Turn off your cell phones and…pagers?

I read this request from time to time on movie screens, or hear it before a church service or performance. And every time, I’m like, “why do they still say ‘pagers’?” …unless they’re addressing all the doctors in the house (?!) It always brings me back to the days before cell phones – when I had a pager of my own.

It wasn’t mine, though. Ricky & I were 19 – he was madly in love with me, in ’96, and as a token of that love, he gave me a pager- so that he could page me – or page messages to me from his pager. I know we weren’t the only ones to do this back in the day, but that was some fine, primitive texting, right there…with a bonus feature ~ unravelling the mysterious code.

See, the typical message we’d send to each other was of course, in all numbers. So whenever I got a message from my boyfriend, I’d stop what I was doin’, pull over, or go somewhere semi-private (which i recall many times being “The Donut King” by Papa Murphy’s on Boones Ferry Rd. in Tualatin, OR), then pull out my little cheat-sheet for decoding, and finally, read his message with a sense of satisfaction & a giddy smile.

What was the code? Well, pure genius; the numbers would correspond to the numbers on a phone pad (1 was never used, 2 was A, B or C, 3 was D, E or F…) so with each number … came 3-4 letters to choose from.

I’d skillfully line up my 3-4 ltr choices, one under the other, so that each word would be solvable vertically – kinda like a word-search, but…well, this is getting to hard to explain. I think I’ll just get him to manually demonstrate! He just sent me the following message:

588 8 69 382426

And I had to figure it out on paper, so here it is!


(and a close-up…)


Awwwe! That’s been his name for me since way back then – it’s short for: “Dubian Princess”. I don’t think that’s a real word. I think he coined it – but I’m pretty sure he got it from the similar term, “Nubian Princess” which after looking it up in the Urban Dictionary, I just realized means: “A luscious A-town chick who gets more booty than a toilet seat.”

Um…well, that’s cool…cuz I’m not his Nubian. I’m his Dubian. And I just IM’d him to ask what that means to him, & he said “Precious Princess”.    ; )

Also, a little coding side-note: our patented sign-off was 143 – betcha couldn’t guess that one – OK, I’ll help you out. These correspond to how many letters are in ea. word:

1  = I

4 = love

3 = you

…and to that, the other would always reply, “1432” (2 = “too”), & usually end the message with: 4L (4L = “for life”). So that was our archaic secret messaging system. (Again, ours as well as thousands of other couples, I’m sure). But I think I’d rather stay in my dreamy romantic denial…so don’t tell me if you did it too.




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