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Please Leave A Message At The B*E*E*P March 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Less IS More, People, Word Play.

170px-At&tPhoneFamily, friends, health, happiness  ~ these cherished possessions  make life worth living and celebrating.

But they’re not the focus of this post.

This post addresses one of my favorite things ~ our answering machine ~ because it frees up time for more important pursuits.

Like celebrating life.

BFF and I appreciate modern conveniences, but when a gizmo or gadget goes on the blink, we don’t rush out to replace it.

We take our time and shop around, looking for the “greenest” product with the features we needed.

Not so, with our answering machine.

Some people have “people” to field out the crackpots for them.  We have our answering machine.

Some people have caller ID.  We have our answering machine.

Some people delight in talking to whomever is at the other end of the line.  We have our answering machine.

We screen our calls . . . all the time.

Pluto-RollerskatingThe phone rings, and we don’t even hear it ~ its ringing no longer causes us to salivate like Pavlov’s dogs.

Instead, we wait for the message at the beep, to decide whether it’s someone we wish to speak with, and whether it’s a good time to answer their summons.

Since we heard our outgoing message every time we received a call, it got old fast ~ like listening to the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons (wah, wah, wah, wah . . . wah, wah).

To keep things fresh, we updated our outgoing message  frequently:

* Please leave a message.  Maybe we’ll call you back . . . or maybe not.
* If you don’t leave a message, we’re telling on you.
* Stop calling us!  Can’t you see we’re busy???
* Leave a message at the beep, or hang up without a peep.  Suit yourself.
* Have I told you today . . .  you’re my favorite?
* Leave us alooooone! ~ the last word drawn out for six extra beats.

We loved the last one the best.

Unwanted callers (telemarketers and salespeople) who routinely hung up without saying a word would start talking ~ perhaps they couldn’t believe  anyone would record such an anti-social out-going message.  Since they thought it was me talking to them in real time, they talked back.

We replayed their confused messages for amusement.  Don’t condemn us.  We lived on a remote island ~  no movie theatres, bowling alleys, bars, restaurants, clubs, libraries, or pool halls.   Like people in the frontier days, we had to  provide our own entertainment.

We rely on our answering machine to act as a buffer between us and the rest of the world.   It’s our friend and ally.

* No longer do I have to rush to answer the phone, naked and dripping wet after a shower.

* Nor do I have to jump up and grab the receiver if I’m in the middle of chopping onions, or watching my bread machine kneading dough.

* I don’t have to miss the end of a show to catch a call from someone who wants to sell me a funeral plot, when I plan to be cremated.

In short, I don’t have to interrupt my life to deal with the outside world on its timetable.


When the power goes out, and the phone rings, I freeze.  To answer, or not to answer, that is the question . . .

I generally choose the latter option, and let them call back later.

Quote:  Freedom lies in being bold. ~ Robert Frost

No rules.  Just write!


1. RichardWScott - March 9, 2010

Right there with you. Never having been a telemareter, I have no sympathy for them… especially those who call my home night after night at the same time.

On the other hand, I’d love to get hold of the handbook for telemarketers. Hmm… Perhaps I’ll write one.

Lastly, I couldn’t agree more about not being a Pavlovian slave the the ringing of a phone!

2. nrhatch - March 9, 2010

We now have “caller ID” and I can “see” who is calling and hanging up . . . over and over and over again:

Your Healthplan
Card Services
Out of Area
Salt Lake City

One caller both surprised and disappointed me . . . my alma mater! I understand that colleges need to raise funds as a result of state funding cuts, but leave a message and a call back number.

Do NOT call me 75 days in a row, at dinner time, and hang up without saying a word ~ not if you expect my continued support.

I ended up e-mailing the office for planned giving and told them to make a note next to my name: either leave a message, or stop calling.

3. James McShane - March 9, 2010

I have “caller ID” on my mobile phone. I have names saved for every number I have – including those I shouldn’t. When my phone ding-a-lings and I don’t know the number, I let it ring straight through to my voice-mail. I leave it the caller to decide whether or not to leave a message.

That’s how I end up getting numbers I shouldn’t, because these callers think their number is ex-directory. Not with my phone, they ain’t.

4. nrhatch - March 9, 2010

Choosing whether and when to be available pays dividends in terms of making time for our priorities.

5. Judson - August 23, 2010

Wow … you and I are on the same wave length! The reference to Pavlov’s dogs in particular, LOL. Thanks for you recent visit and your nice comments!

— Judson

nrhatch - August 23, 2010

Definitely the same wave length! Look forward to reading more of your work.

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