In this Highly Technological Age, most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of the Butt-Dial, or Butt-Call... not to be confused with the Booty-Call, another matter entirely.
The Butt-Dial (AKA Pocket Dial or Pocket Call) is what happens when a cell phone is accidentally activated in someone’s pocket or purse, resulting in an inadvertent phone call. It’s not something that used to happen in the Landline Era, when phones were not something carried around on one’s person where they would be subject to random bumps and jiggles.
Most cell phones have protections against the Butt-Dial, but - depending on the specifics of one’s gear - those protections are not 100% foolproof. Flip phones are less vulnerable, but that type of design seems to have fallen out of favor in the last few years.
Because of the way cell phones work, the most common recipients of butt-dialed calls are people you have recently called, and people at the top of your speed dial list. Random phone numbers, because of the long sequence of accidental keystrokes required, rarely get hit.
Butt-calls are mostly inconsequential, unless (as happened to me recently) you get a string of them all at once. Since the caller is not aware he is calling - and since his line is engaged - it’s hard to get hold of him to tell him to knock it off. But once in a while, a butt-call can be a conduit for embarrassing information... like getting ready for a press conference and finding out the hard way that the mike in front of your face is live. Remember Ronald Reagan’s microphone gaffe in 1984? “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Other examples are legion.
I am happy to report that this has never happened to me. To my knowledge, anyway.
But what got this whole train of thought started was a butt-dial I received yesterday from my friend Barry. I had just spoken with him a few moments before, and we had concluded our telephone conversation. Moments later, the phone rang again; this time it was immediately obvious that Barry had no idea the phone had been activated. (His phone - an HTC 4G - seems to be especially prone to the inadvertent redial.) After about a minute of listening to muffled words exchanged between him and his wife, she noticed that the phone was displaying my picture, indicating that there was an active call in progress - which she promptly cut off.
I could not resist calling back to tell Barry about his having called me unbeknowingly. “Were you aware that you had butt-dialed me?” In retrospect, of course, he was.
There’s an Elissonian Moral to all this - of course there is!
Let your fingers do the walking...
...but don’t let your tuchus do the talking!
4 years ago