FROM THE VALLEY: "Calling All Cars" And Owners
By Tom Valley
“Calling all cars” and owners
When my cell phone rang, the 'possible-spam' alert warned me of what
might be lurking at the other end. The number was not in my contacts. I had a
couple of minutes to kill so I thought 'what the hell!?' and picked up the phone.
(Explanation to anyone under 30 years old: “picked up” is a phrase from the
dinosaur-age when you actually had to 'pick up' the receiver-part of the phone
to answer it. The 'receiver-part' will be explained in a future column.)
The call: There was a brief pause at the other end, then I could hear a
ringing as though I was the one making the call. Finally, some guy answered.
“Hello, ...” I stopped him right there.
“Didn't you call me?” I asked.
“Yes, sir, we did ...”
“Well, then,” I interrupted, “why was I the one who had to wait before you
picked-up (there it is, again) the phone.”
“I apologize for that, sir, it's an automated system.” Note: at this point in the
call, I've often asked the person to 'please wait' while I pretended to need a
moment to place a wet paint brush down. I'd then set the phone on the table and
go about my business with no intention, whatsoever, of ever going back and
listening to a scripted spiel that some jamoke at the other end was about to read
to me. It was my personal way of having them jot down 'do not call (this idiot)'
notation in their little “automated system.” But not this time, I was ready to
“Yeah, fine. Whatever. What's up?” I asked.
“I'm calling about the warranty on your automobile,” he pried. “Can you
verify the make and model of your vehicle?”
“Of course, I can” I scoffed. It was his move. I had answered the question.
Smirking like a Cheshire-cat throughout the awkward silence, I was proud of
my verbal gamesmanship.
He then prodded me for the year and type of vehicle I owned.
“Doesn't your fancy automated system tell you that? I mean if it's
sophisticated enough to seek me out, find my phone number and actually call,
why wouldn't you have that - the most pertinent information pertaining to this
pitch - right there in front of you?”
“Because,” he said. “we just want to verify it.” Not a bad answer. The guy
was well-prepared. Whatever.
“Gotcha!” I said. “It's a 4-wheel drive, 1936 Studebaker station-wagon
convertible with dual carbs and tinted windows.”
Click. “Hello..?” He hung up.
I only wished he stayed on the phone a minute or two longer. Just long
enough so that I could have asked him a jewel of question. “Do you know the
difference between a scam and scum? 'U'!”
'YOU' ... get it?
And why am I telling you this story? Because I didn't want that hilarious
line go to waste. I didn't get to use it on Spamboy, the telemarketer, and, quite
honestly, I'm kinda proud of it. Albeit, it plays out much better if you hear it,
versus reading it. But, damn, c'mon, give it up! Toss me a bone ... or
something. Thank you, thank you very much. Okay, please, be seated. On
second thought, it probably wasn't that great.
And alright, it's true, maybe scum is a little harsh. Maybe he's just a guy
trying to make a living. A guy simply trying to take advantage and squeeze
money out of poor, gullible senior citizens like myself. Hmm, on second
thought ... scum's fine.
And finally – even though we just had an election – did you notice that I
didn't make any goofy political jokes? Why? Because I've seen too many of
them get elected.
Oh, alright, just a few to rile people up.
* Before I became a politician, people would wave at me with all of their
* If ignorance ever gets to a hundred dollars a barrel, I want the drilling
rights to a Democrat's head.
* I'm surprised the Republicans didn't try to build a border wall out of
Hillary's e-mails. Apparently, they can't get over them.
And, of course, Mark Twain's all-time classic:
* Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often ... and for the
Roger that! Over and out.
An that's the way it looks from the Valley.