Coin That Phrase!

"Let Your Fingers Do The Walking"

by Deidre Green, age 18

It’s amazing, sometimes even humorous, how much you can learn just by hanging around in a newsroom. A few weeks ago one of our reporters was doing a story on coyotes in Madison. This reporter, (age 17) asked one of our editors (age unknown but somewhat older) how to reach a local Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources office. Our reporter wanted to find a phone number so she could track down an expert quote. When she asked the editor, the editor responded, “Just let your fingers do the walking.” None of us had any idea what the heck our editor meant by this.

It quickly became obvious that let your fingers do the walking is a phrase that everyone over 30 knows. And everyone over 30 is amazed that none of us have any idea what it means.

Let your fingers do the waking means to look it up in the phone book. In the 1960’s and 70’s it was a very common phrase used by the phone company (at that time there was only one phone company) in add campaigns and television commercials. And that’s how the phrase let your fingers do the waking was coined.