Why Should You Never Take a Cell Phone To Italy?

January 21, 2000

Because you’ll have to pay the Roman fee. According to the Wall Street Journal one of the deadly number bugs we have to worry about in the next decade or so is the lack of phone numbers. Apparently because fax machines, modems, and cell phones have used up so many numbers, there’s a very real possibility that all possible seven number combinations (or six number combinations depending on where you live) will be used up. Of course there may be complex solutions involving consolidation of various services, but I have an idea that will temporarily fix the problem. In checking a world-wide list of area codes, I discovered that no place has the area code 666. Of course there are those people who believe "The Exorcist" was a documentary, or who are simply superstitious, but, unlike 13, there’s no real significance to the number 666. It became known as "the sign of the beast" during the reign of the emperor Domitian. The Roman numeral 666 is DCLXVI. Since people in those days were as nutty about anagrams as people today are about dot-coms, it didn’t take much for an upstart religion with a martyr complex to turn that number into the phrase, Domitianus Caesar Legatos Xsti Violenter Interfacit (Domitian Caesar is violently killing the spokespeople of Christ). But for those people who feel uncomfortable with that number, I have a solution: it will only be assigned to top executives at large telecommunications companies. With all the merger mania, these guys have pretty much sold their souls anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem for them. Besides, who do you think has four fax machines, three cell-phones, two regular phone lines, and seventeen internet accounts? Top execs at one telecommunication company use up more phone numbers than the population of Nebraska. Unused numbers in the 666 area code will be assigned to telemarketing companies.

By the way, I was blasted from a few different directions for last week’s rundown of the crimes and misdemeanors of the United States Congress, even though I didn’t write it. One of the questions was, "If a member of Congress had been arrested on drug charges, don’t you think we would have heard about it?" Probably. But the charges of fraud, bankruptcy, and drunk driving were very likely true in spades, so the drug charges statistic was probably a lie wedged in between several truths–the ultimate way to discredit a piece of information. That’s as close to a conspiracy theory as I’ll get.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

How Many Dogs Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us, and you’re inside worrying about a stupid burned-out light bulb?

Border Collie: Just one. And I’ll replace any wiring that’s not up to code.

Dachshund: I can’t reach the stupid lamp!

Toy Poodle: I’ll just blow in the Border Collie’s ear and he’ll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.

Rottweiler: Go Ahead! Make me!

Shih Tzu: Puh-leeze, dah-ling. Let the servants.

Lab: Oh, me, me!!! Oh Pleeeeeeze? Pleeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I?

Giant Schnauzer: Broken? Who says? For your information the light bulb isn’t broken until I say it’s broken.

Malamute: Let the Border Collie do it. You can feed me while he’s busy.

Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.

Doberman Pinscher: While it’s dark, I’m going to sleep on the couch.

Mastiff: Mastiffs are NOT afraid of the dark.


Chihuahua: Yo quiero Taco Bulb.

Irish Wolfhound: Can somebody else do it? I’ve got a hangover.

Pointer: I see it, there it is, right there…

Greyhound: It isn’t moving. Who cares?

Australian Shepherd: Put all the light bulbs in a little circle…

Old English Sheepdog: Light bulb? Light bulb? That thing I just ate was a light bulb?

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