Not Now
Off the Wall, July 27
, 2012

Upon answering my phone on a regular basis, many times it’s my friend Mark on the other end. In between his rings are telemarketers. I try to be patient– most the time...

A couple of weeks ago, I received a telephone call amidst painting my wife’s bedroom. The caller stated he would only take up a few minutes of my time. Swell. Right then and there, maybe I should have been a bit short or rude as the case may be, and cut him off telling him I can’t talk because the paint on my brushes is drying.

Now, that sounds a little stupid, maybe, but that’s the truth. I have found over the many years of doing this activity that certain paints will adhere to brushes faster than others.

Anyway, I get this phone call. Since the gent told me it would not require much time, I agreed to answer the “few” questions he had lined up. Of course, you know what always happens. Those few questions multiply into many and the time allotment expands. The one thing that ran through my mind was, “ I might as well throw away those brushes and get new ones.” And I had to say yes to a caller who was just trying to do his job.

I think I must have been standing there 15 minutes. I could have hung up on him, but that may not have been polite. After all, if I claim to be Christian, I better act like one.

First, “From 10 being the best and one being the worst, how would you rank watching TV? “Dah. If I didn’t want to watch it, I wouldn’t turn it on, would you?” Silence…

“Does everyone in your house watch TV?” Answer – “I can honestly say, my wife watches it more than I, and as far as the guests, angels, and ghosts, can’t rightly say…”

Here is the one that caused me to chuckle a bit. “Do you use your parental control device?”

“Sure, I’m going to use that thing to control what my deceased parents are going to watch. Don’t you think that they, now up in their 100’s, should be allowed to watch whatever they want in the time that they have left?” The fellow laughed. “I meant for little children,” he said. But his question didn’t imply that.

“Do you own a cell phone?” What in the blazes does that have to do with watching television, anyway? Maybe I’m too backward to understand that everything under the sun now can appear on those hand-held devices, and I am not up to date on electronics as others may be. All of a sudden I felt way behind the times…

Back to the question – “No.” I followed up by telling him I have a TracPhone to call 911 in case a deer wishes to ride our car hood. I realized that was a smart aleck remark, but when I get tired and have two paint brushes drying, I feel I have to start adding a little spice to the somewhat dull conversation. I then advised the middle-aged man that I really had to go, but to no avail. “I have to finish this survey or I won’t get credit for it.” Feeling sorry for him, I leaned against the wall and advised him to carry on.

He then started hitting me with a number of terms. I am not TV-savvy.

“Do you an have HD?” I had to stop and think for a moment just what those letters stood for. “Hand Device?” He was asking about my clicker, presumably? Maybe “Highly Depolarized,” a technical electrical term? Finally, it came to me – “High Definition.” I know those TVs are better than my 20-inch Magnavox, but for all I watch the tube, I’ll stick to my set. The way I look at it is, as long as Trina Orlando stands out and I can hear her plainly give the news reports, my old-fashioned set is doing just fine. Trina is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Don Orlando, friends of mine who go back over 37 years. He, Ang Caruso and I worked closely together composing the New Edition newspaper in the early 70’s. Orlando moved on to become the public relations head at St. Vincent College.

There were many more questions the fellow asked me via the “Tele” as I have learned it to is called as a New Zealand slang name for telephone, but his last “zinger” got me (second to the parental device). “Are you calling from a cell phone?” Not again…

When these callers phone and the timing is bad, “politely” tell them to brush off. Recommend another day. If you are like me, painting with stiff devices is hardly worth it!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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