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Showing posts with the label 555-2358

What's With Those 555 Exchanges?

Remember Tommy Tutone’s 1981 hit single “Jenny (867-5309)”?  The song was about a guy who found a girl’s phone number on a bathroom stall, and was very excited to call it.  Perhaps this was tasteless, but not too tasteless to climb up the pop charts.  “Jenny” was an unusual song, in that it provided a phone number that was plausibly real (at least in the United States, Canada, most of the Caribbean, and Mexico (until 1991)).  When the song was released, telephone conventions didn’t require you to dial the area code, as long as you weren’t dialing from another area code.  If you lived in a town with an 867 exchange, the temptation to dial that number could get overwhelming, if you were the right kind of troublemaker.  I was that kind of troublemaker, myself.  While at Penn State, nearly ten years after that song’s debut, I realized that 867 was a local number there.  I resisted for as long as I could, but finally gave in to temptation, feeling embarrassed as I dropped a quarter into a …