This season, on an episode of "The Sopranos," a mobster attempted to kill a female by shooting her with his gun, but the bullet failed to reach its intended victim. It was stopped by of all things, a phone book.

The trigger man then said something witty like, "You were lucky, the bullet only reached the Rs."

I'm that person who when I hear about a driver hitting a deer, my first question is, "But, how was the deer?"

So, was that bullet laden phone book a total loss or was there still life in those yellow, white and blue pages?

Everyone now stores nearly every number they'll ever need into their cell phone, palm pilot and all those other handy devices.

Sure, it is quite simple to look up a phone number for anywhere in the world by clicking on a computer.

But for local numbers, the yellow pages are the be all and end all for me.

My desk is piled high with a dictionary, a local road atlas, the AP Stylebook, a thesaurus, the area Chamber of Commerce guide and, on a growing daily basis, a copy of The Phoenix is added to the mix.

Everything has a tendency to become engulfed and covered by the daily onslaught of newspapers, except for the phone book. That source of valuable information gets used on a daily basis, and it usually sits on top of the pile while everything else tends to sink to a depth relative to its recent use.

It's all there - phone numbers, addresses and spellings. Often during the public comment portion of a meeting someone will quickly give their name and address. The phone book is a nice double check for spelling against an impending deadline.

Government offices are located in one convenient section - the blue pages - which makes for happier fingers doing the walking.

There is something intriguing about taking that huge book and whittling down a search to a single number from among the hundreds of thousands of choices.

Without alphabetical order the phone book would be a real mess.

Its bulk is substantial, though I've never attempted to rip one in half.

What would we do if we didn't have the New York City phone book to make comparisons to? For reference, we will always need to know the number of trees used to produce a particular geographic area's worth of phone books.

The size of a community might be easily judged merely by looking at the girth of its phone book.

As a ninth-grader, I wrestled at 97 pounds and was often kidded that I'd have to sit on a pile of phone books to see above the wheel and drive a car.

I asked the only girl in the school who was shorter than me to the prom and she wore high heels and towered over me. I could have used a few phone books to rise above her in the backseat while my father drove.

Unlisted numbers make me cringe.

Unfortunately there are no approximates when seeking a listing - that spelling must be exactly correct.

A copy of the floor plans for stadiums and theaters might also be available on the Internet, but for quick, easy access, I'll take a Xeroxed copy from the phone book.

Ever wonder why there is a charge to have an unlisted phone number?

It's free to nearly everyone except for the advertisers. Sadly, fewer people tend to boldface their listing so that it stands out against the pack. It's a toss-up whether a separate section for businesses only white pages makes it easier.

Doctors, lawyers and pizza shops listed in the yellow pages make for easy comparative shopping.

Why do lawyers feel the need to take out full page ads? Have they no shame? When someone needs a lawyer at 3 a.m. do they find great comfort in being able to choose from a photo gallery for someone to wake?

Yes, all those trees are sacrificed. True, every year another book comes out with new ads and numbers which are mostly redundant.

But, if it only occasionally saves me speaking to a machine and then to an operator who is compensated extra for rushing through my inquiry (and with my paying for it) then I'll stick with the old-fashioned phone book.

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