Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Phone's Ringing! Answer It!

Ring!  Ring!

The phone is ringing! I must go answer it!

Eating dinner? Let me put this fork down, 'cause I gotta answer that phone!

In the middle of changing a diaper? Slap something on that baby fast, 'cause I gotta answer that phone!

Just stepping out of the shower? Grab a towel and run, 'cause I gotta answer that phone!

Castle and Beckett are about to catch the killer? That's what the pause button is for, 'cause I gotta answer that phone!

In the middle of an actual conversation with an actual person? They can wait, 'cause I gotta answer that phone!
Answer it!!!

This is one area where The Wife and I have a definite difference of philosophy. Where I jump and run to answer it whenever the phone rings, The Wife ignores it and acts indifferent. "I have a phone for my convenience, not anyone else's," is what she says. She says that if the call is important enough, they will leave a message, or they will try to call again.

The Wife feels the phone is not always and not often more important than whatever else she may be doing at that moment. (This includes when she is playing Angry Birds.) Since the vast majority of calls we get are from telemarketers, this approach seems sensible and probably even logical.

But, it's not for me.

You see, when I hear the phone ring, I feel a compulsion to drop everything and answer that phone. You never know, it could be important. I gotta, gotta, gotta answer it!!!

It could be the Vikings calling to offer me a spot as a starting linebacker!

It could be the lottery commission telling me I've won the lottery, even though I've never bought a ticket!

It could be JJ Abrams offering me the role of Spock's brother for the next Star Trek movie!

It could be the Vikings offering me the head coaching job! (Couldn't be worse than Brad Childress.)

It could be Pete's Pork Palace offering me a lifetime supply of free bacon!

It could be Billy Joel, Jeff Lynne, Elton John, Steve Perry, Tom Petty, and Neil Diamond offering me a spot in their new supergroup the Traveling Abernathy's.

Or, you know, it could be a telemarketer. Actually, it probably is a telemarketer.

For all my running and wishing and hoping, about 90% of the calls that come in to the home phone are telemarketers. (The Vikings haven't called once!) (Not even their telemarketing department.) So, I run to answer the phone, dreaming of what it could be, but knowing what it probably will be.

We wouldn't even have a home phone if not for me. When we moved in to the house, The Wife suggested we just use our cell phones. But, I'm old school (or maybe just old), so I thought it might be important to still have a home phone. And, it turns out the home phone is important to have, because without it I wouldn't be up on the latest in telemarketer strategies.

The latest tactic the telemarketers use is having a recording try to pretend it is carrying out a conversation with you. It goes something like this:

TELEMARKETER RECORDING: "Hello, how are you today?" Pause.

PERSON ANSWERING THE PHONE: "Fine." Or some such thing.

TELEMARKETING RECORDING: "That's great to hear! I'm calling because I have an important blah blah blah…."

PERSON ANSWERING PHONE: (Realizes it is a recording. Hangs up.)

It's that initial attempt at conversation and pause that makes people think, ever so briefly, that they are talking to a person and not a recording. I'm not sure who they think they are fooling, because soon enough it becomes obvious that it is a recording. The next time I get one of these calls, it will go something like this:

TELEMARKETER RECORDING: "Hello, how are you today?" Pause.

ME: "Well, I've stabbed myself in the foot with a fork, and blood is getting all over my carpet!"

TELEMARKETER RECORDING: "That's great to hear! I'm calling to blah, blah, blah…."

Obviously, The Wife isn't missing much when she doesn't answer these calls. And, quite frankly, she isn't missing much when she doesn't answer any of the calls. She's right, if it's important they can just leave a message. (To be fair, I should point out that The Wife does answer the phone when our kids are at school, just in case the call is about them.)(Because the importance of the kids outweighs the annoyance of the telemarketers.)

So, I should probably adopt The Wife's attitude to phone calls, shouldn't I?


I should just not pay any heed to the ringing of the phone.


It will go to voice mail. They can leave a message.


It's probably just a telemarketer, right?


But then again, the Vikings could be in need of a backup quarterback!