Friday, January 07, 2005

Excuse Me, But I Think I Know My Own Name

One day maybe 10 years ago, back when I was living in a town in north central Illinois, I came home to find a message on my answering machine. It was from the local veterinary clinic, some dude calling to inform a lady (let's call her Mrs. Smith) that she should stop by to pick up some medication for her dog Bruno.

Well, I phoned back, got this same dude on the line. I said I didn't want Bruno to miss his medication, so I wanted to let him know that his message to Mrs. Smith had somehow ended up on my answering machine.

He said, "Is this 555-1234?"

I said, "Yeah, that's my number, but I'm afraid I've never heard of Mrs. Smith or Bruno before. Maybe she accidentally gave you the wrong number."

He said, "You're Mr. Smith." Not a question, a statement.

I said, "Uh, no, my name's Paul Burgess, I'm afraid I've never heard of Mrs. Smith."

He said, this time in a rather peremptory tone, "No, your name is Paul Smith-Burgess."

I said, "?????"

He repeated, in an even louder and now rather angry tone of voice, "I said, your name is Paul Smith-Burgess."

I said, "No, I think I know my own name. And I'm afraid I've never heard of Mrs. Smith before."

He boomed angrily into the phone, "Your name is Paul Smith-Burgess, I heard it on your answering machine!!!"

I said, "Oh? Well, listen to this." I pushed a button on my answering machine, and the message played over the line: "Hi, this is Pastor Paul Burgess. I'm sorry I can't come to the phone right now, but if you'll leave your name, phone number, and a message at the tone..."

Bloodied and bowed but not defeated, he said afterwards, "Well, 'Pastor Paul Burgess,' that sounds like 'Paul Smith-Burgess.'"

I said, "Oh. Well, I just wanted to make sure Bruno didn't miss his medication."

Since I was in a fairly good humor that day, I decided not to mention that this dude's boss, the veterinarian, was a parishioner of mine, and in fact an Elder on our church Session; and that in a town of several thousand, I could easily be over at the veterinary clinic within 5 or 10 minutes, to discuss this little misunderstanding face-to-face. By the way, is Doctor So-and-So in right now?

Come to think of it, that was one of the most blogosphere-like experiences I've ever had, out here in meatspace.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dean Esmay said...

Confess you bastard--you have Bruno tied up in a closet and won't give him his meds!

AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MRS. BURGESS-SMITH?!?!?!

Saturday, January 08, 2005 1:06:00 PM  
Blogger Honnistaibe said...

lol..I haven't had such a good chuckle in a long time..not since the old Batman TV Series. I think your rendition of the "Penquin" was far superior to Frank Goshen's "Riddler" or Cesar Romero's "Joker".

Saturday, January 08, 2005 3:03:00 PM  
Blogger Caltechgirl said...

heh. Your comments were much appreciated yesterday. The horse's ass comment in particular was the laugh of the day. My mother nearly choked herself laughing at that one.

I so totally would have gotten this back to his boss, but I would have been funny about it, something like "did you know that your office thinks I'm Paul Burgess-Smith?"

Saturday, January 08, 2005 5:33:00 PM  

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