Landline Telephone Shananigans

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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Our landline telephone has caller ID. A little voice in the telephone announces who is calling. Usually, it’s “Unavailable” or “Toll Free Number.” I don’t answer those and I don’t answer any calls during election season.

Many people have given up their landline telephones because of the number of scam calls. Actually, it seems that solicitations and scams are all that comes through on our landlines these days.

Has anyone ever received a call from the nice sounding and usual female voice that begins, “Hi, this is Belinda and I’m calling about your credit card? There is nothing wrong with it, but this is your last chance to take advantage of new and better interest rates.”

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Just to poke fun at Belinda, I’ll say something like, “Promise?” If it’s not a recording, which it usually is, Belinda might ask, “Promise what?”

Then I get to say, “Belinda, just yesterday you called and told me that this was my last chance to take advantage of the new and better interest rates. I’m just asking if this really is my last chance!”

Scam callers have gotten much more sophisticated lately. Now, they can call from what looks like a local number. In Bainbridge the caller ID would show a “229 246-XXXX” number and also a name. I have recognized a few of the names. Just yesterday I received a call from a number and name I recognized as a late friend, which means that he was calling from Glory Land, just beyond the Jordan.

What I mean is that I had known the fellow ever since I had moved to Bainbridge more than twenty years ago. I also took part in his funeral and know that when I say “Glory Land, just beyond the Jordan” I’m referencing his eternal home in heaven.

I answered because I knew the name. “Hi Tom, how’s the weather up there?”

The surprising answer asked me if Donna was home. The voice had an Indian accent and I don’t mean like Tonto. Anyone who asks for Donna doesn’t know that Donna is only half the name. Donna Sue is the full, first name.
“Donna is not here and I don’t recognize your voice.”

“Well, maybe you can help me. I’m calling for the Policemen’s Benevolence Association.”

I play with the caller. “You mean the Policemen’s Benevolence Association of New Delhi? I just sent them a check yesterday. Oh, by the way, how’s Tom doing? You must be at his house since you are using his telephone.”

Of course by the time I stop talking, Shavishni had already hung up. I’m thinking that was his name although he introduced himself as Phil.

Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the invention of the telephone and made the first call on March 10, 1876. His first call was to his assistant, Mr. Watson. Although there are historical records of the brief conversation, I happen to know details that have not been revealed.

First of all, I know that it took ten minutes to get through to Mr. Watson because Mr. Bell kept getting a busy signal. Then, when he got through, he got a recording!

Finally Mr. Bell made the call that history records. “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you.” Those are the words of history. There was more said.

Mr. Watson’s reply has not been included. “Who is this? I don’t recognize the number. Is this some sort of scam?”

Mr. Bell. “What do you mean scam? I’m trying to let you know about the new and better interest rates.”

Mr. Watson. “What happened to Belinda?”

Mr. Bell. “She moved to New Delhi and married Shavishni.”