Take a Minute
Off the Wall, May 19,
2016

Hello…I’d like to speak to Paul Volkmann (you may insert your name, if you wish). Is this Paul Volkmann to whom I’m speaking?” “Yes, this is he,” I state, as if there is anyone else who is male and answering the phone at this number, the same one I have had for 42 years.

“This will only take a minute,” the male voice stated on the receiver. I imagined what I could tell him in a minute in case he ran out of words. Of course, these folks normally are full of verbosity. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would never say anything to these people that would be in any form or fashion disrespectful or demeaning.

I’m a little different than most persons who get irritated by these calls. What they don’t get is taking something very negative and irritating and turning it into something positive.

So, lets make reference to the caller above. When he made the statement, “This will only take a minute,” tell him you will listen to him for that period of time only if he listens to what you provide in that period of time. If he agrees, then you proceed.

Let me give an example to help clarify the matter.

“Paul,” I’m calling for the Hickory Horned Devil Preservation Conservation Association (HHDPCA). You know we have to do all we can to help these larvae that yields one of our largest and most spectacular moths. You know, Mr. Volkmann, if a larva is found crawling on pavement people have been killing them fearing that they are dangerous. Mr. Volkmann, these fine specimens of nature are harmless. The HHDPCA is doing everything it can to protect this large green larvae.”

“Mr. Volkmann,” he continued, “if you haven’t seen this beautiful creation, I would encourage you to go to your computer as we speak and Google it and take a look at the wonderful colors. Just think if you spoke Latin, Mr. Volkmann, you could say its scientific name, Citheronia regalis (Fabricius).”

“When sighted in length,” the representative stated, “the adult stage of this larva is about as long as a hot dog. They vary in color, but are usually blue-green. They have orange and black tubercles projecting from the body wall, particularly from the head region, but also along the body.”

With a bit of enthusiasm, he stated, “If you are looking at your computer, I hope you can see that we must protect them in every way possible. We are counting on you, Mr. Volkmann, to please help. Could you please give $150, $100, or $75? The HHDPCA is counting on you to help this worthy cause. With your help this beautiful larvae and moth can be protected in years to come. What do you say, Mr. Volkmann, will you please help us?”

“Well, you see sir, I am living on a fixed income and am unable to spend that much on a caterpillar larvae this month.” “Oh,” said the gentleman. “ How about $45, $35 or $25. You most certainly donate one of those three donations to such a worthy cause?”

This is when I gent my two cents in. “I’ll give some thought to your situation, for I do note the cause is most worthy.” I had to say that so he would sit up and listen to what I might state as a follow up.

“It’s like this. I belong to Holy Family Church in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Hey, by the way, did you know Latrobe is the home of the first banana split? Anyway, as we agreed, our church is having a fundraising drive to give it a complete overall interior improvement. Walls will be washed and painted, water leaks will be repaired and needed lighting will be replaced. Do you know that the bulbs have been in place so long that the casings have begun to rust? It is of utmost importance that the inside of the building where the Church congregates needs an upgrade in its fixtures and the bulbs exchanged, as well.”

I then decided to brake up my little speech with a question or two.

“Now, sir, by the way, what did you say your name is? Bob, Bob Shoesouler? Is that name German by any chance? No, Well, OK…” This is the part to which I look forward.

“Well, Bob, could you please give Holy Family Church $150, $100 or $75 for our Restoration Program?”

With that, he hung up. How rude…


- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.