly losing that knowledge.

We could wind up paying a very heavy penalty for that.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

13 responses to “The Mystery of the Rotary Phone

  • marlene

    Still have my red rotary phone, though not connected to anything but me, that never went dead, was always clear and easy to hear, and static didn’t exist, not even in mild storms. Of course, I couldn’t carry it around with me but at least we had public phones for emergencies. Today a cell phone’s battery is almost always dead when we need it outdoors. I sure do miss pubic phone booths – especially the privacy. Segue – I also miss public water fountains, sand boxes in playgrounds, and public swimming pools in safe neighborhoods. I felt I was getting something for my taxes.

  • Erlene Talbott

    There was an even older version of the phone in my Grandmother’s home.
    I hung on the wall, was made of wood and was not used very often.

  • Erlene Talbott

    LOL LOL. I do that all the time if I don’t watch carefully. My fingers are crooked and twisted and do not do what I ask. The phone, of course, not me.

  • Erlene Talbott

    I am still chuckling over my silly type. Sometimes, even errors turn out funny.

  • unknowable2

    That is pretty funny. I’ve heard about this before, the younger generation has no idea how a telephone dial works. I appreciated the young fellows in the video, they approached it all in good humor.

    Much agreed about Civics. I consider it a critical need.

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    I found myself yelling at these two young men, “Lift the receiver before you dial!!!” So funny, yet a sobering message when applied to the state of our current educational system. All of us are a product of our culture to one extent or another. We need for a Christian revival of Christian education. Why is the church in America today so brain-dead when it comes to this subject? Our Lutheran school used to go to the 12th grade, but now it only goes to the 6th – so sad.

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