Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Answering Machines -Part I - Backfired! :)

The previous post is the inspiration for this post because it also involves difficulty in hearing, but with intention... for the purpose of a joke.

Except it backfired and one older co-worker friend got mad at me... which in turn caused me to cease and desist immediately!

Do you remember the older answering machines in which a little cassette tape was used to record your messages? Well...I have a little collection of them because I became one of those (to some people) annoying individuals who could never have a normal short greeting on their answering machine.

I was actually inspired by a very funny neighbor and her husband who were constantly putting hilarious greetings on their phone. Well... of course I just had to do the same!

In my opinion... my best and all time favorite one was when I pretended to be the French maid...Fifi Du Fou-fon ...working for the SeaSprays. I can still do it. :) but I'm not talking about Fifi in this post.

Instead... this is about another message in which 2 people got mad at me... my uncle and my former co-worker being the most annoyed. Other people fell for it but laughed that they fell for it. :)

It was simple really.

I left a message with appropriate pauses to let the other person answer. The message opened with my saying: "Hello? Hello?" And then in a nice friendly voice.. "I'm sorry I can't hear you..could you please speak a little louder? What?" My voice more elevated now..." moment please"... at which point I bang the phone on the counter..."Okay.. go ahead... I STILL can't hear you! Hello? HELLO? TRY CALLING BACK!"

Now my friends and family mostly knew it was a joke but not all. My uncle called me from Alabama one day and was thoroughly annoyed and did not see the humor in it at all. I admit that even though I felt bad I angered him and even a little nervous... I had all I could do from chuckling outwardly... because he fell for it. I know..bad SeaSpray. Well not bad..just somewhat impish. It was a joke after all.

I still didn't remove it.

But then one afternoon... while the boys were in school..I decided to lie down for a little nap out in the family room. The phone rang. I screen my messages and I really wanted to nap and figured I'd get it when I wake up. But then it rang again. Then the phone rang a third time... immediately after the 2nd one and so I jumped up concerned it was an emergency.

I got to the phone hearing the AT&T operator's voice concerned I had something wrong with the phone. I quickly picked up to inform her it was an answering machine joke. She told me this man from Pennsylvania had been trying to reach me and was concerned my phone was out of order and so reported it to the phone company.

"Oh boy."

I thanked her for her call and told her I would call him immediately.

He was a very nice older co-worker ... a security guard who had befriended me. He spoke Japanese (married to a Japanese woman) and German and we often had discussions about languages. He was also this beautiful Christian man who was a wealth of information and we'd Have some interesting theological discussions... although I didn't agree with his views entirely. And every so often... would give me cassette tapes of messages various speakers he recorded for me to hear. I still have them.

Okay...I am not going to lie... admittedly... right or wrong... there was still a part of me that was amused it worked so well... but much more so... I did feel bad... because he obviously was concerned for me.

When I came up with this idea...I only saw the "Gotcha.. you fell for the joke! LOL!" factor and never figured genuine concern would also be in the equation.

So I sheepishly called him back and apologized and explained it was just a joke and our phones were working.

Well..this mild mannered man was so mad at me and I don't remember everything he said.. but I do remember hims saying.."I think that's TERRIBLE! I thought something was WRONG with your phone and I called the operator to HELP YOU!"


I apologized again on the phone and I apologized again in person the next time I worked with him. He never did see the humor in it.

I never anticipated that someone might possibly feel like a fool with an answering machine joke ... might just get them a l-i-t-t-l-e bit ANGRY! I just figured my uncle was a lot older and maybe didn't get the humor. I had friends that laughed and said I got them. It was meant to be funny. I loved that telemarketers might fall for it.

It was a JOKE!

Anyway...I never again did a recording that would cause another to get involved..thus putting themselves out there for humiliation.

But I did others and so will continue another time.

I will just say... that when answering machines were new... they were a novelty and it was fairly common to get messages.

I don't do it anymore... but in my heart.... I am.

So..I will continue with Fifi Du Fou-fon, Darla Mae, the aliens, the B-52 bomber, the police and the aliens-space travel, etc., at another time. :)

P.S. If I fell for that...I'd be laughing and tell my friend it was funny. But..lesson learned. :)

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