#27. 1-800-C-O-L-L-E-C-T: The Ghetto Pager

It’s 8pm on a Wednesday, in a world where the only cell phones that exist are as big as a shoe.

Basketball practice just ended and the familiar headlights of your mom’s silver Mazda MPV, which looks like a Go-Go-Gadget Van, are nowhere to be seen. She’s usually there to promptly pick you up and take you to get your 8pm pre-dinner meal: a $0.99 Burger King Whopper. There was always a perfect ratio of nickels to pennies flooding the ashtray to cover the exact $1.07 of flame-broiled goodness.

But tonight something is wrong, and your teammates also pick up on this. Their parents all offer you a ride, but you politely decline since you realize that this could lead to further confusion if your mom is really on her way to come get you.

20 minutes have passed now. The parking lot is empty and the school office has been closed for the past three hours, so you can’t even borrow their phone to dial home. As you stand waiting, you begin to wish you had brought a book or your CD player to help pass the time. You dream about how amazing it would be if there was only a way to somehow store all of your music on a small pod-like device, which would provide relief from carrying your massive CD collection with you wherever you went. Or you wish you had the ability to teleport. That would definitely come in handy right about now.

More time passes and you come to accept the reality that both your mom has forgotten about you, and that you missed your chance to ask your teammates for a spare quarter to call home. Your anger is now rising as a warmth spreads throughout your body and straight to your head, clouding your thoughts.

What are you going to do?! It’s 8:45 and you’re starving!

Luckily, you’re a teenage boy, so your brain comes up with sexy thoughts every six seconds. Here’s how the next six seconds get you home: 1…2…3…4…5…Alyssa Milano! Hot!…Oh! 1-800-C-O-L-L-E-C-T!

You dash to the pay phone and punch in the digits. You estimate that each call probably costs about 5 bucks, which is a total rip off, so you plan to use 1-800-c-o-l-l-e-c-t as your personal message system by sending your mom a message in place of your recorded name.

It’s only a three second blip, so you gotta speak faster than the Micro Machines guy to make it work:

1800collect: “Please record your name after the tone.”

BEEP

Me: “DON’T PICK UP IT’S MATTHEW, COME PICK ME UP!

Click!

After about two minutes your mind starts wondering if you failed in delivering your free message. You gotta try again…

Me: (speaking even faster) “I’VE BEEN WAITING AT SCHOOL FOR AN HOUR! HURRY UP!”

Sure enough, ten minutes later, you see those familiar headlights bounce as the minivan slowly hurdles each speed bump on it’s way to your rescue.

Photo sources: 1, 2

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One Response to #27. 1-800-C-O-L-L-E-C-T: The Ghetto Pager

  1. Pingback: #35. Free AOL CDs: 1000 free hours or the world’s greatest frisbee? | Retro 80's Kid

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