Landlines? I have 2, and I can’t remember why

Well, I used to have 3 landlines, so I guess 2 is an improvement.

What set me off is, Instapundit linked a New Yorker cartoon mocking the landline.

There’s lots to mock. Nobody important calls us on the landlines anymore. We’re a family of 3, with 5 phone numbers. Yes, we each have a cell phone, and like I said, anyone important calls us on our cell. When the landlines ring it’s almost always a telemarketer or some other undesirable caller. Unless it’s the pizza guy, who got lost, again. That’s one benefit to the landline, a database lookup at Papa John’s that gives them our address even before they pick up the phone.

Once upon a time the landline was ubiquitous. Ma Bell sent -48VDC down those wires come Hell or high water. The phone always worked. And we used it. A lot.

Then some technodweeb invented FiOS.

When the power goes out, FiOS dies 8 hours later, rendering the landline useless.

Lately it seems like our power goes out every couple of months, for days at a time.

So why am I still paying for 2 landlines?

Inertia, I guess. One’s the “house phone.” Rings in almost every room. We don’t answer it; not without checking Caller ID first. The other is Tammy’s fax line. But the thing is, I can’t remember the last time she sent or received a fax. It rings too. We don’t care. The fax machine answers it. And whoever is calling inevitably hangs up.

OK, you convinced me. Line 2 is a goner. Let me call New Jersey Bell Verizon right now. Oh, wait. They’re not open at night. Somebody remind me tomorrow during business hours. I’ll disconnect it then for sure. If I remember.

The house phone is tied to my Internet bundle though. I can’t disconnect it.


I sure do wish it came with that ubiquitous -48VDC. Then I’d feel good about keeping it. Instead I feel like a schmuck.


2 thoughts on “Landlines? I have 2, and I can’t remember why

  1. I have a landline phone number that was disconnected about 10 years ago that is still the database key for a half dozen loyalty programs — Staples, REI, etc — that I still actively use. It’s also the password to my login at an exercise bike at the gym (gym bikes have logins?!) Anyway, this is one good use of a landline phone number. And since the number is disconnected, I don’t pay a monthly fee, or get telemarketer calls.

    • You do of course run the danger of Ma Bell reassigning that number to someone else, who then tries to sign up for the same loyalty programs.

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