Got a call Monday from someone in Wisconsin. At least my phone said it was from there. Area code 920 could be in the Antarctic, but you never know. I answered it.
The caller said, “Good morning, Robert. How are you today?”
I told him I was doing poorly, that my wife had told me to shovel the walk but I forgot, and she came home to a driveway she expected to be cleared. Now I was in trouble.
Me • “I have no idea how long she’s going to stay mad at me this time. Once, she was mad at me for 18 days because I dropped a bowling ball in the bathroom sink. It was an accident, but I ate TV dinners and MREs for over two weeks. THAT was awful and ...”
Him • “Robert, I’m calling to let ...”
Me • “And get this: When she’s mad at me, so is Daisy. That’s our dog. Did you know that it’s possible for a dog to hold a grudge? I didn’t. Every time I got near her, she would get up and go sit by my wife. I tried to make up with them, but they just ignored ...”
Him • “Mr. Kir- ...”
Me • “So I had to replace the sink. I traded Sonny a bottle of expensive scotch to help. It was worth it because even drunk, he’s better at handyman stuff than ...”
Him • [Click].
That was rude. He asks me how I am and then hangs up before I finish telling him. That’s the last time I answer a call from 920-245-8767.
I’ve also received calls from Illinois, Texas, California, Utah, Colorado, Montana and from a place where the guy on the other end of the line called me “Miss-Stair Koorby.”
How I’m making all these friends who want to know what’s up with me is a mystery. Normally, people send emails inquiring as to how I’m doing:
“Why haven’t you been excommunicated?”
“Do you know that you’re ruining the lives of good people?”
“Why doesn’t the Trib fire you?”
These I just delete. I don’t feel the need to respond to people who already know the answer to their questions. Nor should you. Don’t engage with people who clearly want you to have the same kind of day they’re having.
But if the caller turns out to be a salesperson, the question of how you’re doing is a useless one. He or she doesn’t really care if you’re currently being sat upon by a gorilla or your mother-in-law. They just want to sell you something.
When the callers have been patient enough to sit through my answer — which can take up to 20 minutes if I don’t have anything better to do — I soon learn that they want me to purchase solar panels, Medicare upgrades, or whatever.
The answer of course is always “no.” I don’t buy anything over the phone from people who call me out of the blue.
There is a National Do Not Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov). Supposedly, it will stop unwanted sales calls. But I registered my phone in May 2008, and I’m still getting calls from people who want to know how I’m doing today — and won’t let me finish telling them.