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Mel Cheplowitz

September '98


Some times you have to examine things that happen around you in order to get a more objective perspective on your own life. Like, let's say you think your sex life doesn't suck, and then you read in the paper that Professor Steven Hawking's wife is suing him for divorce because she found out he was cheating on her. So you start thinking, "Shit, chicks just don't go for fully functioning arms and legs the way they used to, it's the guys who understand that whole space/time continuum thing who have the girls eating out of their hand". You've always got to keep an eye out for the signs. Let's say you're Monica Lewinsky and while going over your finances you notice that 15% of your total income is going to dry cleaners to remove semen stains from your clothing. It could be an indication that it may be time to rethink your lifestyle. This week I began thinking that maybe I don't have enough friends. Of course you know the old saying, "You can never have too many friends as long as it's not in double figures".

spacer.gif (907bytes)What got me thinking about the situation was noticing that almost half the calls I get are from telemarketers. In fact, the percentage would actually be over 50% if it weren't for all the wrong numbers. Wednesday my first call was from an auto glass company asking if I had any auto glass I needed replaced. Yeah right, I need my fucking auto glass replaced, but I have absolutely no idea how to go about it so I'm just gonna sit home by the phone hoping that the auto glass people will eventually call me. My next call is from the phone company, and they're trying to sell me caller ID. This is the gist of the conversation as I can best recall:
spacer.gif (907bytes)"Mr. Cheplowitz we sent you an offer in the mail for a free caller ID box." "Right." "I can explain the offer since you probably haven't had a chance to read it." "No, I read it." "Good, then you know that you can receive a caller ID box and a 30 day trial of Pacific Bell caller ID service at absolutely no charge to you." "The thing you sent said there would be a $6.95 service charge." "That's right. The caller ID box is a $49.95 value, but all you have to pay is $6.95 shipping and handling. May I sign you up?" "No, I really don't think I need caller ID." "We find that most customers who try it find it to be an easy and convenient way to determine who an incoming call is from." "Actually I have a method for that that's been working very reliably for me for a long time. I pick up the phone and say hello. Works like a charm." "With caller ID you don't even need to do that. It's call recognition features enable you to screen out unwanted calls." "Like this one?" "Any calls sir, it works for calls from people you know as well as calls from unrecognized numbers." "I don't see how that would help. If I screen out the call wouldn't the person just keep calling back. I'd just be making the problem worse. I don't want to live in fear every time the phone rings." "Many people feel that way, but we find that once those customers try it they just love it." "Yes I know that's true because I actually have a friend who has it, and he's told me he doesn't think he could live without it. Unfortunately he's recently been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic." "That's too bad" "Oh it's OK. He's under a Doctor's care, but the thing is I always have to remember to dial *82 to unblock my number whenever I call to check to see if he's regular on his medication."


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