Desperately Seeking Stan: Examining My Cell Phone Contacts


Someone named Stan is listed in my phone contacts twice. I have one entry for his cell and office numbers, and a second entry with his Hotmail address.

I have absolutely zero idea who Stan is.

I know these are old entries and not just because I can’t remember him. In fairness, I also cannot remember the last time I sent an email to anyone with a Hotmail address.

I do, however, recall when I would clumsily create multiple listings in my phone’s address book for the same person: one each for cell, home, and work; plus sometimes an additional one for an email address. I often had up to six entries for a single person, which defied logic even at the time. Don’t ask, please. I can’t even begin to explain why I did that.

I’ve fixed most of these abominations in recent years. One of retirement’s greatest gifts is the abundance of time to “noodle” over life’s mundanities, and my phone has received its rightful share of those moments. In spite of the fixes, I still occasionally receive calls from the awkwardly-named “Cousin Diane Cell” or “Paul Home,” which if I’m honest I do still find to be absurdly sentimental.

None of this helps to explain who the hell Stan is, though.

Each time I bought a new phone, they would automatically transfer the contacts to the new one, which I believe in turn might have also duplicated the entries a bit. Before I became an iPhone user, I owned a few different flip phone models, and that transfer process probably wasn’t very pretty. So this probably explain why Bob, a plumber I used back in Fresno, was listed four times until just a few days ago (he’s now deleted. Sorry, Bob).

I’m focusing on all of this right now because I have been spending lots of time cleaning even more of said contacts. The impetus for doing so is courtesy of a persistent and annoying telemarketer, who texts me at all hours trying to get me to buy his CBD products.

iPhone settings supposedly have a work-around for something like this, where one can filter messages from people who are not included in your contacts list. I enabled that feature, but I’m still receiving the guy’s spam messages. So this has prompted me to go through all of my contacts for editing, consolidating, and if need be, deleting. I’m on a mission to root out the trojan horse in my midst.

Stan, we hardly knew ye.

I must say that the whole process I’m undertaking is a bit of an eye-opener, this examining of people who I’m supposed to know. For instance, there are three — count ’em — three different people named Cindy, and only one of them is someone I can actually recall with any certainty: the appropriately-named “Cindy Dentist Receptionist.” How is it possible to have three Cindys in my phone?

Not so ironically, Gorgeous is wondering the same thing at the moment.

Another category probably worth mentioning here are dead people. Have you any still listed in your phone? I’ve so far encountered four, one of whom was a brother-in-law of mine that passed four years ago. I must admit that it was painful to remove his entry, yet it also made no sense to keep it in there. Someone else by now no doubt has been assigned that phone number, and it would be a little weird to call it by mistake. Or conversely, imagine the shock if one of those numbers actually called me again, and I hadn’t removed the entry and name assigned to it?

Amidst all this weeding of unknown people, yet another issue rears its head for your consideration: How do we determine what is an ongoing relationship? Is the mere existence of someone listed among our phone contacts proof that a viable relationship exists? Ignoring those who are included because of a service they offer (i.e., medical, home repair, finance, etc.), and for the sake of my marriage– certainly the now-deleted Cindys — the answer to this question for me remains an unqualified “yes.”

With only some exceptions (I assume they know who they are) do I feel comfortable removing any previous friends, colleagues, neighbors, or classmates. Call me sentimental.

Besides, there’s actually a very practical reason to keep old acquaintances listed: It’s quick and easy to recognize them on the phone screen if per chance they do actually call again someday. I’m certainly not going to remember the number, but I have a fighting chance if I see the name “Neighbor Brian” flashing.

What? You don’t care for the idea of nicknames such as Drummer Phil or Blogger Erica? Admit it: I bet you’ve also created some unique monikers for people. Come on, you six readers of this blog: Fess up below in the comments area.

As of this writing, I still have over 500 contacts on my phone. This includes all those duplicates I mentioned earlier, plus providers of local services in towns and cities where I no longer live. So there remains cleanup work yet to finish.

And in spite of all the people I am removing because I just can’t remember who they are, I admit to still being bothered by not knowing who Stan is. I’m keeping him in there because you just never know; I might hear from him someday. Stan, if you’re out there, give me a buzz.

For the rest of you, do let me know if you require any CBD products. I can apparently hook you up with some.

Until next time…

Source: Harvard University

53 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking Stan: Examining My Cell Phone Contacts

  1. OMG! I have 30 contacts on my cell phone. You are obviously more popular than I am although when I worked I had a flip phone that I never used so I didn’t accumulate work numbers. I have two Mitzi’s. Both are ditsy but one actually was called Ditsy Mitzi so that’s in my phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wait – was there some secret memo that went out during sleep to suggest now is the time for everyone to clean out cell phone contacts? Had to laugh. We must be pretty bored as we’re doing the same.
    Oddly I have 3 numbers for one doctor: the system appointment setting group in who knows what location, the actual office’s front desk, and then the real number for the doctor ( that may be answered by the office’s head nurse at times).
    Wonder if the phone will feel lighter if some of these old work/office numbers are deleted. You can always hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, the time on our hands during this pandemic, eh? I’ve been struggling to write SOMETHING that somehow doesn’t include it. But obviously this is tangentially-related. πŸ™‚

      Don’t even start on the number of old doctor offices I still have. The only thing missing are pediatric doctors from my childhood!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First off, I know who Stan is. He’s “Almost Iowa’s” next door neighbor who annoys him because he borrows so many tools and calls when he and the wife are having issues, but he makes great post material. Hit delete. πŸ™‚ I had to go check my phone, and I have 300 contacts. Now, that brought me to hysterical laughter because the only calls I get are spam. Anyone these days who is looking for me texts. I’m guessing I have an old MG list in there and now that you’ve brought it to my attention, I’ll need to find a movie and start hitting delete with everyone else. You also brought something up that I hadn’t thought of – Bob ‘the plumber.’ I usually put info in the notes section, but you may have something there because that would be easier. See, you’re doing some things right plus you entertained all six of us. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See, this is why I love fellow bloggers: you’ve explained who the mystery Stan is! I am grateful. πŸ™‚

      You’re in a far better position than moi if you “only” have 300 contacts. I’m sure once I consolidate, delete, etc, I’ll be somewhere in the area of a more manageable 200 or so. Even then, you’re right — I really only hear from like five people at the most.

      Glad to keep you entertained. Stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am Stan. I’m absolutely grief-stricken that you don’t remember me. LOL.
    I might have 15 numbers in my contact list. Several are children and children-in-law I never hear from.
    I get emails for that CBG stuff. I don’t even know what the hell it is.
    I get calls every single day for an extended warranty offer for my car and special deal for hotels. You know me. I can’t resist playing with them.
    I got one yesterday, and I feel bad because those poor people are just trying to eek out a living by scamming us.
    No wait. I don’t feel bad, so I decided to play with them. It was hilarious! Maybe I should post about it. (I’m so very evil.) 😈

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I periodically encounter names I don’t know and then vaguely remember they were someone I had a brief work relationship with. I’ve since deleted them, as I have no intention of ever calling them again.

    I also have one contact who fits your “old style” – Hana house cleaner. I actually like that that’s what pops up when she calls or texts!!

    And for some reason, I’m getting political texts from Arizona. I have no idea how I got on someone’s list for those. They are very annoying. Certainly not as interesting as your CBD texts!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Really? That’s so strange that they would confuse your phone like that. In 2018 I got some really insidious and racist texts just prior to that election, so I’m bracing myself for the same in a few of months. Ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, these calls seem to have replaced my longstanding calls originating from China that routinely left messages in chinese…
        Yet, hubby and I are very pro-active about keeping a low identity imprint on anything related to social media. Go figure.


  6. Oooh, another pandemic project – clean up my contact list! I have lots of “old” work folks in there that I really have no care to keep, probably a handful of duplicates, one or 2 who-are-you, and yes, I am absolutely stealing the nickname idea! And yeah, I know I have a few “dead” people too…those are gonna be hard to delete, honestly.

    I keep getting texts for Bob… who apparently wants that CBD oil. I’ve tried to block the number, but then it comes from another number. If you figure out a fix, do let me know.

    And, I checked… I have 731 contacts. I do not know 731 people to call! Project Contact Clean-up on the to-do list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll end up hating me within about 30 minutes of that project, Pat. It’s laborious work, ugh!

      Re: CBD oil. I know! You block and then they keep coming back with different numbers. The Apple iPhone method of only receiving text messages from people in your contacts doesn’t seem to work as far as I can tell.

      Good luck with your cleanup. And please don’t use my name in vain. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Merely FYI, I’m up to the “g’s” and yeah, finding people who 1) I have no idea who they are or 2) I worked with 6 years ago and haven’t connected with them since. Have not used your name in vain yet.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I keep few contacts in my cell phone, although at one point I had 4 women with the name Candy. It was a wake-up call for me to embrace the less is more philosophy regarding my phone contacts. If you ever figure out who Stan is, good for you. Probably a friend of one of my Candys.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, as a still employed person, I have an iPhone FULL of contacts (not quite the same as a binder full of women, Mitt). I keep the people who have died in the phone, but I append their name with “(deceased)” because I want to keep the related dates and related names in the phone and, thanks to Apple, in my calendar..

    Have you checked the area code or searched the phone number? If he has a hotmail account, you could also search on that to see what/who pops up. Finally, you could go into the Wayback Machine, Sherman, and see what is in there for both modes of contact.

    Back to my final 15 minutes of work. And, yes, I am creating a reference slip for these recommendations πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A friend of mine emailed me with the same procedure he has for people who’ve died. He wanted to keep the same information, which I think is a really good idea. Check that mark off for a good reference answer indeed!

      I did do a little sleuthing on Stan with Lord Google, and found a few clues. I think he may have been a contractor in DC who worked as a space specialist for a library. If that’s the case, his listing has been moved from I don’t know how many of my phone already! πŸ™‚


  9. “Stan, if you’re out there, give me a buzz.” Marty, was this a freudian slip? I mean…buzz….and related CBD products from Stan…

    And as one of your ‘six’ readers…yes, I have clever monikers for some on my phone contact list. ‘Amy the Landlord’ is one…to differentiate from ‘Amy next door’ who is a neighbor from almost 10 years ago that I haven’t talked to since around that same time…
    Guess I have some work to do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you’re a sly one, Laura. I should have known you’d be the one to call me out on that not-so between the line insertion. πŸ™‚

      It really is handy to create those nicknames, isn’t it? For a time, I sadly heard from “Cindy Dental Receptionist” regularly during a period of great drama with my teeth!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Gosh, Marty, now I need to go and check my contacts. I know I have duplicates in there and possibly a mysterious β€˜Stan.’

    And the resurgence of the telemarketer. None during strict quarantine. We are getting the daily calls again on a land line we never use. We keep our landline as a decoy phone so they won’t see/find our cell phones.

    Thank you for the shout out, Marty. I am humbled to still be in your LIVING contacts. πŸ™‚

    I clicked on β€œDrummer Phil.” You guys actually phone each other?!?!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laughing hard here, Erica. In my dreams I’d be a phone pal with Sir Phil! Thanks for being a sport about letting me include you in the post. πŸ™‚

      Gorgeous has a land line she uses for her business, so I guess that doubles as our “decoy” phone also (I love that phrasing, btw). It’s kind of sad that we really don’t use land lines like we used to. Really, the quality of the conversation on them is still better, I think.

      Thanks, Erica!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your post prompted me to look at my contacts (since I rarely use my cell as a phone, I haven’t paid much attention). I easily deleted about 10, and now have 180 left. Many are duplicates (listed both under their first name and their last name) so there is more work to be done. One dog. Yes, I have a dog, Bixby, listed in my contacts. I know a dog named Bixby… I even met her and her owner once. As far as I know, though, she doesn’t have a phone number (and there is no reason I’d have her owner’s number). I’m a little scared to call it to find out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hehehe Marty that’s funny but then I’m the same πŸ˜‚ they are named accordingly. Instead of last names they go per their trade…last night I was looking for the decking person and he was listed under Martin Wire Banister πŸ˜‚ no wonder I couldn’t locate him at first πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I too have hundreds of duplicates. I never understood why they kept growing….perhaps it is the phone upgrades. Since we just moved, I’ve added even more; “Frontgate”, “Rosa from NextDoor re Boxes”; “Jaun Lawn”, etc. I agree with Donna, you should call or at least text Stan. I once got a text asking me which Tracey I was. I love the photo of Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Juan Lawn has the perfect makings of a dancing song or ringtone. I’m thinking Caribbean steel drums, but I suppose a decent salsa beat might do the trick. Just give me a partial writing credit, please. πŸ˜‰

      I’m laughing hard at the “which Tracey” query you got. So many possibilities in answering that one, other than the obvious (“the most important one, of course!”).

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Enjoying this post immensely. Yup, I have many many contacts that I seriously don’t know who they are. But what if I SHOULD know who they are? So I don’t delete. And how do you know the count of how many you have under Contacts? I just counted over 40 – just in my “C’s”. Oh, and now as I scroll down I’ve found five dead people. But I love seeing their names – they are/were part of my life. Do I dare delete them? I don’t wanna. However, I now just found the name of a man who once did some business with my guy and I and he was MEAN and dishonest. We haven’t had anything to do with him for 7 years, yet not only do I have his contact, separately I have his wife’s contact. Yikes. Delete. Delete.
    uh oh, I just checked my S’s. Stan’s here too! Think we both know him???? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the best response yet! Love this, Pam. πŸ™‚

      I think there is something to keeping those you don’t like and/or those who may have mistreated you. If they deign to contact you in the future, it might be a good idea knowing it’s them so you don’t have to answer!

      Re: how many contacts. If you’re using an iPhone, you just need to scroll down all the way to bottom. It gives the total number there.

      The consensus so far is to keep dead contacts, which I sort of understand now. But honestly, I’d freak if that number (now reassigned) would ever call me and come up on my phone with the former name!


  15. Hopefully Stan is not writing you Eminem-style fanmail πŸ™‚

    (Not sure you will get that cultural reference)

    Also, my husband gets those same CBD texts! Specifically, he gets ads for CBD-infused gummy bears. He’s got a sweet tooth, but not that kind of sweet tooth….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have no idea how many contacts I have but now you have shamed me into doing my own clean-up. There are definitely a couple of dead people as well as dead-to-me people that need to RIP somewhere other than my phone! Thanks for the much-needed chuckle. πŸ™‚ Alisa

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Like Lisa, I have no idea how many contacts are in my phone. To make things even more confusing, though, I know that when I first got a smart phone the salesperson transferred my contact list from my email account so I know for sure that there are duplicate entries if only because the emails for some are one contact along with phone nos. for the same some.

    This contact cleaning has been something I have needed to do for both email addresses and phone numbers and is one of the few things i may actually be motivated to at least attempt/start during the lockdown (both present and future since here in Los Angeles county we’re back under stay at home orders for at least the next 3 weeks.) I’m a little worried, though about the possibility of becoming overzealous with the delete button i.e. hitting it mindlessly many times in a row. I also don’t know if clean out/up of email addresses and phone numbers can be done concurrently or if they must be done separately.

    The latter might be a safeguard against accidental deletion of all contact info for what I’m sure would be a very important person in my life, even if it would even more time-consuming. I guess, though, that there’s really not much chance of accidental fatal deletion of anyone with whom I have come into contact over the last 20 years or so. I mean, I still have paper phone books and lists of people I interacted with before we started not actually talking to people when we wanted to converse with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re getting closer, Sue. This one was only from August! πŸ™‚ Yeah, I hear ya about all the potholes one can hit about whether to delete contacts. In the end I pretty much opted to delete more than I kept. People I haven’t heard from in over ten years got booted!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks, Marty, for noticing how much closer I am with my comments to the time you actually posted. I am creeping ever closer, so maybe that’s one of the advantages of lockdown? I know we’re all looking for them!!

    Along that note, a belated Happy Hanukkah and New Year to you and Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

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