I wonder if nineteenth century pranksters felt a similar loss when the telegraph lost its prevalence. But with the advent of caller ID and people not answering their phone when it’s a number they don’t recognize, it makes me a little teary eyed when I realize the fine art of crank calling has disappeared into the atmosphere.
A victimless crime if there ever was one, the crank call allowed youngsters to dip their toes into mischievousness without suffering any real consequences. Adults warned us the phone company would track us down, but they never did.
Pick a random number, or look in the phone book for a funny name, or if you really felt daring call someone you knew and try to disguise your voice. The joke would only last for a moment before you had to laugh and then hang up the phone.
Years later I was exposed to crank calling elevated to fine art by mixed tapes of The Jerky Boys. It gave new ideas such as putting on phony accents and going with the flow of whatever the stranger you were calling would say back to you.
But ow it is impossible. Unless you switch it up and be a crank answerer. When telemarketers call you or bill collectors use those crank call skills to aggravate them instead of letting their petty time wasting get to you.