The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 1 (April 1, 1940)
The Why and the Wire
The Why and the Wire.
So, when next you see a haggard man spring in the air like a wounded buck at the tinkle of a bicycle bell, do not jump to the conclusion that he has looked into a glass damply, not wisely but too often. When you espy a gaunt man with a haunted look in his eye and a pack on his back making for the nearest snowline, do not assume that some firm's Imprest Account is unlawfully in the red. Here is a man deserving of your sympathy rather than your blame—a refugee fleeing from the tyranny of the telephone and the baleful burr of the buzzer.
The telephone is truly the friend of man; but even a friend can grow pretty sticky if he rings bells and constantly shouts into your ear things which you would be a happier and better man if you never heard.
There is nothing wrong with telephones; it is the way they are used that gives us pain. Most people delight in conveying the worst of tidings by telephone and reserving good news for communication by the slowest methods known, even to telegraph boys. How often do you pick up the receiver and hear a voice telling you that your Uncle Tightwad has kicked the cash-register and left you a tub full of gilt-edged, platinum-plated securities? But if your house is on fire or your wife has gone on a permanent hitch-hike with a party of the third part the news will come at you over the telephone with the celerity of a homing brickbat in Ireland.
There are many business men who insist that the telephone, to-day, is a lethal weapon rather than an instrument.