Murphy's Law

The joys of talking back to an answering machine

The phone rang. I hesitated. I was on my out to run some errands, but the phone was there, just ringing. Should I answer it, or should I just leave. Thoughts jogged through my mind: Was it Mother? My friend Bill? Another friend J.D.? Or still yet, Hoade, an old friend of mine?

Ring.

I sprinted across the room to answer the phone. “Hello?”

“Yes, is there a Mr. or Ms. Conner that currently lives in you domicile?” asked the person on the other end.

“Yes,” I replied. “There is a Mr. or Ms. Conner that currently lives in this domicile.” I knew then that I should have dropped the phone back on the hook and left. But that would have been rude of me, and besides, it might prompt this person to call back at a later time, like 3 a.m. I stayed on.

“Then may I speak to the Mr. or Ms. Conner that lives in your domicile?”

That was a tough question. Mother was not home, and I really didn't want this person to call back. “This is the Mr. Conner of this domicile,” I decided to say.

“Good, Mr. Conner. I am from the Kreuger Dream Research Institute, and I want to ask you a few questions,” said the person. “We at the Kreuger Dream Research Institute, KreuDRI, investigate many paranormal, abnormal, supernatural and otherwise just plain weird, dreams that people may have, or might have, during the course of a night, several nights, up to a fortnight of nights. We are in dire need of people who will either volunteer to help us treat people with paranormal, abnormal, supernatural and otherwise just plain weird dreams, volunteer to have paranormal, abnormal, etc. dreams so that the other volunteers can treat you, or people who will contribute mucho bucks to out institute.

“We are looking for someone to say, ‘I will help treat people who have paranormal, abnormal etc. dreams,’ or ‘I will volunteer to have paranormal, etc. dreams, so that the other volunteers will help treat me,’ or even ‘I want to donate several billion dollars to your fine institute. Who do I make the check out to?’

“So, Mr. Conner, what is your answer?”

“Sorry,” I reply, “I was just day dreaming about a burnt up guy with four-inch finger nails. What was the question?”

The person repeated the whole speech to me again, this time leaving out all the etc.'s. Made me wish I had left the phone ringing.

“Well, since I don't have several billion dollars to donate, and I don't feel like treating people with sleep disorders …”

“So, you will volunteer to have paranormal, abnormal, supernatural and otherwise just plain weird dreams?” asked the person.

“Hmmmmm.” I thought for a moment. Do I want people watching me while I sleep? “No thank you. I'm not interested.”

“Thank you!” said the person cold enough to freeze South Florida and hung up. I slowly hung up the phone, and left on my errands.

I plugged the new answering machine I got when I was out, and taped a new message on it. Then I waited for the phone calls to come in. This time, I could screen out those pesky people who always seem to be asking for money.

Ring.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is there a Mr. or Ms. Conner currently living at your domicile?”

“Well, I'm sorry, but Mr. and/or Ms. Conner are currently not home right now. But, if this message is really important, please leave you name, number and time of call, and I'm sure that one or both of them will return you call ASAP.”

“Now wait a cotton-pickin' moment—”

“Sorry, I can't wait, as the beep is coming up any time now. In fact, here it is—BEEEEEP.”

Boy, do I like answering machines.

About

Of course now people complain about my message being

  1. too long (okay, okay, it might be slightly long)
  2. out of date (okay, so the area code changed. A few years ago. I'll get around to changing the message).

Sheesh, can't please anyone these days.