Sunday, October 24, 1999

Dear sales callers: I already have everything I need

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Note to phone solicitors: I don't want a credit card. My rugs are clean. You could eat off them — sometimes, my dog does. Would you like to talk to my dog?

        I'm satisfied with my insurance. I'm thrilled with the sealer on my driveway. I love everything about the Enquirer and, yes, I do get it every day, thanks for asking, except sometimes it's stuck in the tree out front. (Who's got my route? Mark Wohlers?)

        You wouldn't believe how nice my windows are.

        I hate three-day, two-night vacations with deluxe seaside accommodations. I don't need a chiropractor.

        My chimney is clean, OK? The money I was going to give to the Fraternal Order of Police went to pay the speeding ticket I got while driving to church.

        Don't call me. I'll call you.

        Boy, would I love to call you. Would dinner time be OK? How 'bout Saturday morning at 8?

        Here, listen to this prerecorded message. Let me put you on hold. What's that? I called you? Oh. Sorry.

        Let me mispronounce your name, Mister Door-ty, Daugh-tery, Dockery, Doff-ery.

        It could be worse. My father, who is retired and presumed living in Florida, gets calls from cemeteries and casket makers. He tells them he's only interested if he can pay with a post-dated check.

        My dad lives in Shuffleboard Acres, just off Big Three-Wheeled Bike Boulevard. When he goes to Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball games, he stands for the seventh-inning stroke.

        But anyway ...

        Sometimes, I'll listen to the callers. I get lonely and, really, nobody else calls me. Once, someone hawking windows called, and we had this conversation:

        Her: “Would you be interested in replacement windows?”

        Me: “My little sister is locked in the bathroom and the water is running. Do you think Stone Cold Steve Austin could beat up my dad? You wanna play truck?”

        Her: “Why don't I try back later?”

        The other night, when the third solicitor seeking to give me another credit card barged into my dinner, I decided to roll with it.

        “You've been pre-approved for a platinum Charge-o-Rama card,” she said.

        “I've just been released from prison for credit card fraud,” I said.

        “There's no annual fee or late charges for the first year,” she said.

        “You don't understand,” I said. “The last platinum card I had, I charged a Ford Expedition, a baby tiger and Senegal. I've charged before and so help me, if I have to, I'll charge again.”

        “Can I give you our 800 number?” she asked.

        Then I asked her how many credit cards she had, and if she was satisfied with her present insurance company. “Need some windows?” I asked.

        She seemed a little bothered. “I'm just doing my job, sir,” she said.

        “Oh,” I said, “so now you are annoyed with me.”

        She hung up. Irony: You gotta love it.

        Paul Daugherty, an Enquirer sports columnist, writes a lifestyle column on Sunday. He welcomes your comments at 768-8454.

        Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty welcomes your comments at 768-8454.