Ever since Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876, there has been a need for one device to connect to the other: enter the telephone number. Even though a phone number may look different in every country around the world, it is the one great connector to us all, a unique ten digit code that anyone can punch in and contact us. Phone numbers weren’t always ten digits, and they used to not even exist at all. The origins of the telephone number are fascinating, and worth a read through the entire wikipedia entry on the subject, but this passage really stands out:

The latter part of 1879 and the early part of 1880 saw the first use of telephone numbers at Lowell, Massachusetts. During an epidemic of measles, the physician, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker, feared that Lowell’s four telephone operators might all succumb to sickness and bring about a paralysis of telephone service. He recommended the use of numbers for calling Lowell’s more than 200 subscribers so that substitute operators might be more easily trained in the event of such an emergency. Parker was convinced of the telephone’s potential, began buying stock, and by 1883 he was one of the largest individual stockholders in both the American Telephone Company and the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Your telephone number becomes a unique extension of you, something that no one else can lay claim to. Why not park or forward it should you need to? Don’t allow anyone else to claim that exclusive number.