The Twisted Library — March 20, 2015 at 12:44 pm

This Is What Happens When You Make Your Phone Number Public: A “Textastrophe”



Since the creation of cellular phones, or at least the creation of texting, communication between people has changed pretty significantly. Yeah, arguments get blown out of proportion and everyone’s tone is misread, but that’s not the type of change I’m talking about, nor is that the type of change Matt Andrews addresses in his (extremely funny) book Textastrophe. The change I’m referring to is the one that exists within the realm of pranking people. Oh, yes. Phone-pranking people has become even more detailed, sophisticated, anonymous, and hilarious since texting was brought into the equation. And texting pranks is exactly what Andrews’ book is all about.

Before I actually started reading the book, I flipped through it quickly just to see what kind of read it was going to be. Turns out the entire books is comprised of pictures made to look like screenshots of text conversations between people. I was immediately interested because, one, that’s different from any other sort of book I have ever read and, two, let’s face it, almost everyone I know loves reading texts, especially between other people.

Upon opening the book, the reader is faced with a page that says “Let me help you out!” and instructions for tearing off part of that page to help cover subsequent pages throughout the book. This is to prevent readers from accidentally glancing over on to the next page and reading ahead in the text conversation, unintentionally ruining it for themselves. I feel as if this is the type of genius that should be at the beginning of any book. Countless times have my eyes betrayed me by jumping over to the next page of a book and reading a few sentences that give away everything. Good one, Matt Andrews.

In the introduction to the book, Andrews tells the story of how he came up with the idea, and what led him to turn it all into a book. I was surprised to find out that every single text prank conversation in the book was done by Andrews, himself. I had assumed it would have been a compilation of text pranks done by various people that the author had gathered and put together. Nope. They were all created and texted by him. I was fascinated by this type of commitment, and pretty impressed, as well.

The book is separated into sections based on the type of people he is pranking. There is “Management & Leadership”, “Wanted: Items”, “Wanted: Services”, “For Rent”, “For Sale or Trade”, “Services: Skilled Trade”, “Services: Education and Learning”, and “Services: Gigs.” The table of contents basically reads like the homepage of Craigslist, but that’s almost the point. Andrews is pranking anyone who has left their numbers available to the public, something that is a good deal more common than one would think (Andrews makes this very apparent.) In the management section, I found it pretty amusing that almost every single manager or person of authority whom Andrews pranked began the conversation with utmost professionalism, but the farther into the prank they got, they were broken down. Every one of them was reduced to swearing and name-calling. The “Wanted” chapters were absolutely hilarious—I was laughing out loud at one person who happened to be looking for a graphic designer for an Italian restaurant. Let’s just say the designs Andrews came up with involved a sausage and were pretty…tantalizing.

I couldn’t help but admire the commitment and dedication that was put into the majority of these “textastrophes.” It also struck me as funny how angry everyone became. Not one single person who was pranked had a sense of humor about the situation. Basically everyone ended up calling him a jerk or telling him to get a life or even threatening to call the police. It makes me wonder if they already had experienced prank calls and texts from making their phone numbers public, and were at their wits’ end and regretting the decision at that point. This fun book is a great source of entertainment and the perfect thing to read when you need a little pick-me-up and a great laugh. Not only that, but it also acts as a warning- proceed with caution if you decide to make your phone number public!

Twisted Talk: Have you ever been the recipient of a prank text? Tell us your funniest text stories!

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