The Time Is…


Anyone remember POP-CORN?

I grew up in California, as most of you know. When I was young, we had a service called "Time." Time was a specific phone number you could call to get the current time in ten second intervals. A nice lady read the numbers off to you so you could set your clocks and watches, and have a friendly voice to talk to when you’re lonely. It didn’t cost anything — back in those days, all calls were local, which will give you an idea of what time period I’m talking about here — but later, when things weren’t so local anymore, they had different area code numbers for Time.

I don’t remember when I first heard the term "POP-CORN" for it. I don’t know whether I had emigrated to the Midwest yet or not, but I do remember being confused about it until someone showed me the number. It was Time, complete with the same lady’s friendly and familiar voice, but the phone number translated to the alpha-characters P-O-P-C-O-R-N. So, whatever area code you lived in, you could dial POP-CORN and get the time and date.

I guess the advent of cell phones and time synchronization via Internet, satellite and even atomic clock has made POP-CORN obsolete. Our phones update their times automatically now, and even update for Daylight Saving Time. Our computers do the same, so long as we have an open Internet connection available for them. And we generally use those to set our other devices which aren’t smart enough to do so automatically, like coffee makers and (oddly) alarm clocks. And what’s up with wrist watches that can’t do that by themselves? If a tiny cell phone can house the computing power it does and still do the updates automatically, I don’t see why a tiny transceiver for satellite can’t be built into a wrist watch for such a purpose.

No matter what, though, I’ll remember fondly the days of POP-CORN and the warm, friendly lady’s voice who told me tirelessly what the current time was in ten second increments. Another piece of my youth which has passed into the twilight of memory.

Kind of like my flat stomach and 29 inch waist.

Have a good weekend, y’all.

-jdt-

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2 thoughts on “The Time Is…

  1. I don’t know if you had this but in Canada we had the telephone trivia games. They were free and there were no prizes, just bragging rights with imaginary friends.

    Interesting! I don’t recall anything like that. We did have video game hint lines, though. We could get solutions for sticky games like Myst back in the day.

    Great way to pass the time.

    Sounds like fun!

  2. I don’t remember it being called POPCORN until later, but I do remember there were 2 “976″ numbers and I could never keep them straight. One was time, the other was weather.

    Then “976″ became naughty and I think the time and weather went away.

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