I got home the other day and there on my front porch, wrapped in plastic, was a copy of the Yellow Pages. I don’t know how you unsubscribe from the delivery list, but it seems like about every two years, I have to load up the trunk of my car with unused copies and haul them off to the recycling bin. If I knew where my delivery person lived, I would drive over and return the books.
I used to consult the Yellow Pages on a regular basis, and every once in a while, I still pull out a copy. But with the advent of the Internet and smart phones, it’s been a long time since I used one to look up a phone number. In the pre-Internet era, though, these yellow-paged books provided me with a great deal of entertainment.
Years ago I heard a song, “You Can’t Find Jesus in the Yellow Pages,” written by a singer stranded in San Francisco who was looking for some help. He realized that you can find just about anything in the Yellow Pages except Jesus. For some reason, that song has stuck in my mind, and every time I see a copy of the Yellow Pages, I think, “You can’t find Jesus in there.”
After making that connection, I developed a fascination with the Yellow Pages. (I know what you’re thinking: this guy has way too much time on his hands.) But, over the years, as I traveled across America, I had access to copies from virtually every region. I found some fascinating stuff between those yellow covers.
Grab your copy (if you can find it), and I’ll show you what I mean. If you look at the top of each page, you’ll notice the category headings. If the page includes more than one category, the beginning and ending categories will be listed, separated by a hyphen.
A few years ago, I was looking in the Yellow Pages for a plumber. I noticed that the top of the page read “Plumbing-Police.” What a great idea! The Plumbing Police could have a number similar to 911. Whenever you had a plumbing emergency, you would dial one number, like “777,” and the Plumbing Police patrolling in or near your neighborhood would be dispatched.
The following are actual headings from our local Yellow Pages of a few years ago. And no, I’m not making this up. The first is “Popcorn-Prescriptions.” I always knew popcorn should be listed as a health food. My theory is the more you eat, the healthier you are. And you know when it comes to popcorn, it’s not sugar that makes the medicine goes down, but butter. And how about this one: “Food-Forklift”? Among Baptists, this one needs no explanation. Then there’s “Muffler-Music.” That must be the kind of music today’s teenagers listen to. You have to put on earmuffs or noise-canceling headphones to deaden the sickening thump, thump sound that emerges from their rooms.
And what about “Hair-Hardware?” Being of the masculine persuasion, I can only imagine what that might refer to. Next come some religious headings. “Christmas-Churches” is listed on the left-hand page, but on the right is “Churches-Cigar.” I can guess what Christmas churches are, but the second heading must have something to do with deacons standing outside the church sending up burnt offerings.
The list goes on: “Pest-Pet,” “Motel-Motorcycles,” “Garage-Garbage,” “Fishing-Fitness,” “Airlines-Alcoholism,” “Abrasive-Accountant” and one of my favorites, “Window-Women.” (I have no idea what that last one means. I just think it sounds funny!)
The final combination in my Yellow Pages is “Youth-Zoo.” Sound familiar? If you have a teenager in your home, you may identify with it. Raising young adults is no easy task. But there are lots of resources to help you understand and avoid some of the teenage antics parents fear. You may know that I’ve written a book and workbook called Rite of Passage Parenting: Four Essential Experiences to Equip your Kids for Life. These and other great books can help you turn the challenges of raising a teenager into something you might find under the Yellow Pages heading “Chaos–Controlled.”
The one thing that will help your child most is a living, loving relationship with God’s Holy Word. There, they can find answers to life: “… and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).
Yes, the Yellow Pages were helpful for many things. But then or now, they never have all the answers, because … Jesus isn’t there.