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Seems like a sport: Remembering Mike Jones' phone number without really trying to

In this edition of "Seems like a sport," we examine the athletic viability of remembering (281) 330-8004, the most iconic cell phone number of the 21st century.

In his 2005 debut album, "Who Is Mike Jones?," Mike Jones makes a point of dropping his cell phone number early and often.

Like a lot of you, I tried calling this number, but by the time I did it had predictably been disconnected. Dialing the number today results in a recorded message:

The number or code you have dialed is incorrect. Please check the number or code and try again.

That's pretty presumptive, dude, because that is exactly the number I was trying to dial. Eight years after the album's release, I'm willing to bet that 50 people hear this message every day, and few of those people have to look up the number before dialing.

And that is how I have arrived at today's question:

Is knowing Mike Jones' phone number without really trying to a sport?

Earlier today, I asked Twitterfolk to complete a couple of simple surveys, and I found some interesting data:

  • Of 284 folks surveyed, 73 of them (25.7 percent) knew Mike Jones' full phone number by heart.
  • Of those same 284 surveyed, 24 of them -- 8.5 percent -- reported that they only knew between one and five phone numbers by heart, and one of them was Mike Jones'.

Competitive memory is firmly established in some circles as a true sport, and since this enterprise similarly relies on the retention of thoroughly useless data, it ought to at least get its foot in the door. It's certainly true that we aren't trying to remember that number, so we must ask ourselves whether it's possible to play a sport without meaning to. In response, I suggest you watch Starlin Castro play a baseball game, and then honestly ask yourself whether he means to play baseball.

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


Exhibit C:


OK, I think we've successfully put that argument to bed.

The word "sport," of course, implies competition. It's true that you are not a competing party. You are, instead, the field of play. In this particular exercise, the competitors are Mike Jones and your mom.

As of press time, 237 of y'all responded to the second survey, which asked you two questions:

1. Do you know Mike Jones' phone number (as established in the album "Who Is Mike Jones?") by heart?

2. Do you know your mother's phone number by heart?

The results:

  • 29 of you (12.2 percent) knew neither Mike Jones' number by heart, nor your mother's.
  • 117 of you (49.4 percent) knew your mother's number by heart, but not Mike Jones'.
  • 73 of you (30.8 percent) knew both numbers.
  • 18 of you (7.6 percent) knew Mike Jones' number by heart, but not your mother's.

A small percentage of us succeed in accomplishing something that is a) curious, and b) completely useless. Sounds like a sports-like endeavor to me. To the scoreboard (sports term):


1. Competitive memory is casually estimated as being three-quarters of a sport. (75% sport)

2. None of the competitors know they are competing. (Down to 20%)

3. A "remembering Mike Jones' number" career is eight years long and counting, which is longer than the average NFL career. (Up to 23%)

4. A "champion" of this sport forgets his mother rather than giving her credit, which is a decidedly non-athletic thing to do. (Down to 12%)


Further deconstruction is, of course, welcome in the comments. I am not an authority, merely one curious party of many.