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Just Because The Phone Rings...

Just Because The Phone ... David ... The ... rang. It was as ... as Niagara Falls. We had just sat down to a piping hot dinner, so of course the ... would

Just Because The Phone Rings...
By David Leonhardt

Brrrrrringgg. The telephone rang.

It was as predictable as Niagara Falls. We had just sat down to a piping hot dinner, so of course the telephone would ring. My wife reminded me that just because the phone rings, doesn't mean we have to answer it, but...

"Hello," I answered.

"Good evening, sir. I am calling to let you know about a fantabulous new insurance program that will protect you, your family and everyone you ever meet from warts," The Voice declared. "Isn't this an exciting time to be spending on this planet?"

"Are you trying to sell something?" I asked suspiciously, knowing that the answer would be...

"Not at all, sir," The Voice assured me. "I am just calling to let you know that you can now be protected against warts for much less than you would think."

He greatly overestimated my fascination with the actuarial aspects of living wartlessly. "And you are not trying to sell me anything?" I asked hopefully.

"Of course not," The Voice repeated. "I am calling to protect your entire family from warts forever."

"My grandmother is already protected against warts forever," I mused out loud.

Complete silence. "How did she do that?" The Voice asked with subdued awe.

"She died," I replied. "She's been protected for forty years, now. We suspect that she will remain protected forever."

"Uh. I see," The Voice replied. "You, too, can be protected against warts..."

"You want me to die?" I asked.


"Honey, this telemarketer is threatening me," I called out into the kitchen.

"Well get back here, then," my wife responded. "Your dinner is getting cold."

"Now look here," The Voice began.

"Now see what you've done," I scolded into the telephone. "You've upset my wife. You could at least have waited until after dinner to threaten me."

My wife called out again. "Why do you have to answer the phone during dinner? Just because it rings doesn't mean you have to answer it."

I shouted back. "It would be rude not to answer. The Voice took time out of his busy schedule to warn us about warts the least we can do is take the time to thank him. Now," I said into the phone. "About those threats."

"See here, I did not threaten you," The Voice tried to explain. " I am simply trying to help you get rid of your warts."

"Do I have warts?" I asked in amazement. "Sa-ay, how would you know if I have warts?"

"I don't. I mean, you might. That is..."

"Have you gotten rid of the telemarketer yet?" my wife called to me.

"Not yet, honey. He's diagnosing my warts," I called back.

"No, you misunderstand," The Voice began.

"What warts?" my wife asked, as she came into the room.

"He says I have warts," I explained.

"I did not say you had warts," The Voice tried to interject.

"Well, tell him you don't have any," my wife said.

"OK. I will," I said to my wife. Then into the phone, "I think you have a mistake. I don't have warts. Where did you get my number from?"

"I have this list of names..." The Voice tried to reply.

"Could you please hang up?" My wife begged. "Just because the telephone rings does not mean we have to answer it."

"OK," I said.

"Now please get rid of the telemarketer so we can enjoy our nice, chilling dinner," she said with not a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

"My wife wants me to eat my dinner," I explained to The Voice. "Can I please have your telephone number so that we can continue this most educational discussion tomorrow morning?"

"I'm not going to give you my phone number," The Voice retorted.

"Don't be silly. How can I call you back if you don't give me your number?" I asked.

"I don't want you to call me back. I just..." The Voice tried to explain.

"Now hold on just a cotton-pickin' minute," I said. "You're the one who wanted to talk to me in the first place. I am doing you a favor by taking the time to speak with you on a subject of your choosing. The least you can do is let me call you at the time of my choosing, so that I can enjoy a nice hot meal with my wife. Sa-ay, are you one of those anti-family crusaders, calling people during dinnertime just to keep families from spending quality time together? I've heard about people like you..."


A few minutes later, I returned to my dinner, which by now was as cold as a penguin with no feathers. "So you finally hung up on the telemarketer?" my wife asked. "Good for you."

"Not quite," I admitted.

"What?" my wife started. "Is he still on the phone?"

"I don't think soFree Reprint Articles," I replied. "I think the telemarketer hung up on me."

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David Leonhardt is author of Climb Your Stairway to Heaven
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