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A Letter: To The Previous Owner of My Cell Phone Number

Dear Dawn (possibly Dayna...but most likely Dawn),

You don't know me, I wouldn't expect you to. Under normal circumstances we probably have four degrees of separation and a common ancestor called Big Bertha. But oooh boy do we live in interesting times. We can now split the atom, we've managed to put a man on the moon (supposedly), and now we can constantly annoy almost anyone we want via smartphone. Ya see...this is where you come in.

I think I have you old cell phone doesn't quite sound right. It's more like: Your old cell phone number has ruined my life. Hmmm...close...but no signal. Let's hold this thing out the window and: Your old cell phone number is like a creepy-stalker who has invited 20 to 30 of his creepy stalker friends to obtain voyeur shots of my ear canal and post them online...perfect.

"Whoa...look at that eardrum."  What!!!  Dude...lemme see.

"Whoa...look at that eardrum." What!!! Dude...lemme see.

Let me explain everything from the beginning. I can still remember it like it was yesterday...though it was really nine months ago. I had "lost" my old phone in a tragic toilet flushing accident and was desperately in need of a newer, better smartphone. At the same time I sought to break the chains of my family plan cause...well...I'm a big boy now mom and I can pay my own phone bills. So off I went to the T-mobile store.

Perusing the T-mobile wares, I drooled over the selection; nearly going into shock once I reached the Nokias. Yet once my tech boner subsided, reason and budget constraints won out. I settled on a Samsung Gravity, 3G w/ touchscreen and only $150.00 if purchased as an upgrade. I sat myself in front of the cashier to pay for the new phone and sign off on a new number (consequence of paying my own bills). After selecting my new area code the cashier showed me the new digits bestowed upon me by the telecommunication gods. that I first glance the new number looked like a series of three sixes (666)...followed by a burning number seven (7). Yet, the illusion went away after blinking a few times and I attributed the incident to my Glaucoma.

"Oh how wrong I was."

"Oh how wrong I was."

The DJ

The first month and a half of smartphonedom went off without a hitch. I gave my new number (your old one) to all my previous contacts or at least the ones I still wanted calling me. In addition I could browse the internet effortlessly on my new device, I could play games with 3D graphics and avoid eye contact with anyone I chose to. Life was grand.

However things slowly began to change...for the worst. It started with the occasional call from a guy named DJ Extreme; a very excitable fellow with a penchant for using the word "hella." He seemed harmless at first, leaving messages in my voicemail box such as:

"Hey Dawwwwwn. The party last night was hella crazy.....just off the chain. I'm happy you made it out for me kid. Much love. Extreme out."


"Dawwwwwn, where in the world did you go???? I ain't heard from u in a hella long time. Hit me up...just to chat. Love, peace and hair grease. Extreme out."

Then things started to get strange...disturbing even:

"Yo Dawn, listen. Keith is looking for you. I told him you left town...but just in case maybe you should lay low for a while.....cause I know you don't wanna get "beaned" again. Extreme out."

"Oh God" I remember thinking. "Who the hell is Keith. And what does it mean to get "beaned?" As I sat up in bed late at night, imagining myself the recipient of some legume based form of torture, I decided to take action. I texted the following message to the extreme DJ:

"Hello Mr. Extreme, while I appreciate your concern over Ms. Dawn's safety there is one thing I can assure you of...I am not Dawn. I believe that she changed phone numbers more than a year ago and has since failed to update you on this newest development. If you would be so kind, please inform Keith and all of Ms. Dawn's previous associates of this change. Innocent Bystander out."

Thinking I could put my worries aside for at least one night I went soundly to sleep, only to wake up the next day with this message:

"Ohhh I get it. Plausible deniability. You've changed your number [wink, wink]. That's a good start. I'll call you every now to meet up though aight. Extreme out."

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The Dealer

Well DJ Extreme is a hopeless case. He currently texts me four times a week, inviting me to concerts and parties. Not bad for a random stranger. However, he's not the only unfortunate contact that I've made.

About four months after receiving your old phone number, I began to receive the most curious text messages. The messages all contained an image of a hand (open palm) holding what appeared to be a small sealed bag of a green leafy substance. The accompanying text went something along the lines of:

"Alabama Kush, one gram your price."

"Alabama Kush, one gram your price."


"Manhattan Silver.....$22 per gram.

"Manhattan Silver.....$22 per gram.

To date I've received about 26 such messages and replied to none. I probably should erase them but hey ya never know...I might need some extra help with my Glaucoma.

Present Day

So if I had to guess...if I had to profile you Dawn, I would say the following. You are in your late twenties to early thirties, medium to tall build, extroverted, likes to frequent bars and clubs, has a number of failed "relationships" with shiftless men of ill repute, 420 friendly...all year long, probably has a tattoo of a bleeding unicorn. Is this accurate?

On the other hand, maybe you are a reformed, former wild child. You know like Nicole Richie...except poor. By ditching this old number you were implicitly casting off the chains of your old life and your old connections. In which case...good for you.

Either way, I think the lesson here is clear. When you change phone numbers, tell your old contacts so that they don't harass some other unfortunate soul. I've gone through hell and a half trying to field unwanted invites and advances via text and phone call. Humph........Anyway, I've gotta go. Meeting up with DJ Extreme and Keith at a Bar Mitzvah, happy hour afterwards.

Justin out,


Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 13, 2017:

I've had my phone number for years and I still get people calling. I used to tell them the truth and that Derek (whoever that is) does not own this number anymore. Yet the same people call over and over and over again. Now i just say "Sure, he's in the shower right now, but when he gets out I'll have him call you. he has been waiting for your call."

Bill Scotts on June 05, 2015:

I had a similar problem, just I had prostitutes constantly texting me. It was the most annoying thing ever, but still kinda funny.

Ashley TKL on October 06, 2012:

Justin Muir,

I have gone through this too. The previous owner-a young doctor. After well over a year, I thought i was free then, Christmas came.. Anyway, good thing came through. I was able to help a few of these (female) doctor's associates in their plight.

I feel pity though, for those who got my number, many years ago. I had liked the idea of getting a new number when I lost my cellphone; to get rid of unwanted pests. Life was a party then and associates liked to pass my numbers to individuals who are interested to get to know me(even when I don't). It is natural not to inform these few individuals that I was no longer using the number. Just as I did; I think the new owner straightened that.

Thanks for this hub!

jessefutch from North Carolina on September 18, 2012:

This hub is great. I have almost this exact problem, except the person whose number I inherited almost two years ago owes a lot of money to many irate people. Some of them even have lawyers that have my number too. Also the DMV, the library, the National Museum in DC and three different local schools pay tribute to my number about once per week each... Truly funny hub. Very refreshing!

Justin Muirhead (author) from New York on January 20, 2012:

Thanks for the vote up and comment Vanessafunk. I've managed to block out most of the reefer pictures as part of my New Years Resolution, but a lot of random sketchballs still text. I guess I'll just deal with them one at a time.

And DougBerry....geez, that sounds worse than my situation. Being contacted by drug dealers and roughnecks is bad, but being hounded everyday for debts that aren't yours is ...I imagine...unbearable. Thanks for sharing. Want to form a support group?

DougBerry from Abilene, TX on January 19, 2012:

Years ago we ended up with a land-line number of some deadbeats that wouldn't pay their bills. They kept giving out their old number (our number) every time they got credit, pawned their overcoat, or stole something from someone. We finally had to get rid of the number. Creditors searching for deadbeats assume that it's really the deadbeat on the line lying about not being the deadbeat...

vanessafunk from Syracuse, New York on January 19, 2012:

This had my laughing pretty much the entire time. Great writing. Love your humor! I too have had old peoples numbers where creditors would call me and finally I'd just have to sit on hold (instead of hanging up) to tell them that this is not that person's number anymore and please take me off your call list! Haven't had anything to the degree you have though. Depending on your service and phone you should be able to block their calls and texts. I've done that before too. Good luck. Voting up, funny, and awesome! :)

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