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Playing With / Ripped from the Phone Book

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Basic Trope: A character rips out the page with the information they need from the phone book.

  • Straight: A man looks for a Mr. Connor and rips out p.65 Co-Cu.
  • Exaggerated: A man looks for a Mr. Connor and rips out the entire C section.
  • Downplayed: A man looks for a Mr. Connor and rips out the part of p. 65 that contains the information he needs to find him.
  • Justified:
    • Pre-internet: Anytime the character isn't a killer robot from the future with a photographic memory and doesn't have a pen and paper handy.
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    • Post-internet: The character used a store phone after losing their Blackberry and after trying to borrow a pen and paper from the store manager, the manager acted like a real tight-ass and refused so he spitefully ripped the page out.
  • Inverted:
    • A character leaves a message for another by placing it in a particular phonebook.
    • Organ black market dealers who you can find in the phonebook come and steal your internal organs.
  • Subverted: A character finds a piece of information in a phonebook and doesn't have any paper on them. You hear a rip. They've ripped out a blank page at the back to write on.
  • Double Subverted: The "blank" page at the back is actually just a very short Z section.
  • Parodied: An intrepid reporter rips out enough pages from a phonebook over the year to actually have their own phonebook. They just have to get one final page for it to be complete and go to rip it out. When they get back home, a new phonebook is in the post.
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  • Zig Zagged: A private detective needs some information and tries to get it from a phone book. He rips out the page and phones the number. It's the number to order a new phone book. Once it arrives he rips out the page on the back and notes down the address of somebody who isn't listed in the book.
  • Averted: The private detective always keeps a camera and pen and paper on him at all times.
  • Enforced: "Tonight, a Very Special Episode about the harm caused by damage to public library phone books"
  • Lampshaded:
    • "I wondered what sort of crazy world it was, where kids tore up public property. I promptly tore out the page from the public library dictionary. I needed the definitions for 'hypocrisy' and 'vandalism'."
    • "You're such an inconsiderate jerk! Did it not occur to you that other people might need the phone numbers on that page?"
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  • Invoked: A character buys an extra phone book each year so that they can rip pages out of it.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: A character rips a page out of a book but the store keep or librarian yells at them and forces them to tape it back in.
  • Discussed: "I could have ripped the page out of the book like a detective in the movies. Instead I wrote it down on a notepad like a detective who wasn't a jerk."
  • Conversed: "How comes nobody says "Hey you, leave my book alone!" when people rip pages out of books in movies?"
  • Deconstructed: A private detective can't find what he wants in the public library because so many people have torn out pages over the years. He goes to a bar but the barkeep says they don't bother getting any because people just tear out the pages. He finds another one at a liquor store but the store manager gets pissed at the damage to his property and calls the cops who are happy to waste his time with a trip in the paddy wagon because they are fed up with private detectives getting their noses into investigations.
  • Reconstructed: The smart private detective always makes sure to rip out the information so that nobody else can get to it. You've got a whole two sides to throw them off if they try to check it out.

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