Comments: How Many Fingers?

Yes, it existed in the US in 1997. Go here:
and scroll down to "Computer fraud in subscribing to telephone service?" The query is dated May 23, 1997 and refers to *69 as a money-making scheme for the telephone company.

Yes, my google-fu is awesome :-)

Posted by kmkat at January 18, 2009 2:33 PM

Does it help you to know that I graduated high school in 1996, and I distinctly remember conversations revolving around *69 while I was in high school, so it is therefore safe to assume (based on my memories of high school, however safe that is) that *69 did actually exist back then?

Posted by Stephanie at January 18, 2009 2:46 PM

It positively existed as early as 1991, because I can clearly remember using that feature when my oldest child was a wee baby and he was born that year.

Posted by Heather Porterfield at January 18, 2009 3:01 PM

I also recall using *69 in 1997. I was in high school, and it seemed very important because what if a BOY was trying to call me but lost his nerve and hung up when I answered the phone because he was so hopelessly in Luuuuuurve with me?

That would have been a tragedy.

So, yes, there was *69, and yes, it was fairly common knowledge.

Posted by megan at January 18, 2009 3:19 PM

REM released their song "Star 69" on the album "Monster" in the early Nineties, right? So definitely by 1997.

Posted by Marla at January 18, 2009 4:05 PM

Another here who remembers *69 as early as 1991 and has vivid memories of using it in grad school. That would be 1991-1993, so you're way safe.

Posted by Donna at January 18, 2009 5:01 PM

OK it weirds me out that I was about to come reply and say something about REM's Star 69, and someone else already did it - someone with my name! I guess all Marlas are cool...

Posted by Another Marla at January 18, 2009 5:55 PM

I am 100% SURE that I used *69 myself in 1991 and therefore 99.99999% confident that it existed in 1997! So, I agree with the peanut gallery!

9) I am craving Sushi after FTK post, but am now afraid that Googling it will dash my hopes of finding it...

Posted by bowdawg at January 18, 2009 5:59 PM

I used *69 in college for sure, from which I graduated in 1991. Also, in England it is called something else.

Posted by Juno at January 18, 2009 6:22 PM

On the restaurant/menu thing... I have found that if I go to and type in the name of the restaurant and the city, the first thing that comes up is usually that restaurant's information, which includes a link to their web page / menu.

Posted by toni at January 18, 2009 6:38 PM

I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't even know what you were talking about, the *69 thing. Guess I've never used that fone feature.

But, I can tell you that point no. 9 shouldn't be ignored! 9 is my favorite number. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that I'm 9's favorite person. I was born on a 9, two of my three birth children were born on a 9 (the other one, impatient little thing, was born on an 8). Nine is three times three and three is an important symbolic number. Hmmmm..... now I'm thinking there's a book idea in there somewhere.... about a person and her numbers..... I'm going off to ponder.

Posted by Laume at January 18, 2009 7:04 PM

9. *67

Posted by jean at January 18, 2009 7:25 PM

*69 existed in the (gasp) 80's, because I remember talking about it in high school. I found this page that talk about the history of TouchStar services, which began in the 1980's, although it wasn't available everywhere.
(I can't help myself. I passed Google, and it loves me.)

As for 9 - well, back in the 80's I listened to a song called Kiss Off, by the Violent Femmes, and if I remember correctly 9 was for a lost god. Or a floss job, if you were a teenager with bad hearing. I forget what 8 was for.

Posted by Sandi at January 18, 2009 10:09 PM

I am very embarassed to admit this but when I first read this neat and tidy list and got to number 5... I missed the *. It's imparative to notice the * in number 5 - otherwise one's mind read's like this "I need to know---rawther desperately, plot pointily speaking---if 69 EXISTED in 1997" and one's mind jumps into the gutter and answer's like this "uh, yeah... I know FOR SURE it existed LONG before 1997"

Posted by Rene at January 19, 2009 12:16 AM

um. Yeah. I'm with Rene. PAY ATTENTION TO THE STAR part of your request. 69 existed. Couldn't care less about the star part ;-).

Posted by kathy n at January 19, 2009 12:23 AM

Yeah, I was a little with Rene, then when I figured out your question, I was calculating where I was on the childbirthing order in 1997, while all of your readers were, like, figuring out, like, how cool they were in high school? Oh, dude... I am WAY old...

Posted by Sarah S. at January 19, 2009 12:35 AM

I'm with Rene, I missed the * part, too. I'm thinking, "How sheltered is Joshilyn that she thinks maybe 69 wasn't around until the late 90s?" But, oh yeah, *69, phone thing. Got it now. Sure.

Posted by Becca at January 19, 2009 1:37 AM

9) Is take-out sushi safe?

Posted by nik at January 19, 2009 6:41 AM

My husband thinks I'm the Google queen, but that #7 gets me every time. I find it extremely irksome!

I'm so half asleep I didn't even remember to be a perv with the *69, I accidentally thought of some baseball movie (which was actually 61*)

But maybe I used up my 10-year-old-boy-perviness last night guffawing over a "King Kaulk" advertisement in a magazine (you have to read the choice bits out loud to properly appreciate them)!

Posted by Brigitte at January 19, 2009 7:47 AM

OMG, I thought I was the only one who thought 69 instead of *69! Hahahaha!

Posted by Caren at January 19, 2009 2:41 PM

Oh yeah, another one of those high schoolers here, who thought *69 was the awesomest thing in 1997.

Hope you got some take out sushi. I lurve me some good sushi.

Posted by Lindsey at January 19, 2009 2:54 PM

OK, I am very glad others have replied to this to confirm the *69 point. Because *69 doesn't 'work' as a phone thing in England - we do 1571 - and I really couldn't tell you if that had been invented by 1997...

Posted by Frankie at January 19, 2009 5:26 PM

Well, thanks to a high school stalker (I graduated in 1998, if that helps), I do know that it was indeed around in 1997. And before that. As you already know, but since you helped dredge up the memory, I wanted something good to come from it. *winks*

Posted by jess at January 19, 2009 7:05 PM

I am so glad I decided to de-lurk! I was going to assure you about the *69 thing, instead I'm the one finding reassurance... I'm not the only one with my mind in the gutter!

Posted by Tina at January 19, 2009 7:07 PM

I am singing from the Life of Brian...because when ever I come here I leave in a joyous mood.

Posted by Cele at January 19, 2009 10:21 PM

I was going to wow you with my uber-librarian skillz and find you verified, citation-worthy proof for the existence of *69 in 1997. Alas, not needed.

I am going to put my pajamas back on and go back to bed now.

and I am so psyched that you are writing another book. write faster! (is that helpful?)

Posted by babelbabe at January 21, 2009 12:15 PM