13 Comments

  1. This should have a “geezer” tag, too. I dimly remember when phones were the size of bricks.

  2. Mike. The joke isn’t for people who remember when phones were the size of bricks. It’s for people who *don’t* remember when phones were the size of bricks and find the concept hilarious.

    People who do remember them do not remember them as “being as big as bricks”. We remember them as being as small as a shoe.

    FWIW I think “that’s not what ‘dropped call'” means distracts from joke. Dropping a phone in the toilet is a real and common and frustrating thing. The idea of this occurring for the first time with some very huge mobile phone is funny. Confusing it with the phrases “dropped call” is just muddling the issue. I think it’d be better if was “the first X” where “X” is the term we use for dropping a phone in a toilet (which I’m not sure we have).

  3. As mediocre as I think this panel is, I still think that the associated pun on “dropped call” is crucial, otherwise it’s just a boring historical incident. Compare it to a picture of someone using a candlestick telephone, with the caption “Joe Smith dials the very first wrong number”. As a comic, that would be a waste of time.

  4. I agree with Andréa and Kilby: the fact that this isn’t what “dropped call” means is the whole joke.

    The size of the phone neither adds nor detracts from the joke, at least for me.

  5. ” Compare it to a picture of someone using a candlestick telephone, with the caption “Joe Smith dials the very first wrong number”.”

    1) It’s too big to be likely to drop into a toilet. That’s why it’s funny. Nothing wrong with a making a wrong number on a candlestick phone– they do have dials– but on an old hand crank party line phone it would be a logical absurdity. And people have done Alexander Graham Bell making a wrong number on the “Watson come here” line. Many many times.

    2) The first “dropped call” was *decades* before 1986 and “phones the size of bricks”.

  6. woozy: Alexander Graham Bell making a wrong call is funny because it’s nonsensical – there was one other phone for him to contact. Your picture shows not just a spam call, but an absurd spam call. A realistic depiction of the first spam call – or the first phone to be dropped in the toilet – would not be humorous.

    I don’t see that the fact that the phone is big makes it unlikely to fall in a toilet. In fact, while it was not as common as it is now, I’m certain that at some point in the period in which we had “large” cell phones, at least one person dropped it in the toilet.

  7. There’s a commercial (Geico, I think) where Alexander Graham Bell has his phone with him at the opera, it rings and he answers it and announces to the caller that they have called the wrong number, they dialed 1, and they should have dialed 2.
    To me that’s funny because of the absurdity of the first wrong number when there are only a small handful (maybe only 2) of numbers out there. Also, I think it’s funny and appropriate that he would choose 1 as his own number. Yes, I know that’s not how phone numbers have ever worked. It adds to the absurdity.

  8. There was a guy in France who built a steam-powered car in 1769, and during a demo in 1771 it crashed into a wall at 2 miles per hour. So if the world’s first automobile accident was in 1771, I can imagine the first wrong number being soon after there were three telephones in the world. Most likely the fourth telephone went to someone who was up to no good and soon started making scam calls.

  9. The clumsy guy in the comic will have to place his phone in a container of rice now.

  10. Mark in Boston – Don’t forget – those early telephone calls were made through an operator not direct dial – harder to dial a wrong number when an “expert” was connecting the calls – and probably by name at first, not a number.

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