By Dick Wolfsie
There should be a law against having phone numbers that denote words instead of, well, numbers. Hello! It’s a phone number, not a phone word.
I hosted a TV segment last week for a national organization that is dedicated to educating people about a common, but potentially serious, illness. Their phone number spells the name of the disease.
That makes the number easy to remember, but impossible to dial on your cell phone if you are in the car and have to watch the road, balance your coffee and try to figure out where the PQRS button is.
I mis-dialed 1-800 DIABETES — and was surprised to get some poor guy in Tipton named Moe who said he was tired of people calling him with medical questions. He asked me to mention in his blood sugar is fine. There you go, Moe. You’re welcome.
While trying to dial this number, I almost ran into an 8733, which is “tree” in touch-pad language, in case you haven’t mastered this concept yet. I got so mad I probably said a number I shouldn’t say in mixed company: 3687.
Before you go running to your phone to figure this out or call the newspaper to complain that I said some dirty digits, I simply picked four numbers at random. They don’t spell anything. I don’t think. Oh dear, I better go back and re-check. I wouldn’t want any four-number words in a family newspaper.
Now suppose I wanted to pay extra to have a phone number that represents a personal reference like I AM DICK. But wait, it’s not that simple. Apparently, those same numbers for I AM DICK could spell a lot of other words or letter combinations. So there is a good chance that someone else has beaten me to the punch.
I needed help, so I went to www.phonespelling.com, where you can see what words your phone number might spell (assuming you have nothing better to do.)
That’s where I discovered that 426-3425 (I AM DICK) has almost 10,000 additional letter combinations. Here are some they thought were unforgettable. GAN-E-IJC, BN-EH-AL or IC-MFG-BK. See how much simpler it is to remember seven letters than seven numbers?
Now that I have checked the website, I know I will never be able to get I AM DICK for my phone number because there are so many other people with common names like IC-MEGAL or ICOD-IK who have probably been waiting for that number to become available for many years.
If you are from the planet GAMDIA-5, you’d have snapped this number up eons ago to make it easier for fellow aliens to remember how to reach you.
If you enjoyed this column, don’t forget it was written by 3425. But you and I don’t have to be so formal. You can call me 3.
On the other hand, if you feel this is a prime example of how I can write the dumbest stuff and still get paid, I think it is fair to say: you’ve got my number.
Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.