MY PHONE ETIQUETTE

Despite the fact that my phone number is on the “do not call” list, it rings all day long with offers for this and that. What good is the list, I’ve wondered. In hopes that the message will get through to all those businesses, folks, scams, etc., who think I might just want what they are selling, I have come up with some snappy responses.

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Just today a man claiming he was with “Senior Health Services” began by saying, “I understand you’re a senior citizen and I’ll bet you’re suffering from arthritic knees and lower back pain.  Am I right?”  Before he could launch into his spiel I said “No.  You are wrong.  I’m in very good health and I don’t need to talk with you.  Thank you for calling.”

Now, when any of the Police Benefit organizations call selling circus tickets or whatever, I’m not quite so short.  “I’m sorry but all my discretionary funds go to the Holland House.  But thank you for calling.”  Actually there is an historic house in my community where I spend all my time and much of my extra money, though it isn’t called “the Holland House.”  Nevertheless, anyone who wants money will usually be put off by this.  Sometimes, when the caller comes back with a request for less money (“Well, how about $10 a month then,”), I continue to tell them about my discretionary funds and where they go.

Occasionally a college student from my alma mater calls asking for a donation to the college. I generally respond with, “I’m sorry, I’m currently helping my grandchildren through school, although to my regret, it isn’t my alma mater.  But thank you for calling.”  Here I must say in my defense that I have in fact financially aided two of my grandchildren in their educational pursuits, but they have finished with their formal education and are now off making money in their chosen fields.

About once a month I win a cruise to somewhere, which I often just hang up on, although once in awhile I’ll say, “I couldn’t possibly work that into my busy schedule, but thank you for calling.”

I set up a small business a few years back to publish my books and every now and then I will get a salesman making a cold call.  First I tend to react with a chuckle since my “business” is pretty small.  (The demand for my books is not overwhelming.)  Just before Christmas a salesman called who was providing a mailing service and I responded with “All my orders are filled now, but thank you for calling.”

Then there’s the caller who begins, “Hi, I’m Matt.  How are you today?”  Usually I’ll say, “What are you selling, Matt?”  I hear a click and then I mutter to myself, “so, thanks for calling, Matt.”

Last week someone claiming he was from the treasury department called and said there was a legal issue and I would need to sign some papers.  The Treasury Department doesn’t make its first notification on the phone.  “My affairs are all in order,” I said. “You are a scam. Do not call back or I will notify the police.”  Here’s one case where I didn’t thank them for calling.

Since I’m a senior citizen a number of calls come with scams of one sort or another.  The caller must figure I’m old and feeble and easily frightened into following through.  These are the only calls where I don’t say thank you.  After all, one must maintain a certain civility when saying no.

 

 

NOTHING PROFOUND HERE

This is my seventh blog since the first of the year, but the first I have published.  Why? Well, for one thing, all the others sound like I’m whining.  Which I am.  So, what’s the problem?

Well!  The race for president of the United States has already begun.  The candidates for one party have sunk so low that it’s disgusting.  Yes, I’m whining.  How can anyone be proud of such behavior?  And it’s getting worse.  If one of them is elected, how can we as Americans be proud of our president?  What crazy thing will he do?  How much trouble will he make for our country?

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I would like to write something profound, something that would turn around all those who are in favor of such candidates, make them see the ridiculousness and even the danger of it.  But nothing profound comes to mind.

Am I still whining?  Probably. Actually I’m heartsick.  I can’t see the future as anything but glum if any of these extreme candidates should become president.  Yes, there are some moderates running, but they are not as charismatic with the crowds.  And the candidates react to those crowds, speaking and acting even more wildly.

So I’m also disgusted with many of my fellow Americans.

Whine, whine.  Nothing profound here.

My Bleeding Heart

I guess I am one of those bleeding heart types.  These are folks who hurt over all sorts of injustice… We hurt for people who are accused and mistreated for no reason at all except for the color their skin or their religious belief or the origin of their birth or because they have brown eyes or whatever.  How often we retell the injustices of Hitler’s Germany, and yet, his separating of the masses into different groups and singling some out for hatefulness is just what’s happening here in the U.S.

Well, in the case of black people, that’s been going on since the beginning of this country.  With the anniversary of the March in Selma just behind us, so, too, is another shooting of a black teen.  My heart goes out to those parents and all the others who have lost their young sons.  How frightful it must be to take aside your young boy just entering his teens and tell him how he must behave while out in public so as not to bring attention to himself or give cause to be arrested for a ridiculous offense.  Whites tell their sons to behave in public, yes, but don’t need to bring  up the idea of not wearing a hoody, or a cap, or to look up or to look defiant or run or just generally behave like a teen-aged boy.  Actually, I cannot imagine what all is included in “the talk.”

I have a son and I did not fear that he would be shot by the police every time he left the house, and for that I am very grateful.  While the Justice Department did not find Officer Wilson guilty of murder in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it did find the police department guilty of discrimination and racial profiling.  And this has been going on for quite awhile.

Recently it seems as though other discrimination is on the rise.  The politician who killed himself over rumors that he was Jewish… Didn’t we overcome anti-Semitism?  Is there still an active “Gentlemen’s Agreement”?  If so, how could I not know this?  Am I naive or just not keeping up?

Oscar Hammerstein II wrote a song about the subject in South Pacific… “You have to be taught.”  When we hold hatred and anger in our hearts we spread it to our children and they to theirs.

My bleeding heart believes it would be a more perfect world if we actually practiced what we said in our Constitution, that we are “created equal.”  This goes for all minorities – all are equal – and yes, this includes women!

 

Good Advice

This morning I looked in on a blog called Storyshucker.  One of the recent posts was titled “Stay and Change It.”  It was well written, and easy to understand.  Basically, the author’s advice was, if you don’t like the way something is going, change it, don’t leave it, run away or forget about it… change it.  Gee, that’s good advice.  I’m recalling an elected official to Congress who said he couldn’t take it anymore, the way things were being run.  Nothing ever got done.  So he was resigning.  Quitting.

We all know it’s easier to quit than fight.  But if we quit we have no right to complain.  If we don’t vote we have no right to complain.  Vote?  How did I get there?  Well, I’ll tell you.  That is such a precious right we have in the USA, yet so many do not take advantage of it.  But they complain.  Well, as the man said, “Stay and Change It”!

Also, for you bloggers, check out Storyshucker!