Little black book

By Steve Galea

One of the occupational hazards of being a humour columnist is that you come up with great ideas for columns – and then end up writing ones like this instead. This is almost always because you forgot the great idea you had.

Forgetting a great idea is not something that a new humour columnist is initially good at, but with a little practice and experience, it soon becomes second nature. Not to brag, but I haven’t remembered a good idea in 15 years.

That’s why I recently bought myself a little black book. And no, I did not get it from the Museum of Ancient History.

I understand your point though. Now that we have cell phones, little black books are practically obsolete.

But when I was a kid, men – real men – used to carry little black books to keep all their phone numbers in. As soon as they found a serious girlfriend, however, she would insist that they burn or throw away that little black book.  

That’s because the real players would keep phone numbers of their many girlfriends, past and present, in a little black book. That’s right, some fellas needed a whole book.

I was not one of them, however.

In fact, I never had a little black book – or even a pamphlet. The only reason why I would have filled an entire book with phone numbers of lady friends would have been because I tend to print in extremely large font sizes – generally 72-point Comic Sans.

Instead, on the rare occasion that a young woman offered her phone number, I generally wrote it on the palm of my hand. Which would have been great, had I not had sweaty palms every time a young woman consented to giving me her phone number. The result was, by the time I got home, I would have an unreadable collection of smeared numbers on my hand. And, even if I could somehow decipher them, I would frequently find that the woman in question had given me the number of our local pizza place, which is why I still consider pizza a comfort food.

In short, I missed out on the whole little black book thing.

So, I hope that explains why I am somewhat excited about finally owning one. And, also why I asked Jenn if she would give me her phone number so I could put it in my little black book.

Jenn, being too young to recall the whole little black book era, consented, but only after reminding me that I already have her phone number on my contact list in my phone. 

“That’s true,” I said. “But what if I lose my phone?”

“Well, then,” she replied, “you won’t have any way to call me so it won’t matter that you have my number in your little black book.”

“I could go find a phone booth,” I said.

She just sighed. But then she consented to giving me her phone number.

“OK, go get your little black book,” she said.

It turns out I forgot where I left it. 

So, I returned to Jenn and had her write down her phone number on the palm of my sweaty hand, until I found my little black book.

I did end up finding it too. And I quickly wrote what I thought was her number in it.

Later that day, I ordered a fully loaded pizza.