j a n u a r y 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 27 said without accent, “Actually, I speak fairly good English but you call here everyday and I thought you might get the idea that we are tired of it.” He did not hear most of the end because he had hung up, but I felt better. He has not called back. A heating and air conditioning contractor called and I let him make his pitch about cleaning ducts, etc. I then asked, “Do they come in dozens?” He then repeated his pitch, so I diverted to, “Can they be gift wrapped?” No return calls. Another called from some sort of business service. I let him speak, then with my finest Irish tenor and accent began singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” A man with an almost unfathomable Indian accent called identifying himself with a totally Anglo name like John or Fred. He continued saying, “I understand you take medicines including Cialis.” I interrupted to inform him that I was ninety-three years old (exaggerating by nine years), I took absolutely no medicines, and that I had sex three times everyday. He hung up somewhere in the middle of my last sentence, but my wife in the other room called out, “With whom?” My last part in professional, non-educational, theater was that of a Soviet spy who escaped from a mental institution in England. It gave me a chance to hone my Russian accent which I have found to be the most confusing to unwanted calls. It beats English, German, or French, and my Spanish sounds too much like “Frito-Bandito.” I make them keep repeating themselves while I challenge “angrily” with totally unrelated arguments until they hang up. If the IRS, PG&E, or some other reputable (?) organization calls and demands money to be sent to some exotic address, hang up and hide under the bed. People, it’s a scam! From personal experience I can assure you that the IRS will let you know by mail when they want your money. I have not yet gotten the “grandson in trouble and needs money somewhere on the other side of the world” phone call. I am, however, prepared. I plan to ask, “Johnny, are you in trouble again?” Whether the answer is yes or no, I will reply, “That’s strange. I have no grandson called Johnny.” At that point I plan to state that the caller is a rotten liar and insinuate that his mother has four legs, a tail, and is quite hairy. (Obviously if you have a grandson named Johnny, you will need to pick another name.) I enjoy bantering and making these intruders feel foolish. Again, however, for the person with no theatrical or improvisational background here are three rules for annoying phone call: 1) If you have caller ID and you do not know the person, DO NOT ANSWER; 2) If you do answer and strangers want money or to come to your home, HANG UP IMMEDIATELY. If it is legitimate, they will get back to you. In conclusion, if you have even a partial solution for the flood of mail requests from organizations, legitimate or not so legit, please let all of us in on the secret. We and 78 jillion trees will appreciate your suggestions.
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