other day, my phone rang.
know. Hardly shaking the ground beneath our feet with that announcement.
Phones ring all the time.)
I glanced over to it though, the display didn’t show any information
and I didn’t recognize the number. So, I ignored it and turned
back to the project at hand.
Yes. Nothing unusual. Something you likely also won’t find unusual
is the next thing I did…)
I finished the work I was doing, I decided to look up the phone
number to see if I had missed anything by not answering the call.
This isn’t something I do all the time, but every so often, if
they don’t leave a message and the number has a somewhat familiar
feel to it, I wonder if a few of these unidentified calls are
actually worth the time. I’m not a big believer in the possibilities
when the percentage of nonsense calls from unknown numbers is
higher than the legendary purity of Ivory soap. Still… you never
know if a doctor’s office might have called, or if a friend used
a work phone to reach out. Since most reputable places will show
up when you plug their phone number into your search engine of
choice… there are times when I check.
I do check… most of the time… nothing. Which is enough to convince
me I made the right decision not to answer.
so often though, a few details emerge. It’s a business calling
from an office in a different state, such as the car you recently
purchased or the gift basket your recently sent a friend. Perhaps
it’s the mortgage company or a credit card provider. And quite
likely, if there is some information and it isn’t something obvious
to you, this is where your investigation will take a humorous
there is something, and it’s not a name you know, pretty much
without question you wind up with references to scams and conspiracy
theories. The links from the searches in these cases often lead
to pages promising everything from phone directories to details.
And that fun I promised is found in the comments, which can be
outrageously funny. (And frighteningly scary.)
the comments fall into one of two camps. (1) “No message. Blocked.”
This group is your standard, just the facts, no middle ground
group. Kind of follows the idea that if the call wasn’t invited
or initiated on your end, and comes from an unknown source, nothing
good can come from it. And the advice is simple: Wash the hands,
down the drain, finished. (2) The gotcha. In this case, the person
commenting tends to try to explain how smart they are at having
discovered some nefarious evil-doer, and the steps they used to
uncover the truth behind the mystery of the call. After spending
several sentences covering their adventures, pretty much without
exception they end up proving exactly how dumb they are.
time, while scrolling through a few comments, I saw a person mention
how the caller was her mortgage company and she asked them not
to call her again. You know, she put her foot down and made her
statement by telling them she wanted to be put on the do not call
the comment ended there, I would be willing to give you tremendous
leeway in sending along your thoughts to me. And you just might.
It’s possible you would try to quote sections of do not call laws
from memory, or perhaps even cut and paste exact wording defending
your examples of why telling the mortgage company not to call
might just be allowable.
the comment ended there, and I was saying she was a gotcha idiot,
you could build a solid argument against me.
didn’t end there.
said she told them to place her on their do not call list. Then,
she began explaining that she figured a company of such national
stature would keep better records in their computer system, since
she had already told them several times she would send them a
payment when she could and they were wasting their time calling
her for money she didn’t have.
pause for a moment.
we could go on. I could tell you about the guy who claimed he
wouldn’t be fooled a fourth time just because they changed the
company name. I could tell you about the person that claimed to
have turned the tables by not accepting the original offer and
instead talked the representative into giving a better deal on
the bigger (and more expensive) service package.
could go on. There’s another possible funny little twist, and
you likely are already thinking of it in some way. Are the comments
real? Because lord knows we have fake commenters out there as
could go on.
I paused for a moment.
paused because a woman requested a mortgage company place her
on their do not call list because there was no need to keep pestering
her. She would send along a payment whenever she was good and
ready to do so, and didn’t need their calls or questions.
suppose that’s what leads me back to the silly rabbit start of
this essay. It’s not about answering phone calls or falling for
scams… not about being gullible or being smart. In the end, just
about all of it is about patience. It’s about clear thought. The
silly idiots are just that… idiots. But no matter how we all laugh
and smile and chuckle and point, funny thing, it could be any
any given day, at any given moment, each and every one of is vulnerable.
We’re vulnerable because we have needs. We’re vulnerable because
we have desires. We’re vulnerable because we have hot buttons
and cravings and more. And the question is… simply… can you step
away from that for a moment? Can you separate your motivations
from your actions for just long enough to make a sound decision?
Can you, without exception, do that all the time? If not… I don’t
care how smart you are… you’re at risk.
and I talk on the phone fairly often. And every few calls, she’ll
mention an e-mail she sent me. Usually it was a link to a video
or such, and she sent it with no subject line or any explanation.
Just a quick e-mail to me with the link. And she’s always stunned
when I tell her I deleted it. But the really funny part is that
I usually didn’t even know she was the one that sent it. E-mail,
no subject, link only in body section… delete. It’s automatic.
that make me smart? Nope. I’m just another silly rabbit… like
you. In this instance, and perhaps one or two others, I just spotted
the string attached to that carrot before I pounced on it.
I can continue making smart decisions. (But you never know when
the company that sends those muffins will have another special
offer. I don’t want to miss that call.)