In my ceaseless effort to avoid numbers, I have often taken a look at my phone number and tried to see what it could spell. Finally we began requesting specific numbers whenever we moved. All you have to do is ask your local phone company for the prefixes assigned to your area, come up with some possibilities, see if they’re already taken, and request the one you like.
If you want, you can include the area code (if you’re lucky), or just use the 7-digits afterwards. It’s a fun way to make your number easy for friends to remember. Of course, there are no letters that correspond with zero or one, so if you have those in your number, you have to settle for shorter words, such as friends of ours who’ve had the numbers Tuxedo 8 and 2 Be Sure.
One time our phone number spelled F-i-n-l-a-n-d. When someone would ask for my number, I could say, “Just call Finland.” No need to write it down; you can transcribe it later.
At our next home we got “Do it now.” A good, industrious message, right?
Well, there are a few problems with this idea. First of all, people remember the general concept, but not necessarily the exact word. With Finland, people knew it was a European country with seven letters, but then couldn’t recall if it was Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Austria, England, or Albania. That’s a lot of dialing.
And with our strong work ethic number, Do It Now, a neighbor said, “I’ll never forget your phone number—it spells Go For It.” Another problem is that not all word combinations are clever or amusing ones. If your number will only spell Owl Poop or No Brain, you might want to reconsider.
You also have the annoyance factor we all share, when a company tells you to call “1-800-HomeCare” or “1-800-NestEgg” and you have to painstakingly find the number for each letter.
If your number simply won’t spell a word, see if it plays a tune. Then, at least when friends call, you can tell them to listen for the William Tell Overture, Phantom of the Opera, or Claire de Lune.
And, in case you’d just like to play some tunes with your phone, here are some fun ones to try:
Old MacDonald Had a Farm: 6667887
Mary Had a Little Lamb: 3212333
Way Down Upon the Swanee River: 321321045
Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits: 9442166
Mr. Sandman: 42626626
If you do this at work, I make no promises about how impressed your boss will be with the way you spend your time. And my sincerest apologies to the people who actually have those phone numbers.
And now I have occupied you for half an hour, as you jot down your number to see what it spells. Or, as you dial yourself and see what tune it plays. You’re welcome. Just one more service I offer here at Joniopolis.