Questioning The Talking Phone Book

Phone books? Sure, I like having one around for when the internet goes dead and I have to call Time Warner —but who needs four phone books? That’s what I was wondering as I stared at the foot-high pile of paper on my table. The four phone books showed up uninvited on my doorstep during the last two weeks and now I’m stuck with them. I’d toss them in the phone book recycling bin at the Park N’ Ride —except the town website says that it’s only there “April through October.” Who knew that recycling bins left for the winter?

So here I am about to put them in the garage when I notice that one of them is called “The Talking Phone Book.” Wow! A talking phone book. It looks like the others: it’s yellow and has a picture of those lawyers on the back cover, but if this phone book can talk I’d say it’s a keeper. Closer inspection revealed that The Talking Phone Book is “A Publication of Hearst Holdings.” Hey —the people who provide my favorite local newspaper figured out how to make a phonebook talk. Impressive. So early this morning I decided to test The Talking Phone Book:

“Talking Phone Book: tell me the number for Angela’s Pizza in Glenmont?”

Silence. “OK…Talking Phone Book: give me the first listing under automotive parts and supplies, retail?”

Nothing. Let’s try an easy one. “What number do I call in an emergency, Talking Phone Book?”

Well, maybe I’m doing something wrong but the Talking Phone Book isn’t talking. Does it need batteries? A special log on procedure? We may never know, because the Talking Phone Book is going in the garage —and if it doesn’t want to end up in that recycling bin this April it better start making some noise.

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