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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crank Calls

I don’t believe in crank calls. I never called a store to ask if they had Prince Albert in a can. It’s not that I don’t like a good joke – I just don’t like aggression, and there are few things more aggressive (in my humble opinion) than to activate a klaxon in someone’s home, place of business, pocket, or blue tooth that demands immediate attention.
So I don’t believe in making phone calls of any description, not to mention crank calls.
Transforming a call into a crank call when someone aggressively rings a bell in my ear is another matter entirely.
Ring, ring
Headley: Beauchamp, ques-que-sais?
Caller: I’m very sorry; I was looking for Headley Hauser. I seem to have called the wrong number.
Headley: De rien. (hangs up.)
Of course I’m counting on the caller having neither a knowledge of French, nor an ability to distinguish that my accent comes from that part of France that is just west of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Maybe that’s more properly in Quebec.
If the caller responds in French, I would probably say – uno momento (completely ignoring the fact that that’s Spanish,) put the phone receiver down and leave the room. They can wait all day if they want – I don’t mind the phone staying off the hook. What’s the worst that can happen – I miss a few phone calls?
As soon as email came around, the telephone was dead to me. I hear that some folks say that as soon as texting came around, that email was dead to them – but they’re barbarians and they don’t even write out their words properly.
But still the phone hangs on the wall in my kitchen taking up space like that slicer/dicer machine that does EVERYTHING… except I’ve yet to use it out of fear that it will scoff at me for not properly appreciating julienne fries.
Yes the phone is on the wall and NOT in my pocket. Why anyone would want to carry around a device that can rip them out of the serenity of driving in rush hour traffic, or the enjoyment of an ice cream headache from sucking on a Friendlies Fribble, I’ll never know.
Once in a while that phone on the wall rings, and the routine begins again – “Volkov, kak va?”
I’ve made a point to learn foreign-sounding names and terse greetings in 15 different languages. I may not remember them all correctly, but it’s not as if my goal is communication. That’s why I had to stop using my Spanish greeting – too many people understood what I was saying, or even corrected my gringo pronunciation.
Those who know me well are not fooled. They just ignore whatever I say.
Headley: Jer shrr Li.
Caller: Yeah, Headley, you need to tell Go Figure Reads to move your books out of my store, nobody’s going to buy them.
Headley: War yaoww chyoo tser-swor.
Caller: Right, and soon, please. James Patterson is coming out with a new book he had someone else write for him, and if I don’t display 30 cases, a crack CIA strike team will burn my building down.
Headley: Wor ting boo-dong
Caller: Yeah, you too.
I know I had a point to make here.

If you can think of it, give me a ring.

But the master of phone humor will always be the beloved Bob Newhart.