What's In A Ring?

Sep 21, 2018

About fifteen years ago I heard a man’s phone ring and it played the William Tell Overture. This wasn’t a phone ring. This was a phone overture. Me, I’m old-fashioned. I set my smart phone ringer to the traditional sounds of, well, a ring.

In the old days the ringing of a phone was always the same, from coast to coast. But the same ring meant different things to different people. If you’d ever had the phone ring and gotten terrible news, then every subsequent ring augured dread. Back in my small Texas town the ringing of a phone was always welcome. So little happened of interest that at least the ring presaged something notable. Maybe Mrs. Scofield would tell our parents that her dog’s worms had been cured.

Today’s smart phones all have caller I.D., so there’s no mystery about who it is. There are so many rings, too: one for a text message, one for a Facebook Message, one for a new email, and (who knows) perhaps one alerting the owner to a new tweet by the President of the United States. Rings just aren’t what they used to be.

I’d recommend two old movies, “Sorry, Wrong Number” and “Dial M for Murder.” They both show how much suspense and terror can reside in the simple ringing of a phone. And nowhere in either film does the phone play Beethoven’s Fifth when it wants someone to answer it.

This is Tom McBride, and that’s my ringing Perspective.