When Parents Were Secretaries

Back in the days of land lines these interactions were inevitable yet still terrifying

Mookie Spitz
2 min readJul 11, 2022


Hysterically retro and often the case: Every time I called a friend (and especially anyone I was dating) the fear of a parent answering was huge.

Parent: Hello?
Mookie: Hi! This is Mike. [I always identified myself and hated when others didn’t extend the courtesy] May I [not “can I” because of course I can, here expressly asking for permission] speak to X?
Parent: Oh, hi Mike. How are you? X told me that you got high in the middle of a soccer game at gym class last week? Is that true?!?
Mookie: That must have been X’s other friend, Johnny.
Parent: Oh, must have been. Was that actually you, by chance, making all that noise in our kitchen at 2am on Sunday morning?
Mookie: Uh, I’m pretty sure I left by eleven on Saturday night…
Parent: Then it’s safe to assume that it wasn’t you who was puking in the downstairs bathroom?
Mookie: I think you heard the dishwasher.
Parent: I see.
Mookie: Is X home by any chance?
Parent: Let me find out for you. Hold on… [sound of phone being placed inside armpit or covered with a sweaty palm, and in the background a muffled] X! It’s your idiot [friend/classmate/boyfriend] Mookie! Didn’t I tell you not to let this moron call you at home?



Mookie Spitz

Chicago native now in New York City by way of LA. Hungarian parents, Korean kids, racks of electric guitars, shelves of Rubik's Cubes, and mountains of LEGO.