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Rodd Jokre

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Cell Phone Shot-put – Latest Olympic Craze
By Rodd Jokre
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

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Thought up: 8.9.03 – 3:17am
Written: 11.20.03 - 1:19 pm

Growing up, I was extremely envious of all my friends that had fancy answering machines in their houses. These were usually the kids that had the first Nintendo on the block, the first 10-speed bike, and at least 18 or 20 Michael Jordan rookie cards; funny how that worked. Granted they’d always check the machine when we got to their house, but it was always a message for their parents, but a neat machine to show off to your friends, before going and watching Super Mario run around on a big screen TV! We were lucky to get any messages at all, even written down at our house. It just wasn’t as fun, but we couldn’t afford an answering machine, and what more, “we didn’t need one!” We made due with our rotary phone and chalkboard. Granted, the answering machine had been around for many years, but wasn’t going to find its way into our house until the late 90’s. As telephone technology got more advanced, so did the answering machines. Before you knew it, there wasn’t even a need to purchase the machine itself; the telephone had the machine built right into it. And once that happened, there was no longer a need to have a machine anymore. We just jumped right to having a machine do the work of the machine by recording the messages on some OTHER machine to transfer them to us by voicemail at a later date! With all this technology, one thing has stayed very much the same, stupid answering machine messages:

1. This is Jim and Nancy! We’re not here, but our answering machine is! BEEP!

2. The answering machine is out sick, this is the refrigerator, I can’t record, but I can’t use one of these little stick-it notes and paste it on myself. BEEP!

3. None of us are home right now. If you’d like to leave a message for Frank, press 1 now. Jessica, press 2. Hank press 3. (And obviously NONE of these actually work!) BEEP!

4. If this is the police department, it wasn’t me. If this is a creditor, the checks in the mail. If this is Betty, she didn’t mean anything to me. If this is Jessie, Betty is a liar and means nothing to me. If this is my mom, don’t worry, Jessie and Betty are my pet iguanas. If this is a telemarketer I don’t want any, but I’m positive my mother-in-law does-443-4894, anyone still listening, leave me a message. BEEP!

And then there’re the ones that have the different pitches of beeping going on after the message has been said to leave a message, and you have to pull your face away from the phone for like 15 seconds until the phone is done with it’s beeping (I think I’d rather have Edward Scissorhands scrape his fingers across a chalkboard for 3 ˝ days constantly than listen to another answering machine beep like this). But the good part of this all is that the answering machine is reaching it’s final stop. More and more people are just switching to cell phones and totally bagging their annoying home telephone line and ditching their horrid answering machine woes.

Recently, I just moved into a new house and we have no need to set up a telephone line in our house. My two roommates each have cell phones also, and we have high-speed Internet, putting our telephone line out on the streets looking for a new job. I think that it’s really convenient how easy it is to contact someone now anytime. Not only does it seem like EVERYONE has a cell phone now, but if they can’t be talked to on the phone, then a quick text message will get the word to them if they’re busy. It’s so streamline and efficient that I’d assume sometime in the next 20 years, everything we own is going to be wireless! But again, with technology comes new concerns and new issues with the system.

There are a few friends in my phonebook that are getting harder and harder to call. Not for the fact that I’m angry at them, but for the fact that I know that their telephone is off, and the voicemail is going to come on saying, “This is Ezekiel, I’m not able to come to the phone right now, please leave a message.”
Now there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with this message. It’s quick and to the point, and everyone can do their business and be done, but the downside is AFTER the message. Some annoying lady voice comes on and tells me,
“If you’d like to leave your callback number, press 1…” Do you even realize what you’re saying lady? EVERY phone in this day and age has a memory log of the last eleventy billion calls! There is NO way that this person is going to want my callback number, and if he/she does, I’m 100% capable of leaving it in the message I’m about to leave if you’ll ever shut up!
“If you’d like to leave a time stamp, press 2. “ I don’t even know what a time stamp is, let alone the reason that I’d want to leave one. I’m assuming that it has something to do with telling my friend what time I called. As if I, again, couldn’t TELL my friend this in the message, or I was somehow inept at clock reading, or recently got into a horrible accident that made me lose my eyes or something, THEN maybe this feature would be of some small relevance.
“If you’d like to send your message with ‘URGENT’ delivery, press 3.” As if this message would get there any faster! I can just imagine pressing 3 here, and IMMEDIATELY storm troopers come blasting out of the sky around wherever Ezekiel is at the moment, and hand him a phone with the voicemail already started. Or maybe there is a little knife in his phone that will come out and stab him if someone needs this message to him urgently?
“To repeat these options, please press #.” Why in God’s green earth am I going to EVER need to hear those messages ONCE, let alone ANOTHER time! This is just blowing my mind.
At this point I’m just about ready to hang up the phone, and say screw it, but the lady has stopped talking, and I’m getting all giddy about finally leaving the message to say, “Call me back.” But no, who am I kidding? On the phone again comes the lady:

“ I’m sorry. I did not recognize that command, please enter it again.”
“ I’m sorry. I did not recognize that command, please enter it again.”
Dear God,
This voicemail lady is about to drive me insane, and all I really want to do is leave my friend a message to call me. Is there anything you could do to help me out? Perhaps you could strike her with lightening, or something of similar fate? If so, I’d REALLY appreciate it.
After this I hope and I pray that I’ll hear her come back on the line,
“I’m sorry. I did not recogni—(insert lightning noise here) AH! MY HAIR IS ON FIRE! LEAVE A MESSAGE, QUICK! BEEP!
“Yea, Ezekiel. Gimme a ring back. It’s about 4:15pm. P.S. Sorry about your voicemail lady, I’m sure she was real nice.”
Not likely to happen, but it’s a dream of mine. However, instead of this heavenly trance I’ve put us in, we’re back to the same old thing,
“ I’m sorry. I did not recognize that command, please enter it again.”
I found though, that if you wait for 15 or 20 seconds with your breath held and your left eye closed halfway, she’ll come back on and say,

“Please record your message at the tone, when you’re finished, hang up, or stay on the line for further instructions.” BEEP!

At this point I’m getting all keyed up ready to dump my message to my good buddy. I untwist my arms and let my breath out. I get ready to talk, but I realize that I’m too light-headed to say anything! I start into a quick recap of what has been happening this past 3 minutes and 14 seconds, but come up blank. I forget whom I’m talking to and why. Before I know it, I hear the evil mystery computer lady come back on,

“If you’re satisfied with your message, press 1. If you’d like to replay your message, press 2. If you’d like to erase your message and re-record, press 3. If you’re finished, press 4. Press # to repeat this message.”

At this point I’ve just about had enough of these hoops she’s making me jump through, and come to think of it, I’ve had enough of Ezekiel and his worthless phone service! I hang up the phone and slam it on the floor, crying and sobbing, wishing that I could have done something to make that voicemail lady see things a little differently. I’d like to take her out to drinks sometime and make her see things in a different light, the right light. But odds are she’s been asked out too many times and dumped the next day. I’d imagine that’s what’s made her into the man-hater that she’s become. Oh well.

Clearly the future brings new inventions and ideas to the table, and with each will come new problems and annoyances; that’s part of progress. But I don’t think that I’m the only one out there that finds this aggravating and in need of some deeper research. Perhaps someone could make a lot of money in the cell phone industry by opening a department at each corporation that regulates the amount of time Voicemail Lady can talk, until that time, just remember that you don’t need to keep those friends that use her service. I’m sure there’re plenty of nice people out there that you can make friends with that don’t support terrorism like I’m sure Voicemail Lady does…

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Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 4/21/2004
My message says.....I am not available right now....if you still want to see me... take your time but hurry up!!

Enjoyable read Rodd!!

Love Tinka

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