Have you had any calls that show up on caller ID as a local number but when you answer, it’s a recording trying to sell a car warranty or help with pain? This trend is called ‘spoofing’ when they use a local prefix on the caller ID so that you pick up. Even if you’re on the “do not call” list, these calls can get through. Most of the calls I have received are recordings, however, we have had live people on the other end and pretty much all you can do is keep hanging up on them. It isn’t worth trying to call back because the number on your caller ID is not the real number for who called you. You can block the caller, though the calls never seem to come from the same number. In the past few years, I have had hundreds of these calls on my cell phone. Then this past week I received a vulgar text message from someone begging for no more calls. When I responded and shared that it wasn’t me calling but that my number had been spoofed, the person finally understood it. The only recommendation I can suggest is that you don’t give out your cell number, always mark ‘do not solicit’ on anything you sign up for, and be cautious of any promotions you receive by text. It’s a frustration that hopefully the cell phone companies will figure out soon. So if you’re being spoofed, take down the numbers, time and call your service provider and share your frustration.


Dating today

Things have changed since I was in the dating scene. In middle school, we used to pass notes asking a girl if they wanted to “go out”, and they could check a “yes” or “no” box. If the answer was yes, we likely never actually went anywhere, but might have talked on the phone. From my observation, today’s middle school kids might send a text message or Snapchat to indicate their interest in going out with someone, but may never actually have a face to face conversation during the entire relationship.

When we were on spring break, we struck up a conversation with a group of college-age women from Texas staying next door who were all wearing yellow caps and t-shirts that said “Bumble.” I asked what it was and they explained that Bumble is an online dating site, similar to Match or OurTime, and one of the women in the group was the college representative. I know that most single people around my age look to online dating sites to help narrow the field of prospects, but I guess I hadn’t considered that college kids were doing it, too. What ever happened to meeting on campus like in the dorms, in class or studying at the library, being set up by a mutual friend, at a party or though a co-ed broomball team? College seems like the easiest time of life to interact with others of similar age and interests in a close setting, but these girls reported it isn’t.

 It will be interesting to see if the dating scene ever reverts back to hours-long phone calls, double dates, or love letters sent through the US postal service mail.


Harvard study

A 1938 Harvard study called the Grant Study followed a group of 268 men for 80 years to research what makes people happy. It showed that close relationships help us live longer, healthier, happier lives. Relationships help “protect people from life’s discontents, help delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ and even genes.”

Our communities are built on relationships among people – with loved ones, friends, neighbors, and involvement in organizations such as churches, athletic teams or clubs, or volunteer endeavors. Check out the roughly 12-minute TED talk video by Robert Waldinger titled, “What makes a good life?” He recommends dropping the screen time and reaching out to people and investing in relationships. 


Carter Johnson is  publisher of Press Publications.

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