Satire Friday: So Why Do I Have an Address Book?

The Old-Fashioned Address Book

I have this book that’s stuck in a drawer. It’s ancient, probably 25 years old. It’s an …address book.

Young folks probably have no idea what an actual book that’s called an “address book” is. No one has  physical address books any more. We have address books in our email accounts, although more and more they seem to be called contacts. We have contacts on our phones. We have address books on our  computers in programs such as Microsoft and WordPerfect (yes, people still use that, superior to Word, I’d say.)

I got this address book to replace one I had originally. The old one was all filled up with addresses of college friends and one sister-in-law who moved a lot, written in, crossed out and rewritten in new spaces. My new address book was superior to the old one because it had ring binders and came with extra pages, so one could replace the used up pages and add more. I started out carefully copying in all the addresses from the old book. I now had a new strategy – names would go in ink, but the address and phone would go in pencil. So when folks moved I could just erase and rewrite, saving the address book from becoming extinct.

But that didn’t last long. It was tedious to write half in pen and half in pencil, and when I did erase the old address to put in the new, they never  erased completely. Soon the shadows of the old address would cloud the new and I’d wonder if it was a three or five, and what was this, the old or new zip code? After awhile, it became easier to write someones new address on a scrap of paper and file it under the correct letter divider. Soon, the book became a repository of scraps, with all pretense of putting them under the correct letter forgotten.

Then, computers came out with email address books. Then cell phones. And my Palm PDA, which I still love despite the fact that they’re no longer made, in favor of Blackberry, Palm Pre and iPhone. The address book became such a debacle that I gave up adding to it. I made a family contact sheet in Word, one for each side of the family, emailed it out to everyone, printed a copy for myself and stuck it in the address book.

Now my addresses are collected in multiple places – some in the old address book, some in the Palm, some in Outlook, some in Word and some on my phone. They’re all there, but it’s a challenge remembering where each one is. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some kind of device where I could keep them all in one place?