An Entire Generation (and Counting) Doesn't Memorize Phone Numbers Anymore

This is concerning, right?

vintage woman on phone
Photo: Getty Images

Remember when you used to know the phone numbers of everyone in your family, your best friends, your children's school, the pediatrician, the movie theater (because you had to call for showtimes), every neighbor on your block, and the list goes on? It wasn't too long ago, but it feels like another time. Now we've got all the knowledge we need in the palm of our hands, well, until it gets misplaced, breaks, or the battery dies unexpectedly. What then?

We weren't always this way. Modern technology and the cell phones that have come along with it certainly have their perks, but they also encourage some highly dependent behaviors which would have Grandma aghast. She always taught us not to put all of our eggs in one basket, but that's clearly our current relationship status with our phones. We're stage five clingers, and we need an intervention, ASAP.

So how do we get back to a healthy level of non-dependence on our devices? It all starts with memorizing a few key phone numbers. This is especially important for the youngsters among us who have no clue what a phone book or church family directory is. Of course, you should know the numbers of your spouse or significant other and immediate family members, but outside of the basics, these are the numbers you should also commit to memory:

  • Doctors (dentist, primary care, dentist, etc.)
  • Utility companies
  • Children's School (the school office is a good place to start)
  • Babysitters
  • Colleagues
  • Church, Minister, Pastor, Priest, etc.
  • Neighbors

Not every number above will be necessary to memorize, depending on your situation, but there are likely a few that will help you prepare for emergencies (whether it's a true emergency or just one of the broken technology variety). It's also best practice to have a small note card stored in your wallet with important phone numbers so others can get in touch with your VIPs should you be unable to make the calls yourself.

Just like the art of sewing, bygone home economics classes, and even sorting laundry, tasks that were once givens are no more. Consider this a friendly reminder that some things are worth bringing back—even if only for safety's sake.

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