I KNEW I forgot to do something!
Groan. Thump. Stagger. Stagger. Stagger.
Collide with furniture.
I pick up the phone.
"This is Matt," I say with gravel in my throat.
My wife's maiden name. That's how we list our phone in the new directory, because we don't want to be hassled by folks wanting to argue a ticket I wrote them (or worse), and we're too cheap to pay the $2.00 a month to be unlisted.
"This is Tasha Johnson. May I speak to Mr. X?"
"Who are you with?" I know it's a marketing scam.
"I told you sir, Tasha Johnson. May I speak with Mr. X, please?" She's sounding impatient. And East Coast. I have to listen to this, first thing in the... well, okay-- late --morning? Damn, is it almost 11:00? Well, it was almost 5:00 when I went to bed...
"Once again, Tasha: Who. Are. You. With?" I'm not yelling. I'm not cussing. I'm not sounding like I'm going to find her house, burn it down, shoot her dog on on the embers of her own front porch, and poop on her newly-delivered edition of Telephone Annoyance Monthly.
I am a hell of a guy. I may make coffee to celebrate.
But first, this bitch.
"We're with the Fraternal Order of Police, and..."
"Don't call me. Place this number on your do-not-call list. Don't ever call me again." At this point, I'm afraid that my voice might have been a teensy bit direct. Oh, darn. She might not have me over for catfish and beer this weekend.
"Are you Mr. X?" Oh, I can fairly hear her thought processes now: I'll show him! Only the registered telephone customer can tell me not to annoy him! That's the Law, and you have to obey the Law!
No, it's not. But anyway.
It's time to draw our telephone meeting to a close. I didn't want to have it in the first place.
"Mr. X does not exist. Mr. X is a pseudonymn. You may regard me as him. Remove our name from your call list. Do not ever call us again." And I hung up.
+ + +
I refuse to give money to ANYone who calls me and asks for it. If I want to donate to a charity, I will. I've sought them out before. But I don't give money to people who make money by calling me to ask for money. "But it goes to a good cause!" some of you may be saying. Some of it might, if it's not a scam. (Trust me: people do that.) But as this news story out of Houston shows, even the Texas State Troopers Association's fundraising sees only forty cents of every dollar going to the actual association that they're claiming to benefit, and most of that money goes to... LOBBYING. Nice.
Next time a local group puts on a barbecue fundraiser for a cop or firefighter who's sick or hurt, do 'em a favor and make a donation. But please don't ever donate to the associations that call you on the phone.
Oh, and those little stickers that you put in the back window to show that you're an upstanding member of the TSTA, or whatever? We don't give a tinker's damn about 'em. (And if we did, you'd find that the attention you got would probably be more negative.) Stickers in back windows do not get you out of traffic tickets-- they just imply that you think that they do, and that you spent $20 to try to get one like Thai folk buying Jatukams from temple holy men in an attempt to become prosperous.
+ + +
I flipped up the laptop, Googled and found the National Do Not Call Registry, and put my phone number on the list. Can't believe I'd forgotten to do that.