Yesterday, I had a call scheduled at 2:00 PM. Just a few minutes before 2, the person emailed me in a panic, wanting to know where the Zoom link was. After a year of working from home, the whole world is conditioned to think that a “call” means a video meeting. He couldn’t possibly fathom that I was actually going to dial numbers and use a phone to communicate!

Even funnier (to me at least), he seemed out of sorts the first couple of minutes of the call. So dependent on seeing a person on his screen (or at least an icon that shows the call is coming via his computer’s wifi) was this guy, that the sound of a disembodied voice coming through his cell phone threw him off his game. It was delicious! 

Is it just the pandemic that has caused us to fear the phone? I would say the unrelenting calls from scammers and telemarketers have added to the problem. I get bombarded by them and of course, you know if you’ve subscribed for any length of time, I like to mess with them. 

Probably my funniest example is when an “Extended Warranty” company called me multiple times one day. Finally, I answered and when the woman on the other end asked how I was doing, I quoted the line from the movie The Silence of the Lambs, “It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose.” 

There was a series of gasps and mumbles and then the line went dead. I’m going to assume she began looking for another line of work immediately. 

Unfortunately for me, my wife overheard and expressed her displeasure for my shenanigans. To which I responded, “They’re trying to sell me a fake car warranty and I’m the villain?” **

At any rate, I’m not allowed to quote horror films to telemarketers anymore. So now, I try to sell them books. I’ve got a whole script that I force them to listen to until they hang up.

But getting back to the main point, those little bricks we carry around to check Facebook, play video games, and check how many steps it took to walk from the sofa to the fridge still have the ability to make phone calls. 

And sometimes, you need the safety and privacy that a traditional phone call gives you. Just Google Zoom meeting fails and you’ll find all kinds of nonsense that has happened while people were on live video calls. I saw someone picking their nose in a meeting. If they had called me on the phone, they could have picked with impunity! And I wouldn’t see that image in my mind when I get their emails! 

So, this week behave yourselves on those Zoom calls, and don’t forget to use your phone once in a while. Call your mom. And mess with a telemarketer. Let me know if you need a script… 

Carry on, Citizens!

**The correct answer (according to my wife) was YES, I was the villain.