Phoney Phone Calls

Had works at the local ski area.

During the busy holiday times, when Dee and I aren’t working as hard as he is, we take turns calling him with phoney phone calls. It was her idea, a way to lighten up his harried day.

Her best:

“We have reservations for Christmas vacation, can you give me directions from Chicago to Vermont?”

When he lists off highway numbers and exits she looses it. If he was serious then he is an excellent customer service representative. If he knew it was Dee then he’s a good brother playing along.

My best:

“Hello may I help you?”

“Yes. Do you do birthday parties?

“Uh, What?”

“I have 10 four year old kids and I’d love to do a skiing birthday party.”

(Pause from Had….a long pause…. ) “Perhaps I can connect you with marketing…”

“It would be great if you could wear a costume, something with antlers,” I add.

(Pause from Had. Choking sounds from me.)

“Okay Alexandra…”

I laughed so hard and long that I thought he hung up.

He was just patiently waiting for me to get over myself.

Had started this family practice, back in the 60’s, when he and the boy next door enacted mini dramas over the phone to some poor chump, before caller ID.

“Hey Joe, meet me behind Russel’s store in town. I’ve got the stuff.” (BND whispers.)

(Had shoots off a cap gun.)

“Ahhh, they got me!”

(Hang up phone.)

Sometimes the gun needed more than one pull of the trigger to produce the desired effect. Still, it was impressive.

While in college I made a tape to play once my father picked up the phone. I didn’t trust myself to keep a straight face or voice.

“Hello, is this Charlie Smith? (Pause- allowing him to respond.)

“If you can name this tune in 7 notes you will win a Ford Pinto!”

(I play the first 7 notes of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” on my Casio calculator.)

As expected he guesses the song in about 3 notes because he sings it every morning.

“Oh What a Beautiful Morning!” , he yells. (Song keeps playing.)

“ I said Oh What a Beatiful….” (He’s cut off)

“I’m sorry, time’s up. It was “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”. Better luck next time”

I hit the stop button and hang up.

I have to thank Dee, Had, Hopper and the boy next door for inspiration, ideas, and the ability to prank and graciously be pranked to this day.

Unfortunately phoney phone calls aren’t the innocent fun they started out as. Now most are methods for scamming and stealing.

Ahimsa, the second Yama means non stealing. It doesn’t refer solely to robbing stores, taking things that don’t belong to us or taking advantage of the elderly. Nor is it just wasting someone’s time complaining, boasting, or being late. It includes the taking of ideas.

Theft brings sadness, confusion, anger, envy and frustration.

Fortunately it is easily remedied by giving credit where credit is due.

Show respect, honor and gratitude for those who inspire you. Maybe it’s a teaching technique, business advice, an idea, a joke or good deed.

Be a borrower and a lender of thoughts and ideas. Be a giver of credit. If we practice this there is no need for theft.

Namaste… is your refrigerator running?

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