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the phone book (tampa 813)


It was either this past week or the week before that I was working on something in my place and I heard a loud THWAP! outside, and then heard a vehicle driving off. So I go outside and in front of my front door...

...are a pair of phone books in a bag. One for business, the other for residential. The mailman dumps them on the ground because they are obviously too large to fit in the mailbox.

Small side note: The mailbox for the house I grew up in in rural Connecticut had the mailbox directly on a rural route, so the maildude couldn't put the phone book on the ground. Instead he crammed it into the mailbox. This was before the post office wised up and started putting the book in a bag (to protect it from the rain) and then hanging it off the mailbox flag. Yes, they really did that and probably still do to this day.

Anyway, here's the front covers of them:


There's been talk for a while that the printed phone book will cease to exist, yet it still gets printed, year after year. And nobody really knows why the phone book still gets printed. Some say it's for the benefit of people that don't have internet connectivity and refuse to use 4-1-1 directory assistance, but I don't buy that. The phone company loves producing the phone book that nobody uses for the simple reason they make a ton of money from advertising revenue. To them it's a very safe, very easy cash cow and has been for decades.

Is the phone book actually useful? Actually, it is. I decided to thumb through it to see if there was any information the book could provide that I'd actually want to know. I mean, I get the stupid thing every year for free, so I might as well take a look before I toss it. As it turns out, it does have some stuff in it that's worth keeping the book for.

The most important info in the book is in the first 20 pages. A list of every single area code in the US is there, as are all international calling codes. A full time zone map is in there. The evacuation routes for Florida (in case of natural disaster from hurricane) are listed. All government offices are listed. Emergency shelter locations for my particular area are listed.

Were you to try and get all this info online, it would take a while. Probably a few hours (especially for the government office numbers and locations). But in the book it's all there right up front. And I mean litearlly in the front of the book.

So... I guess I'll keep the book. Either that or I'll just tear out the first 25 or so pages and toss the rest.

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