Smiling In Hello-Land: 1921 Telephone Etiquette For The Social Elite

Doing research for last week’s Thursday Doors post I fell down a rabbit hole that had zilch to do with what I was supposed to be learning about.

[I’m sure you’re not surprised, are you?]

However this tangent was not in vain. I found something unique + entertaining, meant for a blog post, as you will see.

Keep reading.

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The following came from Mrs. Devereux’s Blue Book of Cincinnati Society, the go-to source for lists of club members and their home addresses for the social elite circa 1921.

Below are little snippets of telephone etiquette advice printed at the bottom of some pages in Mrs. Devereux’s book.

These snippets, put there by the printer I imagine, filled the page with text, while at the same time SUBTLY TEACHING THE SOCIAL ELITE HOW TO POLITELY USE the newfangled thing called a telephone.

These six little snippets tell a charming instructive story that I’ve transcribed at the bottom of this post.  It is a story, in fact, that I’ve gone so far as to dub: How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users.

Enjoy!

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How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to lose the better things– the finer qualities.  About the cheapest abuse in the world is the abuse of people at the other end of a telephone wire.  It is the trait of a gentleman– the proof of good breeding– just to smile when you telephone.

The voice with the smile is the voice that wins.  The smiling man or woman who uses the telephone in a sensible way always enjoys the best service.  They never get the hydrophobia when delays occur in answering a call.  Quite often the operator is not responsible for delays.  To complete quick service the party called must immediately respond.  

Did you ever see the Girl at the Switchboard during the rush hour?  If you did you never would kick again.  Some of the people who are loudest in their criticisms would drop dead of heart disease if they were under the strain which is just part of the everyday life in Hello-Land.

There are some people who in ordinary ways of life keep within the bounds of calmness and sanity, but they shy at a telephone and look upon it as the vent for all the accumulated spleen of generations of grouches.  The Supreme Court of New York has ruled that telephones may be taken out if abusive language is used by the subscriber.

Edward W. Bok, editor of the “Ladies’ Home Journal,” declares that one sure sign of an imminent nervous breakdown is a disposition to lose temper when delays occur in telephoning.  When you feel inclined to go to pieces at the ‘phone– consult a doctor.  You have rung a danger signal for yourself every time you growl over the ‘phone.

The great majority of the Grand Army of Telephone Users know the value of keeping sweet.  It is a pleasure to serve them.  They have sensed the disaster that lurks in the poison which is generated in one’s own system every time a fit is cultivated.  It saves doctor bills to smile when you phone. 

The End

An Old Joke Repurposed: A Squirrel Named Chaz Walks Into A Bar…

What is this, you ask? This is my entry into evilsquirrel13’s annual Contest of Whatever. Details here. You, too, can join in the fun until February 28, 2019.

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Chaz the Squirrel, our mutual friend, was sitting outside on the deck staring into the woods, pondering what to do next.  

Behind him was a bleak house, empty at the moment because since Christmas, Carol, the owner, had been away.  

In fact, truth be known, Chaz was a little sad, having fallen on hard times.

With nothing much to do Chaz decided to go to a bar that was a much of the old curiosity shop as it was a place to get a fine cocktail.

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He didn’t have great expectations as he walked into the bar, but was delighted when he saw his favorite bartender, a petite woman, some would say little, Dorrit.

Upon seeing Chaz, Dorrit exclaimed, “Hey there you little dickens!  What’ll you have?”

To which Chaz replied, “A martini, if you please.”

“Sure enough,” she said. “Will that be with an olive ‘r twist?”

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THE END

A Cautionary Tale About Socks: One Woman’s Experience With KonMari

YOU MAY REMEMBER last fall I organized my section of our walk-in closet [discussed here].  What I didn’t tell you, my gentle readers, is that when I did that organization I adopted, sort of, the KonMari approach to tidying up said closet space.

Oh yes I did.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been 100% convinced her approach to organizing stuff is for me, but I’m open-minded so I gave it a go in our closet wherein I have a chest of drawers + a rod for hanging clothes + some shelves on which to put things.

Please note that in keeping with my experimental mindset I went full-out joy-sparking in that closet.

Uh huh.

SO LAST WEEKEND Zen-Den and I were going to dinner with friends at a nice restaurant in a swanky part of town.  I was wearing black pants, intending to wear a new pair of black leather + leopard print loafers with socks.

Black socks, obviously. Because winter is finally here and for the first time since last winter I needed to wear dark socks.

All was good in my uber-organized sock drawer, or so I thought, until I realized that during my Marie Kondo organizational purge last fall I’d saved 5 dark socks.

Five. Individual. Socks.

They are: 2 textured brown socks, 1 plain navy blue sock, 1 plain black sock, and 1 tone-on-tone patterned black sock.

APPARENTLY I GOT a little too joyful, and a trifle distracted, when I sorted through my dark socks last fall, giving the ones I didn’t want to the Salvation Army.

I think we can agree on that.

But be that as it may this situation created an interesting problem in the moment for which I had no immediate logical solution.  Thus I’ll share with you what turned out to be my four choices– and ask you to contemplate what you’d do in this situation.

My solution is in the comments below.

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HERE IS THE SOCK CONUNDRUM I FACED

1) I could wear the matching brown socks that didn’t go with the black pants and cute black leather + leopard print loafers;  or

2) I could be an outlaw a la Agnes and wear many possible mismatched sock combinations;  or

3) I could go sockless on a cold winter’s night;  or

4) I could give up wearing my cute loafers and wear black boots instead, knowing no one would see my socks that way.

WHAT DO YOU THINK I DID? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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Just Curious: Tell Me, What’s Your Least Favorite Holiday?

This is a question I’ve pondered lately.  Everyone I know is quick to tell me about holidays they like, but rarely do I find myself in a conversation about a holiday someone does not like.

So I made this poll, basing my answers on my Judeo-Christian Middle Class American experiences.  I know that around the world there are lots of other holidays than the ones I listed here, so if your least favorite holiday is not on my list you may add it to the poll using the “other” category.

If you, my gentle readers, want to tell me why a particular holiday is your least favorite, the comments below are the place to do it.  Certainly everyone has one holiday that bugs them while everyone else around them is enjoying it.

Tell me about it!

Self-Awareness Is Good, But I Find Some Of This Questionable

For better or worse I’ve taken some online quizzes…

THE FIRST QUIZ  I took was Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz.  It is HERE.

My results tell me I’m a QUESTIONER, meaning I “Resist outer expectations, Meet inner expectations.”  While it might be heavy-handed to say that I questioned my results, I [of course] did.

Or at least I did initially.

However upon reflection, I’ve decided to embrace my natural tendency to question.  Hence I give you my results from two other online quizzes I took, in which I found myself questioning my results.

Like the questioner I am.

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THE SECOND QUIZ that I’d like to talk about is Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism.  It is HERE.

My results tell me that I barely know squat about emojis.

I’ve no difficulty owning up to this assessment of my emoji knowledge.  What I find myself questioning is why I should know more about emojis– and how many gazillion of them are there now?

I don’t hate on the things, silly as they are;  I use about 10 of them and that seems plenty to me.  But what I’m unclear about is why I need to educate myself about emojis when I can still use my words effectively to convey my message.

Just saying, no disrespect intended.

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THE THIRD QUIZ that I took was Which Era Is Your Soul From?  It is HERE.

According to my results I belong in the Victorian Era.  This is because I “believe in remaining optimistic in a world that is sometimes against you.”

I’m reluctant to accept this result, feeling that if there’s one era I most definitely do not belong in, it’s the Victorian Era.

If my results had said I belonged in the Flapper Age I’d be all *woot, woot* count me in, where’s the gin?  Or if my results had suggested that I belonged in the 1940s when women kept this country going while the men went to war, I’d be all move over Rosie, time for me to get riveting.

My optimistic soul would fit into those eras, but the Victorian Era when women were corseted and stuck at home with the vapors only doing domestic things?

Well, that’s not me… at all.

No Stories Here, Only The Remains Of My Inspiration File

It’s spring and you are on a tear to clean out your inspiration file. You have a vague idea about writing something about four cute images but you can’t get your head together to write anything.   

WHAT’S A BLOGGER TO DO?

Well, kids, may I suggest that you put together a post about the stories that you couldn’t figure out how to write, add the cute images– and call it a Tuesday. 

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One

I took this quiz and got 11 out of 12.  

NO STORY HERE… just something fun that you, too, might want to do if you’re curious about how much you remember about baseball in the TV shows you watched as a kid.

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Two

This is the color that Zen-Den painted our home office walls– and ceiling.

NO STORY HERE… other than to say that this a lovely warm gray color that when natural light reflects off the golden oak floor the walls look gray with a slight aqua cast to them.  Me likey.

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Three

I did a screen save of the emojis that I use the most.

NO STORY HERE… except that it seems like there should be a story here in which my inner-most self is revealed through my use of emojis.  But, alas and alack, my inner-most self remains a mystery.

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Four

This is a tweet in which I shared how to kill a scorpion.

NO STORY HERE… because I’ve only seen a scorpion in the zoo– and even though the zoo sells alcoholic beverages, those zoo people are fussy about visitors not murdering the zoo residents.  Go figure.

Revisiting The Strawberry Shortcake Controversy, Asking For Your Preferences

I READ AN ARTICLE that said one of the best approaches to writing a blog post is to write about something controversial. Readers will respond. Discussions will ensue.

Give attitude, get attention.

I believe there’s a truth to this approach.  I say that because years ago [like maybe 10-12?] I wrote a post about making Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.

Welp, my small readership at the time went bonkers telling me how I was doing it wrong. That my preferred Strawberry Shortcake combination was not the amazeballs that I thought it was.

I got comments disagreeing with me on that post for over a year. No exaggeration.

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NOW THAT IT’S MAY, I’m thinking about making Strawberry Shortcake.  In fact I’m going to stop by a local farmers’ market today where I might find some delicious local strawberries to use in said dessert.

Thus, in an attempt to make the perfect Strawberry Shortcake ever, I have created the following three polls in which we will determine what you, my gentle readers, consider to be the perfect Strawberry Shortcake.

Yes, I’m crowdsourcing this recipe.

To wit, considering your own preferences please complete the sentences that begin each poll.  Then if you, my gentle readers, care to chat about Strawberry Shortcake, or anything else, leave a comment below.

As usual, thanks in advance for your prompt attention regarding this matter.

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POLL # 1

POLL # 2

POLL # 3