rolodexThe Rolodex


I couldn’t sleep the other night. I couldn’t sleep because so many unresolved issues of the day suggested that sleeping was a reward I had not yet earned. So many things were dancing in my head, with the exception of visions of sugarplums, as I always save that one for Christmas Eve. No the cause of my insomnia was far less poetic.

I had crafted the most beautiful email ever composed but was reticent about sending it, so it just sat there in my draft folder. The title of that draft was “Dear cable company, WTF”   I was also consumed with an exchange with a waiter months ago. He had asked me if I would like fresh ground pepper with my salad, and I inexplicably had replied “no”, not remembering I really like pepper. I was agonizing over the rudeness I displayed to the telemarketer who had called me at 9:30 pm. He was just inquiring about my debt and if I had simply given him my pin number, all financial problems might have disappeared.

So I did what I always do when I cannot sleep. I put the TV on and watched a black and white movie. Well the movie, whose title I can’t remember, was all about retrieving some executives rolodex, because, well again I can’t remember why this was important, but it was intricate to a plot that lasted ninety three minutes. Well the semi conscious state I was in got me thinking in a semi conscious way.

I harkened back, as I tend to harken a lot when I’m tired, to a time where popular people in business grandly displayed their thick rolodexes on their very clean desks. This little carousel of information was the lifeline to a behavior we now call networking.

Rolodex thickness was a sign of prestige and importance. Kind of like the number of friends you have on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but in a more logical alphabetical order. The tactile quality of touching the people’s cardboard information is a feeling lost in the world of LCD (liquid crystal display) or LED (light-emiting diode). Cardboard seems to now just be something that quickly fills up your blue box.

Allow me to pause, and remind each of you that you are actually reading an article about the rolodex. I would scold you for your poor judgment but I realize that might encourage you to get back to work in your rolodexless world. Clearly the sadness of this new reality I am gently exposing, will keep you gripped to the next few paragraphs.

I come from a middle class family that only dreamed about rolodexes. My very organized mother and even more organized aunts had the pedestrian version to this reference we called “the address book “. This handy little book housed all the vital information the family needed. Nieces and nephews received birthday cards because of this alphabetical reference. Now this little black book had it’s limitations. All inputs were in pencil as people kept moving and changing their bloody phone numbers. Females would get married and last names changed their alphabetical status in the reference. An eraser assisted edit was a weekly exercise. Pages got tattered, and occasional ink inputs were messily scratched out to maintain the integrity of the book. The thought of acquiring a new book was never considered as the work to transfer the family historic information was just a tad too overwhelming for the ladies in aprons who had baking duties to perform.

You might be saying there couldn’t possibly be anything more to say about the rolodex. You would be wrong!

One of the more intriguing characteristics of the Rolodex was it’s versatility. What I have not mentioned purposely was it’s portability option. One could take the holed piece of cardboard right out of the carousel. Yes unlike the address book you could walk around your office holding the client information independently, not effecting the other cards in the circle of life. Placing that card back it it’s rightful position was usually the reponsibility of the horn rimmed spectacled middle aged lady they use to call secretaries.

Flipping a rolodex while spinning a pencil was an activity only the most experienced executives mastered. Well I am thinking that’s pretty well all I can say about the rolodex… but this time I’d be wrong!

There are no words in the English language that rhyme with Rolodex. PoloMex does and though that is a catchy underused nickname for the Polo team from Mexico, it has fallen out of favour because of a not so subtle political incorrectness.  Also that sport isn’t as popular in that country as one might think.

Note:  I like my blogs to be about 1000 words and I am only at 874 as I type this. Shakespeare said “Brevity is the Soul of Wit”.  Shakespeare said a lot things which is why he spent a lot of weekends alone gazing at the River Avon.  And what’s with calling the Avon River the River Avon anyway?  Those British are so uppity and I swear they do it just to impress.  Thankfully after the American Revolution, once the English were exiled, the River Mississippi got it’s original name back as an “in your face” way to celebrate the hard fought victory. Okay I am at  912 words.

Well the time has come to reach some kind of insightful conclusion about a topic I really never should have addressed.  Next time you hear the song Spinning Wheel by Blood Sweat and Tears, you might think of the poor forgotten Rolodex. Even if you don’t ride a painted pony and let the spinning wheel spin, think of the Rolodex. In my desire to be innovative, unique and groundbreaking I predict this is more than likely the first article you have ever read about the Rolodex, as you hope it’s your last.


Cue the Blong   This whole Rolodex thing gets me very nostalgic.  We more experienced adults, often think romantically about the good old days.  Not an accurate reflection but more a comforting way to remember.





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