Even Steven Invented Texting (sort of)

When I was a freshman in college, cell phones barely existed. They were called bag phones and lived in a giant bag in the trunk of your mom’s car. Or they were actually built into your car (if you were really fancy).

And – Oh my gosh – I just remembered that the summer before I went to college, I drove around my hometown pretending to talk on our portable home phone. My mom spent two months constantly asking me where the cordless phone was. Man, I was cool!

Anyway – back to how Even Steven pretty much invented texting…

We met during the beginning of my freshman year and his junior year. I knew it was love at first sight, but Even Steven didn’t. (It took months of stalking to convince him.)

On the night we met, he said he would call me. And since we didn’t have cell phones, I waited by my dorm room phone for over a WEEK for him to call.

And then one day, while I was staring at the phone, the red light appeared indicating that I had a message.

Dorm Room Phone

It was Even Steven. He had finally called!

Except my phone didn’t ring.

And I had been waiting for NINE straight days for it to ring. I had been watching it.

This started a flurry of activity in the dorm. Girls from neighboring rooms called my room to make sure my phone ringer was working. It was.

My roommate walked to another dorm to see if calls coming from outside our dorm were ringing. Another girl had her sister from home call the dorm room to see if off-campus calls rang on my phone. They did.

I even called the phone people on campus to check my phone to make sure my ringer was working correctly. It was.

And then I waited the mandatory three days before returning Even Steven’s call. It was agonizing.

For the first six months that we were dating, Even Steven’s calls never once rang into my dorm room. Once I knew my phone was working properly, I just assumed that I was always blaring the music, or in another room, or in the bathroom when he called.

Until I overheard him giving advice to one of his fraternity brothers.

“Just dial directly to her voicemail. Then you won’t have to talk to her.”

In all of his fraternity cool-ness, Even Steven knew how to dial directly into a voicemail inbox without ever having to actually call someone directly.

And since he hates talking on the phone almost as much as he hates talking on the phone – it was the only way he liked to make phone calls. A quick voicemail let him know he was thinking about me, without having to have an actual conversation with me.

Pretty much the same thing as texting.

Send a quick, short message without having to have an actual conversation. Let someone know you’re thinking of them without having to talk to them.

See? Even Steven TOTALLY invented the concept of texting.

Sort of.

Even Steven

Okay – not at all really.

But a little?

15 comments on “Even Steven Invented Texting (sort of)

  1. Oh snap! That IS the essence of texting!! You and I must be the same age because I had the exact same dorm room phone experience. Memories!! Love your blog! :)

  2. Love it! Except if this were my husband every time we discussed text messaging for the next 25 years he’d tell me about how he invented it. Believe me- I hear every summer about how he invented the slip and slide. :)

  3. Ohhhhhh! I KNEW Even Steven & I were kindred spirits!!! Everyone who KNOWS me knows I hate talking on the phone. Seriously! I own ONE LANDLINE PHONE which I never turn ON. If I see someone has left a message, I’ll check it. But I will return a call ONLY if I WANT to (almost never) or if it’s an emergency such as the person had his or her head in the freezer looking for the last ice cream bar and someone came by and slammed the door & decapitated him or her. Because I don’t HAVE texting access, I don’t text. (Duh!) But I am BOWING to you, Even Steven. You SO rock! (And lil’ Anna – I MISSED you like CRAZY while I was away!!!!)

  4. Anna Banana you got your self one heck of a hubby. Hang on to that genius. All kidding aside, my hubby used to hate talking on the phone but then he became a world wide airline pilot and he met an iPhone…now his phone rings more than mine. I’m not exaggerating. Not one bit.

    I will admit I am slightly overly impressed that Even (can I call him Even?) knew how to direct dial voice mail. And this dates me as a little older than you but when I was in College I got my first answering machine and I remember agonizing over recording the greeting because I sounded so stiff.

  5. Yeppers! Even is a brilliant man! So how DO you dial straight to voice mail? Lots of times I’ll call people expecting them not to answer, just to leave a message. Then when they answer, I sound like an idiot…”Oh! Hello! I didn’t expect you to answer.” Well duh, why were you calling then?? It would be a very good trick to know!!

  6. Cute post…and yes, if Al Gore can claim the Internet then your man has the rights to claim texting!

  7. I think I am more amazed that you had voicemail as a freshman in college! I can’t even remember if we had it by the time I was as senior and I was at a pretty classy college. I do remember that we had a great feature that if you called and their phone was busy, instead of being busy, it would ring and then do a funny beep thing so you’d know.

    My French textbook that I use is about 10 years old and there’s a whole chapter about talking on the phone and the right things to say. The kids cant’ even get past the first page when there’s a picture of a PHONE BOOTH. They dont’ get what it is at all. And it was a pretty modern type, back in the day! Then they turn the pages and see the monstrous cordless phones that we used to use and there’s a *gasp* picture of a rotary phone there. Nothing like a textbook to prove that France is really some other planet. I’ve tried explaining how hip they are with their cell phones now and how they were so much more popular there long before they were here. But they just keep going back to the picture of the phone booth.

  8. Laughing out loud! So funny. Did we go to college together? And PS… is that where my husband learned the concept of bypassing a phone conversation with me by simply leaving a message?

  9. Soooo funny. My husband hates talking on the phone….well, kinda. I got a text the other day that said (and I quote) “Happy Birthday”. NO follow up call … no stopping by work to wish me a happy birthday in person (since I am house sitting and work evenings, we don’t see much of each other), however, when his brother calls…the conversation lasts hours and is about the SAME DANG THING EVERY STINKING TIME!!!! Now I need Even Steven to invent a phone that I can talk into and it will turn my voice into a text…wait, I think my 8 year old just told me they already have something like that. Another chance for you guys to be rich down the drain.

  10. Our husbands should be friends…or not. Soooo funny. My husband hates talking on the phone….well, kinda. I got a text the other day that said (and I quote) “Happy Birthday”. NO follow up call … no stopping by work to wish me a happy birthday in person (since I am house sitting and work evenings, we don’t see much of each other), however, when his brother calls…the conversation lasts hours and is about the SAME DANG THING EVERY STINKING TIME!!!! Now I need Even Steven to invent a phone that I can talk into and it will turn my voice into a text…wait, I think my 8 year old just told me they already have something like that. Another chance for you guys to be rich down the drain.

  11. So did you go to UC too?? We had those same phones my freshman year in the dorms! Hubby and I met there in ’99. :) Love your blog!!