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The Day the Bell System Died

Here are some not-so-serious items collected on the topic of the end of Ma Bell.  Enjoy!

First, a song from the American Comedy Network called "Breaking Up is Hard on You."  If you have trouble with the streaming audio on that web site, we've archived the song in MP3 format and you can listen to it by clicking HERE.  (Note: Some of the lyrics are PG rated.)

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"The Day the Bell System Died"

Lyrics by: Lauren Weinstein
Tune: American Pie (Don McLean)
Date: 1983

Long, long, time ago,
I can still remember,
When the local calls were "free".
And I knew if I paid my bill,
And never wished them any ill,
That the phone company would let me be...

But Uncle Sam said he knew better,
Split 'em up, for all and ever!
We'll foster competition:
It's good capital-ism!

I can't remember if I cried,
When my phone bill first tripled in size.
But something touched me deep inside,
The day... Bell System... died.

And we were singing...

Bye, bye, Ma Bell, why did you die?
We get static from Sprint and echo from MCI,
"Our local calls have us in hock!" we all cry.
Oh Ma Bell why did you have to die?
Ma Bell why did you have to die?

Is your office Step by Step,
Or have you gotten some Crossbar yet?
Everybody used to ask...
Oh, is TSPS coming soon?
IDDD will be a boon!
And, I hope to get a Touch-Tone phone, real soon...

The color phones are really neat,
And direct dialing can't be beat!
My area code is "low":
The prestige way to go!

Oh, they just raised phone booths to a dime!
Well, I suppose it's about time.
I remember how the payphones chimed,
The day... Bell System... died.

And we were singing...

Bye, bye, Ma Bell, why did you die?
We get static from Sprint and echo from MCI,
"Our local calls have us in hock!" we all cry.
Oh Ma Bell why did you have to die?
Ma Bell why did you have to die?

Back then we were all at one rate,
Phone installs didn't cause debate,
About who'd put which wire where...
Installers came right out to you,
No "phone stores" with their ballyhoo,
And 411 was free, seemed very fair!

But FCC wanted it seems,
To let others skim long-distance creams,
No matter 'bout the locals,
They're mostly all just yokels!

And so one day it came to pass,
That the great Bell System did collapse,
In rubble now, we all do mass,
The day... Bell System... died.

So bye, bye, Ma Bell, why did you die?
We get static from Sprint and echo from MCI,
"Our local calls have us in hock!" we all cry.
Oh Ma Bell why did you have to die?
Ma Bell why did you have to die?

I drove on out to Murray Hill,
To see Bell Labs, some time to kill,
But the sign there said the Labs were gone.
I went back to my old CO,
Where I'd had my phone lines, years ago,
But it was empty, dark, and ever so forlorn...

No relays pulsed,
No data crooned,
No MF tones did play their tunes,
There wasn't a word spoken,
All carrier paths were broken...

And so that's how it all occurred,
Microwave horns just nests for birds,
Everything became so absurd,
The day... Bell System... died.

So bye, bye, Ma Bell, why did you die?
We get static from Sprint and echo from MCI,
"Our local calls have us in hock!" we all cry.
Oh Ma Bell why did you have to die?
Ma Bell why did you have to die?

We were singing:

Bye, bye, Ma Bell, why did you die?
We get static from Sprint and echo from MCI,
"Our local calls have us in hock!" we all cry.
Oh Ma Bell why did you have to die?

 

 

 

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