Personally, I prefer to start my day off with a reminder that my youth is receding in the rearview mirror, and ahead lies arthritis and defending my lawn from whippersnappers. What's that, sonny? You'd rather not think about that? Then this video of a teen struggling with a rotary phone is not meant for your eyes. After all, there's nothing like watching baffled young 'uns prod at a piece of not-so-ancient technology to make you feel the weight of every year you've spent on Earth. On the flip side, at least you can snicker a little bit while internally confronting your mortality.
In early January, Louisiana resident Kimberly Phillips posted a video of her teenage son using an old-school rotary phone. Well, by "use" I mean "poke uselessly for two full minutes." Phillips' son, Braylon, had a seemingly simple task ahead of him: Call his mom's cell phone from the rotary phone she had set up. But while he can probably operate a smartphone in his sleep, the ancient mysteries of a dial phone totally stumped him.
"My kids have never used this kind of phone," Phillips explains in the video. "I don't even know if they've seen this kind of phone."
Needless to say, Braylon had a spot of trouble operating the 19th-century technology. His first mistake, tragically, was his biggest. For the uninitiated, rotary phones only work when you pick up the receiver, listen for a dial tone, then dial the number. Braylon assumed they worked like smartphones and immediately started dialing his mom's number, leaving the receiver in the cradle and sabotaging his own efforts from the start. The kid never had a chance — too busy cracking up, his mom wasn't going to correct him.
But Braylon didn't know that yet, so he struggled onward. After entering his mom's number — which he deserves a round of applause for memorizing, by the way — he picks up the phone and is greeted by the cold, unfeeling dial tone. Although he and his sister would clearly like to give up, saying the phone doesn't work, his mom convinces him to give it another try.
Attempt number two goes just as well. "Y'all went through this struggle to — argh!" he says before returning to the task at hand. His ability to dial an old-school phone may be questionable, but this kid's perseverance is impressive.
Honestly, so is his ingenuity. After grappling with his technological enemy for nearly two minutes straight, he phones a friend. That friend is his own trusty smartphone, which he uses to call the rotary phone to make sure it's actually working. That's when his mother, who spent the entire video cackling in the background, finally takes pity on him and stops filming.
She posted the video on Facebook, where it took off. By the time this article was published, the clip had been watched more than 13 million times and shared by more than 325,000 people.
The video is good for a laugh, but unfortunately, the comments section is a mixed bag. Some users called the teenager's intelligence into question, as if he was supposed to innately understand how to use technology patented in 1891. Several users came to his defense.
"I disagree with this. Teach him how to use it and he will do fine! Did he know how to ride a bike or did he need to be taught? Did he know how to use a microwave or did he need to be taught?" wrote one woman on Facebook.
So yes, the clip is hilarious, but name-calling is unnecessary. Besides, teenagers are always the ones who teach us old fogies how to use the latest, greatest iPhone. Unless you feel like spending hours Googling stuff they could explain to you in minutes, you probably don't want to alienate them.