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Hudson Cooper - Columnist
Posted 9/10/20

Life was much easier in Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show. If you wanted a haircut you went to Floyd's. The only mechanic in town able fix your car was Goober. No complicated police department. …

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Life was much easier in Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show. If you wanted a haircut you went to Floyd's. The only mechanic in town able fix your car was Goober. No complicated police department.

Any criminal activity was handled by Sheriff Andy Griffith and his incompetent but lovable Deputy, Barney Fife. If you wanted to phone anybody you did not dial. In fact, the phones had no dial. You picked up the phone and said “Sarah, Barney here. Can you connect me to Thelma Lou?” There was no need to memorize any phone number, much like in today's world.

The only phone number I remember now is my own. Telling a person your number or filling out a form is the only time knowing your phone number is necessary. Because of the growth in the use of cell phones, having to remember someone's phone number has gone the way of the phone booth and phone book. We rely on the contact list that stores phone numbers.

Unfortunately, over time, the contact list begins to resemble the junk drawer all of us have in our home. We collect numbers and often fail to add any identifying information of the contact. I recently checked my contact list and I have 8 women named Barbara, 5 men named Ben and 7 guys named Bill, although I think Billie is a woman.

And that is just some of the B's. Collected ever since I got my first cell phone, they were stored in something called “the cloud” so they can be added automatically to a newly purchased cell phone's contact list.

I have no clue about how “the cloud” works. How does it keep track of who is storing what, if all of us are using it? Is it located in a building the size of Montana? Does it circle the earth like a satellite and keeps track of every number every one of us has ever called?

It is just as puzzling to me as how my car's GPS knows that I need directions to get to Mayberry when the guy driving in the lane next to me is using the same navigation system to get to Mount Pilot. But I will leave my theory about GPS systems for another column.

My contact list contains many hundreds of names. If I want to order some General Tso's chicken, I go to the letter C in my contact list and try to remember which place makes the tastiest. I can choose from among China Place, Chinaview Express, China Bowl, Chinese 2 Go and China Wok.

Not being able to remember which place I like; I call an audible and order a pizza from one of the 3 Ray's Pizza listings on my contact list. However, two of them were added to my contacts by the cloud even though they are in a city that I lived in 7 years ago and is 500 miles away, well outside the delivery zone.

So, I decided to review my cell phone's contact list and do some deleting. Alphabetically from the top, I examined the first 10 listings. Since I had chosen to list my contacts by their first name, the company called AAA was easy to recognize. But did I really need member services and roadside assist? Figuring that if I needed assistance while on the road, an agent from member services could connect me. Clicking on the edit function, I scrolled down and deleted the contact for roadside assist. One contact down and what seemed like thousands to go.

I continued to work my way down the phone list until boredom took over. So, I made a game out of it. I went to my contact list and swiped my finger up the screen, so the names flew by eventually stopping on part of my list. I decided that any name that was unfamiliar got deleted. Also, if I recognized the name but had not spoken to that person in 5 years...delete.

It is a similar method I use on those rare occasions when I clean out my closet. If I have not worn an article of clothing in 15 years, it goes into the Good Will bag. Somewhere out there some guy is walking around in a 1980's Members Only Jacket, parachute pants inspired by M.C. Hammer and Clark Wallabee moccasins.

I spun through my cell phone contact list like the operator of the roulette wheel at a casino. The names flew by before settling on a group of ten. Finding an entry called Warranty Center had to go. Warranty of what? Could it be for my old Palm Pilot phone or my Apple iPod? Either way they were both in electronics heaven so…delete. Listings for defunct stores like Blockbuster Video, Tower Records and Border Books were easy deletes. Bell Atlantic customer service...delete.

Landing on the name of a friend you have not heard from in years can lead to a nice trip down memory lane. However, in some cases you wind up apologizing to the person you woke up in another time zone who acquired that phone number years ago.

Cleaning up your contact list is a labor-saving activity. Afterwards you can find a number with less effort, giving you more time to surf on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if you only could remember your passwords.

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