When You Answer the Telephone, What Do You Say?
I owe this post to the folks at Futility Closet, one of my favorite websites. Apparently, the word “Hello” has a recent history. Although it was Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone, it was Thomas Edison who dictated what we said when we answered the call. In August 1877, he wrote a letter to the president of a telegraph company that was planning to introduce the telephone to Pittsburgh: “Friend David, I don’t think we shall need a call bell as Hello! can be heard 10 to 20 feet away. What do you think? EDISON.”
Edison’s thinking was that a bell was not necessary: The word “Hello” was sufficient to get the other party’s attention. It seems that we got the ringer anyway—as well as the word Hello.
It’s far better than what Alexander Graham Bell was planning to use as a greeting: “Hoy! Hoy!” By the time the caller stopped laughing, the call recipient would have hung up in frustration.
Nowadays, most of the calls I receive begin not with a greeting, but a click as some sort of machinery cranks up the robocall script. Perhaps I should just say, “Hoy! Hoy!” and hang up at once.
Democracy Can Be a Bitch!
We have a local election coming up on Tuesday, March 7. I will vote, of course, but I will not make any political canvassers deliriously happy. In fact, I might avoid answering the phone at all. There will be strange invitations to “town halls” from Judy, my “personal assistant”; there will be oddly inopportune “surveys”; and there will be young volunteers claiming to represent people running for the School Board, the City Council, or referendum issues financed by lying bastards from the real estate developers’ interests. If I pick up the phone at all, it will be to swear at telephone volunteers, or, more likely, at robocalls which stand no chance of being heard in their entirety by me.
Don’t people know that all democracy has given us this particular four years is a bonehead real-estate developer with tiny hands and a mind and penis to match. Politics is unspeakably foul; and anyone involved is suspect as far as I’m concerned.
My mailbox is jammed on a daily basis with expensive four-color pleas for my vote. Actually, they are helpful. Anyone candidate or issue that spends what I consider to be too much money is probably taking money from nefarious out-of-state interests, like the Koch Brothers and their ilk. I assume that most of what I hear or read will be outright lies, and that ultimately I am being romanced out of my God-given rights.
I can hardly wait for March 8 to roll along.
It’s a Backbone! That’s What It Is!
This evening I hung up on a robocall from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, U.S. Democratic Representative from Florida—presumably in a failed attempt to get me to donate to the Democrats’ circular firing squad. I hang up on her a lot these days.
Before I ever give them a penny again, I have to be convinced the Democrats are something more than a perpetual fundraising machine gone out of control. If they want money, Democrats have to stand for something other than merely not being Republicans. I know that the Tea Party and their Republican fellow travelers are obnoxious in the extreme. But, really, what do the Democrats stand for other than being elected or re-elected?
I want to support politicians that will fight for me—not merely to accumulate funds so that they can buy up scads of TV ad time for next year’s elections, and robocall and e-mail me a few thousand times more in the months to come.
If the Democrats somehow find their backbone, I’ll be glad to give them my support. But the stumblebums of 2014? They can go to hell.