2002.09.11 Does a telephone ring?

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The college professor drones on to his class of freshmen. He’s starting to repeat himself and the class is getting bored. Finally, one brave student raises her hand and says, “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.”

Could this really happen on a college campus today?

It’s not likely, because what college freshman is going to know the sound of a broken record?

Sure, there are a few. I still like to get out the old Bob Dylan and Tim Buckley discs and give them a spin on my grandmother’s old turntable. It’s pretty scratchy and the speed hurries and slows between 29 rpms and 37 rpms. If you thought Dylan’s voice was odd at its normal speed, you should hear it on my grandmother’s record player.

Somewhere in the house we have a small collection of 45s. Those are records, too, kids; not a kind of gun.

I still yell out, “The phone’s ringing,” when I can’t get to it and I want someone else to leave the couch and answer. I think everybody talks about ringing phones, but when was the last time you actually heard a phone ring? I don’t know what the replacement word would be to describe the phone sound, so I expect they’ll ring for years and years to come.

Actually, we have an old phone at the office that rings. It even has a dial. A real antique from the olden days of the 1960s, probably. A few weeks ago I told someone to dial a certain number, and then I realized how silly that sounded. Nobody dials a phone unless they’re in the back part of the Observer office. I use that phone on rare occasions just to remember what it was like.

I thought about ringing phones when I heard someone talking about the “mindset list” put together each year by some staff members at Wisconsin’s Beloit College.

They want their colleagues to understand that their mindset—the mental attitude that determines a person’s understanding of a situation—is likely to be quite different from that of the 17- and 18-year-olds sitting in front of them.

“While [the students] are learning from us,” said Beloit instructor Tom McBride, “we need to make ourselves understood or we run the risk of failing to convey the base of ideas that will allow us to share the road to wisdom.”

Even though these kids were born in the ominous year 1984, the phrase “Big Brother” is only a television show to them. George Foreman has always been a barbecue grill salesman. Women have always had tattoos. Men never carry a handkerchief in their back pocket. For all these youngsters know, there’s always been a car on the road called a Saturn.

In the freshmen’s lifetime, scientists have always talked about the impact of acid rain. John Lennon’s son, Julian, had his only hit the year these kids were born. They grew up riding in minivans. Weather reports have always been available 24 hours a day on television, and Fox has always been a network choice, for better or for worse.

Richard Burton, Ricky Nelson, Truman Capote? We’re talking history now: Those guys have been dead as long as the freshmen have been alive.

Some items on the lists from the last two or three years are amusing. For these kids, popcorn has always been made in a microwave—unless you grew up in the weird Leddy-Green home.

Popcorn came from microwaves only during the past 18 months or so that we’ve owned a microwave. But I still make it in a pan with oil. This way it actually tastes like popcorn.

Typewriters are said to be antiques, but we sure had a lot of high school seniors over at our house a couple years ago when it was time to fill out scholarship forms.

Kids are said to be ignorant about the letters “cc” on their email program, and maybe so, but my kids have made carbon copies for years with carbon paper I’ve brought home from the office.

College students today have never known about dressing up for an airplane flight, but I think the professors are a little late on that observation. I know about it, but I only laugh. I’ve seen my parents do it and I always think it’s one of the oddest things.

Kids these day. I heard those words when I was kid.  Every generation, it goes over and over, just like a broken record.

    – Sept. 11, 2002 
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016