Prank calls

I loved making prank phone calls when I was a pre-teen.   When my mother would leave the house, I’d frantically call Linda and tell her to come over.  “Come over and play Kooky Calls”, I’d say.  She’d do the same for me, of course.  We had hours of fun at the expense of teachers, schoolmates and random strangers.

What with caller ID and well, being somewhat of a mature adult, I don’t have the opportunity for Kooky Calls any longer.  The only outlet I have for my phone creativity is to mess with solicitors.  I didn’t answer calls from unknown numbers for a long time, but they will call and call forever.  Maybe I should waste their time for a while and they will leave me alone, I think.

Unfortunately for my pranking instincts, most of the harassing calls I get are robocalls.  They’ve perfected the art of annoyance by hiring actors to record a reasonable facsimile of an actual call. There are spots for you, the victim, to respond and even leave a credit card number.

“Hi, this is Steve from the customer service department! Can you hear me okay?”

I say nothing.

“That’s great!, RoboSteve continues, breathless, like he can’t wait to give me some wonderful news.  “I wanted to let you know about an incredible deal you’re qualified for.  FREE airfare, all food and drink covered, hotel, FREE tickets to DisneyWorld and other attractions.  First, we need to get a couple of things from you.”

Of course.  I say nothing.

“You need to be over 18 to receive your FREE trip”, — here he gives a knowing chuckle — “and we’ll need to get a valid credit or debit card number from you to secure your place.”

Naturally, Steve.

“Are you over 18?”

Now’s the time for me to enter the game.  “I’m twelve”, I say.



“Now we’ll need that credit or debit card number”.

I’m tempted to give RoboSteve the number of a gift card that has $2.53 on it, but decide I’d rather use it for a cup of Caribou Coffee.

Instead, “Can I give it to you after I get my allowance?”, I wonder.

“Well, thanks for your time.  Sorry to bother you!” Click.

Getting the bum’s rush from a thief.  Kooky Calls aren’t as much fun as they used to be.


What ever happened to…?

What happened to the girl who went out no matter what the weather was like?  Who defied blizzards, -20 wind chill, whipping winds, searing heat?  Who walked out the door on a night the day temp was -20 in a dress and four inch heels, unbuttoned coat, no hat (they muss up my ultra-fine hair), parents’ worried admonitions following me, ignored and scoffed at?

Okay, so that girl lived a long time ago, like the late 1970’s, but her character traits stayed with me for a very long time.  Until maybe a couple of years ago.  Suddenly, I found that I’d become what I’d always scorned: A Weather Wimp.  Even with a reliable All Wheel Drive car in my garage, I think twice, thrice, before venturing out on a foul weather day.  Even after due consideration of the conditions and a determination that it’s not that bad out, I might decide to stay home.

As long as I have some food, both for me and the animals, a couple of beers in the fridge, I will often decide it’s just not worth going anywhere.  For years, I would be frustrated when more sensible friends would cancel a dinner or other fun because it was cold, or snowing, sleeting, there was a tornado warning.  Maybe I was brave, maybe foolish, or perhaps I just plain didn’t want to sit at home.  I was never going to let anybody, including Mother Nature, interfere with my evening plans.

There’s not a feeling that Mother N is penning me up inside the house, not anymore.  I enjoy holing up in the house for a day, or two, or three. It’s cozy here, with the gas fireplace going, good music playing, the animals napping the afternoon away, me writing or researching or watching nature course by the office window.  The world with its malls and theaters, its offices and restaurants, will keep until another day.  I’m out of the weather and in for the night.

I’ve been living in a dream world

I thought clean plates and silverware in the dishwasher were safe.  Freshly washed and sparkling, they hold no interest for a curious dog.  I wanted to believe this.  I had no reason not to.

Until today.

I’m a procrastinator, I am lazy, and I am easily distracted.  Sometimes it takes me an hour to unload the dishwasher.

But, it’s not a big deal because the animals will leave the clean things alone.

Sure, I’ve caught a dog with her mouth around a fork, trying to lick the last bit of flavor from it.  Or watched as a big head tries to find enough room to clean up microscopic remainders of cat food from neatly loaded cat plates.  The dishwasher, while several years old, does a fine job of cleaning, not even leaving soap residue behind. Nothing left behind for a dog to enjoy.

My dream world imploded around me this morning.







It’s so disappointing when illusions are licked out of existence.

This oughta be good

When the envelope containing my new driver’s license arrives from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, I will be opening it with extreme trepidation.  At this point in my life, I am beyond caring what the photo on the license looks like.  I have had several licenses in my life, none of which had photos that I was proud of.  But, I am well past the age of being carded; the only time I have to show my license any more is when I fly, which is almost never.  Besides, why care what a TSA agent thinks of me and my picture?  Just so they don’t single me out for the strip-search, I am good.

This year, though, I might have to lose the license and go in for a replacement.  If you are in my general age demographic, you might remember the character on The Carol Burnett Show where Carol is the airhead secretary, Mrs. Wiggins, who spends most of her time filing her nails and whose dense incompetence aggravates boss Tudball.  That was the DPS worker who handled my renewal. Except this one didn’t have a fancy outfit, a big blonde wig or bright red nails.  Mrs. Wiggins in tee-shirt and jeans, with a short unkempt hairstyle.

After dispatching with the person ahead of me, Mrs. W. had some trouble with a printer from which she extracted a cartridge that she waved it around with a puzzled look on her face. Then she turned her back on me and sorted some papers for an eternity.  Okay, it was more like a minute, but it’s my story.  I can take poetic liberties if I want.  And eternity is a relative term, according to me.  Especially when I am waiting in line at the DPS.

Meander on to the part where my unappealing photo is taken.  I plaster a big phony grin on my face.  I’ve learned that when I think I’m giving a big smile it comes off as a  sarcastic smirk, so I really work at this one.  My cheeks start to hurt.  I stand there and Mrs. Wiggins fiddles and pushes a button and I stand there some more.  Nothing happens for yet another eternity (minute. see above).  I start looking around the room.  A light flashes, there is a click and Mrs. W. looks at a screen.  “Owwwwwwww, hmmmmmmm”, she says with a note of wonderment in her voice.  “I got your picture”.  And I am thereby dismissed.

Did I detect a mean-spirited note of triumph in Mrs. W.’s voice, or was it my own paranoid imaginings?  I doubt my new license will come before Halloween, but I have the feeling that it will be plenty scary.