Reach Out and Touch Someone

There was a day when long-distance phone calls were few and far between. They were special, costly, and often reserved for special occasions. Unlike college students today, who can communicate via talk, text, tweet, Instagram, Facebook, vlog, blog, FaceTime, Skype, and write the occasional snail mail letter, we were only able to call and write snail mail. Making a regular weekly call home was a special thing for me. My two sisters were still at home, and I loved catching up with my family.

During my college years (and beyond), AT&T had a great ad campaign called “Reach Out and Touch Someone.” Several of the commercials featured college students who called home to talk to their families. Not only was the ad campaign effective overall, it resonated deeply with me, because I was the exact demographic they were featuring.

I found a fascinating video of Chuck Blore, who was responsible for that campaign, on the website. The video is just under six minutes long. I think you’ll enjoy it:

This commercial jingle came to mind as I reflected yesterday on the experience of exercising with my daughter. She is away at college, but through the wonder of technology, we got to share a 30-minute phone call while we walked/jogged. The tagline for the commercials: When a faraway voice sounds as close as you feel. Yes. She is 350 miles away, but it was like she was right there with me.

I’ve lived a long way from home for quite a few of my years. I’ve missed weddings, births and funerals because we were too far away to be there. There were times, though, that we drove huge distances to be there for someone, and those memories are qualitatively different than the ones we acknowledged with a card or gift. I wonder if an actual telephone call is becoming these days what “being there” used to be.

Of course, maybe that’s just me. Phone calls these days are often inconvenient to receive, probably because our phones are with us everywhere from the library to the bathroom to the theater to church, and we are so often multi-tasking as well. But as sweet as texting with my daughter is, there’s nothing quite like talking to her to feel connected. I think I’ll do it more often.

Do you enjoy phone calls? Are they becoming more infrequent for you these days?

1 thought on “Reach Out and Touch Someone

  1. For a long time I lived by and near the phone. I told myself my life was too chaotic to be able to see people face to face, therefore, the phone. Many of my friends felt the same way, and I would be getting calls from the east coast when that friend was starting her day's chores and felt like talking to someone (10AM for her 7AM for me)
    The same happened when a night owl wanted to talk. Those time variations were interesting to say the least
    When Tom fell ill, I slept with the phone under the pillow. He would often call from ICU at two in the morning.
    Forward to now, I'm mostly turning the phone off at night since there's no one to call. I recently misplaced my Bluetooth and for the first time I'm not so eager to find or replace it. The quiet is kind of nice.


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