The emergency responders at 911 are getting a lot of bum calls these days.  Literally.

Of course, they have always received a lot of screwy calls.  There was the California woman who made an angry 911 call because Burger King served her a normal burger and not the Western Bacon Cheeseburger that she ordered.  There was the Nashville woman who, despite being warned to stop, kept calling 911 complaining that her boyfriend was refusing to marry her. And there was the drunk who kept calling 911 asking for “sexy female deputies” which although wrong, would make an excellent name for an all-girls rock band.

However, 10 percent of all frivolous calls to 911 are now considered bum calls. In the realm of emergency requests, these are officially known as “butt dials” from people sitting on their cell phones and inadvertently dialing in 911. The Toronto police department claims it is now getting over 300 “butt dials” a day.

Urban Dictionary definition:  “butt dial” is when your cell phone accidentally calls someone you did not mean to while on your person.”  I would define a “butt dial” as proof that your butt is a lot smarter than you have ever given it credit.  Think about it – when your rear end dials out on your smart phone, there’s no denying that you’re hauling around a couple of fairly intelligent cheeks back there.

Can you imagine your plumber accidentally “butt dialing” with his cell phone in the back pocket of his jeans while he’s bent over fixing the float on your sump pump?!?  And no matter how busy his hands might be, do not answer an incoming “butt call,” okay?

The result of most “butt dials” is annoying but harmless for the 911 responders who sit there listening to dance music or construction site sounds or babies gurgling with no one on the line.  Yet some “butt dials” are actually working out pretty well for the police.

When dispatchers in Portland, Oregon received a “butt dial” at the switchboard, they almost hung up until they realized they were listening in on a drug deal. Using GPS, they tracked the meth dealer to an alley just a block from the police station.  For possession and delivery of drugs, Raleigh Reynolds will be separated from his cell phone for several consecutive years.  And his nickname in prison will definitely not be Beavis, but close?

In Fresno, California, two young men were driving around when one accidentally “butt dialed” 911.  The dispatcher heard one say:  “Get the bolt and give me the hammer just in case.”  What followed was the smashing of glass, the theft of prescription drugs, the arrest of two stoners who were completely confused about their arrest after the cop revealed: “Hey, you called us.”  Please note that the police located them from their 911 conversation.  Stu and Stupid did not — I repeat — did not sit on the car’s GPS unit thus sending their “butt dial” coordinates to the police dispatcher.

“We’re good.  I got enough jewelry,” caught the attention of a 911 dispatcher as two lowlifes burglarized the home of a widow during her husband’s funeral service. The police were waiting at the pawn shop the burglars had discussed during their “buttock conversation.”

Similarly, two druggies talking on an accidental “butt dial” from a Waffle House in Georgia were arrested for possessing way, way more than the Pecan Waffle Plate with sausage and a side of grits.

Poor Douglas Wolaver of Sidney, Ohio.  Not only did his “butt dial” lead police to the house he was burglarizing, but— and if it wasn’t for bad luck this guy would have none at all—the low battery in his cell phone started beeping and gave away his hiding place too!

Similarly, in a forest in Arkansas, two female criminals alerted 911 police with an accidental “butt dial.”  Their exact location was pinpointed when the screen on their cell phone lit up in the dark.

A least one “butt dial” call has caused an ethical dilemma.  A woman in Winnetka, Illinois received a “terrifying cell phone call” from her husband who is a middle school teacher. He was driving home, listening to his hip-hop music on the radio when he accidentally “bum speed dialed” her. When she could get no response from him and hearing all the “gangster-like” rap, she believed he had been taken hostage and she called 911.  They sent the SWAT team to the school which then went into lockdown.  SWAT members invaded the school, brandishing machine guns and spent three hours searching for kidnap suspects.

My problem with this is that any time rap music is heard in public I think the SWAT team should be sent in!  Sorry, I hope that didn’t sound too personal, but wasn’t this music supposed to die a natural death like disco, grunge and that hootenanny crap?!?

For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of  Wainfleet, go to www.williamthomas.ca