Call of the wild


By Neil Offen

Your call is important to us.

All right, it’s not nearly as important to us as it is to you because, frankly, we are an automated voice bot and have all the time in the world and you are someone who would probably much prefer to go take a nap or finish your Wordle.

Still, for quality assurance purposes and because we may replay it for amusement while hanging out at the bar after work with other automatons, this call may be recorded. On the other hand, it may not be, so you’re not going to know one way or the other but you should be on your toes, anyway, just in case.

If we do record and you would like a transcript of the conversation, please press 1. If you just want the synopsis, or the USA Today version, please press 2.

Ok, then, let’s get started.

To assure the security of this call, please say or key in the maiden name of your mother’s dog.

Speak clearly. Don’t stumble. Enunciate. Turn off the music in the background. No coughing, and take the gum out of your mouth.

If your mother didn’t have a dog, say the name of the street you lived on when you first discovered that your mother wouldn’t let you get a dog.

Did you say glrrwhvst?

OK, let’s start again.  

Instead of a dog, did you at least get a lizard? Please say or key in your lizard’s 14-digit ID number, which you can find on the paws just above the 12-digit processing number and across the hall and down the block from the lizard’s 15-digit confirmation code.

The confirmation code should begin with a letter. If it doesn’t, you will need to say glrrwhvst again, this time in public, at a lectern, and backward. You may also have to be half-naked while you do this. It’s equally possible your third-grade teacher may be in the audience watching.

Whatever you do, don’t pause while saying your confirmation code so that we think you’ve actually stopped while, in fact, you’re either just catching your breath or had to watch an old episode of “Ted Lasso.”

OK, let’s start again.

Please say or key in the reason you are calling, as long as it is one of the three acceptable reasons for calling. These include checking your account balance, refilling a prescription or that your lizard is on fire.

I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. It sounded like someone’s lizard is on fire. Please call 911.

OK, if you’re still here, let’s start again.

Please say or key in the name of the account holder. The account holder could be you, your spouse, your auto insurance agent or the spouse of your auto insurance agent.

Press 3 if the spouse of your auto insurance agent has an unpronounceable Eastern European name with lots of consonants in odd places.

OK, we have no idea what you said, so let’s start again, but this is your last chance before we hang up, cancel all your accounts, and send a SWAT team to your house. 

Please say or key in the name of the current second baseman for the Chicago Cubs.

We’re sorry. Taylor Swift does not play second base for the Chicago Cubs. Please hang up and try again after finishing Wordle.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has been a humor columnist for four decades and on two continents. He is the author of “Building a Better Boomer,” available wherever books are sold.

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