Is There a Modern Method for Hanging Up?

Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe and Ricky Bell in New Editions’ 1984 video for “Mr. Telephone Man”

Recently I made an call inquiring about a property and endured one of the most condescending and rude attitudes I’ve experienced in a while. Out of anger, I hung up on the guy, but I was still very annoyed. Somehow pushing the end button on my iPhone wasn’t enough for me.

As a child I grew up with an old rotary phone in the house. There were keypad phones at the time, but my mother preferred the classic design of the rotary phone, which as a kid, I didn’t care for. This version had a pretty heavy receiver, at least heavy for me when I was four years old. I used to drop it or even slam it down on the doc.

We finally moved to a keypad phone that was installed to a wall in the kitchen. As I matured and my friends started calling my house, I began to appreciate a feature about the phone that I, at the time, took for granted. It was the pleasure of slamming the receiver down on the base to hang up on people.

Hayley Orrantia as Erica Goldberg on ABC’s “The Goldbergs”

Few exercises of cathartic joy were as satisfying as hanging up on someone who upset you by smashing the receiver on the dock. There was a transfer of energy almost. Just a simple physical act of venting that absolved you from internalizing whatever upset you about the conversation.

Soon after the keypad phone we upgraded to a cordless one — now standard in many homes. Most cordless phones today stand upright on the dock, so slamming isn’t an option. But I would hang up and throw the phone on the couch or on my bed just as a release. It wasn’t the same, but it was adequate. Occasionally I get satisfaction from hanging up my business line, which has a lightweight receiver, but still can take a good bang.

Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood in the Netflix series “House of Cards”

This brings me to back to why hanging up on people on my iPhone is so unsatisfying — there is no dock to slam down on. It’s cordless, and now I make most of my calls outside and there is no way I’m going to throw a $1,000 phone down on the sidewalk.

I imagine the countless cracked mobile phone screens I see everyday are the result of frustrated people without a cool alternative to hang up who opted to smash their device against an unforgiving surface. We’re just stuck without a way to hang up on idiotic people in a manner that allows us to let it out.

If there are any developers or phone experts are out there reading this, take note; I need a way… um.. People need to hang up on jerks in a way that give us that pleasant feeling of release. I’m taking suggestions.

When it comes to hanging up on people with optimal gratification — is there an app for that?

John Slattery as Roger Sterling in AMC’s series “Mad Men”