Category Archives: story

Turning the Tables on Telemarketers

One of the things that used to just drive me crazy was telemarketers calling in the middle of a relaxed evening. Not anymore! Now, I LOVE telemarketers! One unsuspecting telemarketer can make the week!!

Telemarketers today are the old door to door salesmen of years gone by. And as for either one, it doesn’t matter what they are selling, soliciting or surveying, this dog ain’t biting that ham bone!

It’s probably not right, but my goal when telemarketers call and disturb a quiet, peaceful evening is to tie up as much of their time as humanly possible. Their uninvited call becomes my entertainment.

The key, and this is important, the key is to make a telemarketer think you are sincere, but not very smart.  I have a get out of jail free card on the not very smart part, but the sincere part has to be done in some other voice, like a backwards redneck with a severe southern drawl.

My telemarketer call record was a couple of 15-minute phone calls. My first 15-minute call I convinced the poor woman I’d taken pain medication, so I mumbled and acted confused the entire time. She kept asking if she could put me down for a donation to an environmental group, but I was able to turn the tables on her and started thanking her repeatedly for offering to help me financially. I just kept talking non-stop, in slurred speech, about how I was 83 years old, just had surgery, didn’t have any food and my great grandkids needed new shoes for school.

The more I talked, the more uncomfortable she got. She kept trying to interrupt and explain that she was asking for money, not giving it away. Every time she would start to say it I would just mumble over and over, “Oh tank ya, Jesus! Tank ya!” That was a fifteen minute call.

Last Spring a telemarketer number popped up on caller ID, so I used an idea I read about. Before they could say a word, I answered by half speaking, have secretly whispering, “John! I got rid of the body, but there’s blood everywhere!!”

There was nothing but silence on the other end.

“John?! John!! That better be you on the phone!!”  Then all I heard was a dial tone.

Janet was sitting on the couch and looked at me mortified saying the police would be showing up any minute. They never came. I’m assuming the telemarketer was afraid because their number was on caller ID. (Said with an evil Dr. Jekyll laugh of, “Bru,who,hahahahaha!”)

Continue reading Turning the Tables on Telemarketers

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And Then It Went Silent

It was before calls could be identified, so it was next to impossible to trace. He called the 1-800 crisis line number in the middle of the night, and it was my night on call to cover the phone.

He went into great detail telling me he wanted someone to know everything he was thinking before he put a bullet in his head to end it all. Continue reading And Then It Went Silent

Eating Out Where They’re Out to Lunch

After my daughter’s out of town volleyball games, Janet and I look for out-of-the-way places to eat in rural East Texas. Sometimes though…

…sometimes, we should turn around. Like, what if the door doesn’t have a closing time? What kind of place closes just, whenever? It reminds me of the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.  Hint, hint, hint. There’s no closing time on the door. Yikes!

Inside we stood wondering what to do, but it was a country cafe so we seated ourselves.  We saw another couple we know from volleyball who had the same bright idea. We spoke and discovered they had been there a while but hadn’t ordered yet.  (There’s another clue.) Continue reading Eating Out Where They’re Out to Lunch

Horror Stuck on Me!

Yesterday I talked to a man who passes out cold when he gets a shot.  He can watch other people get a shot, like his kids, but point the needle his way… KABOOM!  He’s gone!  Out like a light! To top it off, he says he always has a nightmare about it that night, which in turn, wakes him up for hours. So the shot knocks him out, but results in a nightmare that keeps him awake.  Hmm.  It’d fun to jump out from behind a bush one day with a hypodermic needle just to see what would happen!

Everyone has something that creeps them out. You usually just don’t know what it is.  Unfortunately, this is the month everyone seems to face some kind of fear. There’s even a Halloween horror movie marathon running the whole month on cable. Non-stop horror movies is not my cup of tea! Continue reading Horror Stuck on Me!

Tire Store Epitome

A front end alignment appointment at 8 AM on Saturday seemed straight forward, but trucks, cars and mobile equipment were everywhere. Inside, about fifteen men were waiting. Interestingly, all were wearing boots, jeans and a plaid or denim shirt, except for the tire shop owner who was dressed up because he had on a Magellan fishing shirt. That’s not an endorsement or condemnation of anyone, just a local clothing colloquialism.

When a middle-aged man walked in wearing designer shorts, spotless, name brand tennis shoes and a lime green dress shirt with a fuzzy vest over it, he stood out like a leprechaun at a slam dunk basketball competition. Even more so, his overly bronze face and legs looked more like a tanning bed accident rather than nature’s sunshine reward and he seemed, I don’t know, awkward. Each black and silver hair was perfectly in place and not one of them moved, even in the wind.

Continue reading Tire Store Epitome

Coffee Kindness

We had a blood drive at work recently.  A co-worker is an avid donor and has donated blood, not just platelets or plasma, but whole blood, 126 times now!  That’s 126 pints, 63 quarts, 15.75 gallons of his blood to help others! That’s incredible!

I’ve always asked why, but he just says he doesn’t do anything for anyone else and this is a way he can do his part, but it’s always seemed there was something more.  The other day we talked about the blood drive and he shared the something more.  Normally he’s a stoic, private guy, whose emotions swing little one way or the other, so it was a privilege to hear his story. Continue reading Coffee Kindness

Calf Roping Little Brother

I’d never heard this story from my four sons until a few years ago, but here’s the true talking points of an ever changing set of “official facts”, depending on who you talk to. The bottom line was they were playing Cowboys and wanted to rope calves. Since we didn’t have calves, they told Clark, who is the youngest and only four years old at the time, that they would give him candy if he would run wild while they chased him down and roped him. “It’ll be fun Clark”, they told him, “It’ll be fun”.

Most of the time when mischief was involved, there was a common thread of how it went down. Blake, the oldest, was the mastermind. Jared, the second born, did it. Todd, the third, got blamed. This time, however, they were all in it together. They envisioned themselves as a hard riding, straight shooting, rough and ready band of true blue cowboys…at least in their imaginations. But in reality, they were a barefooted, t-shirt and shorts, backyard, band of boys 12 years and younger. Continue reading Calf Roping Little Brother

A Short Time To Live

Two and half months ago a lightening strike at work crashed our computer server and immediately brought us to our knees. Within an hour a couple of computer geeks who work for the IT Company we contract with showed up. One started on the main frame and one, Joe, began checking individual computers. I walked in my office to see Joe at my desk.  Joe glanced up and asked if I was having problems. I told him I’d spilled a cup of coffee on the tower and it’s acted funny ever since.  Slightly amused, he retorted that my computer was just low on gasoline and after he filled it up and left he wanted me to plug it back in.

I stood fumbling through some paperwork while Joe kept hacking and coughing. Half joking, half serious, I told Joe if he’d lay off the cigarettes his cough would go away. Without looking up from the keyboard he casually said, “Not this time. I found out last week I have stage 4 lung cancer. It only goes downhill from here.” Continue reading A Short Time To Live

First Massage

It was way, way out of my comfort zone, and certainly NOT my idea! We were on a beach in Cozumel and a lady approached Janet with a brochure about a massage. Janet was all in on that conversation, so I wandered over to the water’s edge looking for any little fish I could spot.

A few minutes later I wandered back and she had booked one – a one hour couple’s massage. Ouch! The lady who made the sale stood staring at me looking like her children wouldn’t have shoes if I refused. Continue reading First Massage

Hurricane Heros

The remnants of Hurricane Harvey are still dumping Mother Nature’s tears on my home town of Angleton.  Houston, an hour north, is getting deluged with rain. Creeks, rivers and bayous are overflowing, and every drop of rain on top of that is making life hard on family, friends and strangers.  Having grown up in the area, this is beyond hard. These are some of the most stressful, difficult, trying days one can imagine!

People are leaving their homes for higher ground, but then they are stranded, including Continue reading Hurricane Heros