I have a problem. I can’t identify my cell phone ringtone. My default ring is the same one many people use. In public, I assume it’s another smartphone going off, I don’t receive many calls. At home, I’m left to scramble for the phone, searching wildly until my hand closes around the device as it sends the caller to voicemail. Grrr.
I’ve missed so many calls by milliseconds I should use the ringback alert Cake’s Never There for my purgatoried friends and family. Does anyone use ringback alerts anymore or are they tech dinosaurs totally extinct by the asteroid shower of text messaging? Come to think of it, I only really heard country music ones so maybe it was a regional trend. I digress.
I set out to fix my problem by downloading a new ringtone. It’s the closest I’m going to get to a leitmotif. Quickly the lava flow of hot choices buried me. I decided to browse systematically. I considered favorites bands and music styles and set deal breakers for the winning ringtone:
- It can’t drop an f-bomb or the like. What if this goes off at work or in line at Target? Awkward.
- It can’t be too mellow, remember I’m using it as a beacon in my ringing-cell-phone-search.
- Does it make sense on multiple levels? Is there more than one reason why I chose it, does it make me want to dance, will it amuse others if encountered in public?
I considered my options and started listening to song samples. I hit upon the Mission: Impossible theme early, an accurate portrayal of my frantic phone quest, but I’m already stressed. I don’t need to be on edge every time my phone rings.
Led Zeppelin, hands down, best intros. It was hard to pass up on Kashmir. Over done though probably.
Songs with decent bass seem to work well over higher pitches. Ice, Ice Baby would be great if it was all intro and no Vanilla Ice rapping. But then that’s basically Queen’s Under Pressure without Freddie Mercury singing. But then that song was the theme from Growing Up Fisher, which stupid NBC cancelled. Not bitter or anything.
Something uptempo would be great. Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Taxi appealed to me, but then I thought it’s going to remind me of driving around with my grandfather (RIP Rich Gramps.) I didn’t want to burst into tears of nostalgia as I answered random calls. Honk, honk. Sob. Next.
If my phone could talk: M. C. Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This. He was well ahead of the abbreviation craze, wasn’t he? Too ironic. Pass.
Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Under the Bridge caught my ears. But then I thought about it too much and remembered how the lyrics are really depressing. Cut.
Korn has a song titled Blind, but would anyone get the joke or would they be too started by the disruption? Not wise.
Then I hit upon a few TV themes. The Price is Right theme would be great especially if I could get the falling Plinko chips soundbite as a text alert sound, too, but I would never be able to time incoming phone calls for when I step onto the bus so I could run down the aisle giving high fives. Oh, and how clever would the mountain climber song from the Cliff Hangers game be when I’m downloading app updates? Maybe the game show should release a whole package of sounds.
Nah. No one has a better alert sound than the available Law & Order gavel/jail cell thunk noise. (The Holy Schnikes alerts from Tommy Boy are close, but the dramatic L&O wins out.)
After all that, for a few moments, I was mesmerized by the Unsolved Mysteries theme. Nah, too creepy. X-files would be best if I go to the darkside. Maybe I’ll save that for the fall, switch it up seasonally.
If I could change my office telephone’s ring, it would be “Ricky Gervais dancing” from–the original and better–UK version of The Office. (I couldn’t find the UK program’s theme song as a ringtone. Bollocks.) Even though no one would understand the grunting dance tune but me. Sometimes that’s enough.
I clicked around, entertained by the sound clips of tunes I forgot existed until I happened upon a good choice. Hmmm. I started comparing subsequent options to it and it was never defeated. There was no Wisconsin to this year’s Kentucky basketball team of ringtones for me. So, dear readers, problem solved. I now champion a new ringtone:
The intro of Superstition by Stevie Wonder.
Can’t top it, can you?
Do you have a special ringtone? Which awful ringtones have you heard? What music would you choose if you customized your ringtone? Tell me about it.