Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Phone Phraseology for Phools


King of creative calling
Answering the phone is an art form.
Ranging from cheerful.
My personal favourite.
To surly.
Not so popular. 
Then there’s: Clever.
Quirky.
Crass.
Even disgusting.
How you answer the phone says a lot about you.
Maybe not in actual words, but the meaning’s pretty clear . . .
Hello!! L (What d’ya want!? I’m having the worst, terrible, awful, no-good day. And you just made it worse!)
Or: Hello!! JJ (I’ve been running through soft fields of primroses and I’m so happy, I just want to share, share, share!)
See what I mean?
In the Stringam household, telephone answering was very often . . . creative.
My brother, George, being the king.
Case in point:
The phone rang.
I should probably explain, here, that these were the days of the rotary phone (Google it). There were no such things as call display, call waiting, or even answering machines (Except, maybe in the CIA or FBI or CSIS . . . or on Star Trek).
So there was absolutely no way for us normal folks to know who was calling.
Also, an actual electrical cord attached the single home phone to the wall and yet another cord attached the receiver to the phone.
It was entirely possible to get completely wrapped up in you call.
So to speak.
Just FYI.
Sooo . . . back to the ringing phone . . .
My brother, George, he of the creative answering technique, was closest.
He picked it up.
“This is the devil! Who in hell do you want?”
Whereupon (good word) my mother smacked George.
Figuratively speaking.
Now, normally, when my brother answered the phone, the person on the other end of the line would laugh and say something equally inappropriate and the conversation would continue.
On this particular occasion, all George heard was a mighty ‘click’ as the phone at the other end of the line was forcibly returned to its cradle.
He shrugged and hung up.
The phone rang again.
Again, George picked it up.
“This is the devil! Who in . . .” you get the rest.
There was a short, breathless pause, then, “It that you, George?!!!LLL
I put in the little frowny faces to convey . . . displeasure.
Because the caller was my paternal Grandmother.
And she didn’t think my brother was funny.
At all.
Oops.
Sheepishly, George admitted it. “Yes,” he said.
“Let me talk to your father! LLL
Notice the continuing frowny faces.
Ahem . . .
George handed the phone to Dad and headed for the nearest far-away place.
Dad received a lecture from his eighty-five-year-old mother, which he dutifully passed on to the culprit.
I’d like to tell you that the creative answering ended there.
That from then on, all calls were answered with respect and decorum.
I’d be lying.

18 comments:

  1. My brother and I used to do that! Mom would be ready to kill us! My maiden is "Haskett" so we would answer Haskett's Casket Company you kill em' we chill em' or something equally disgusting. I had forgotten all about that until just now! I know how I am answering the telemarketers when they call me now! I saw your comment on Lana's blog about having computers for weeks thought it was hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haskett's Casket company . . . Brilliant! I wonder what my Grandmother would have thought of that one! :)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Heehee! Love it! I'm gonna use that one!

      Delete
  3. Your stories about your dad's pranks make me wonder if he wasn't just a little bit amused by the whole thing!

    I never answered the phone with anything but "hello"; however, it has become a wary "hello" if the caller ID shows an unknown area code (usually a telemarketer in our case). I would like to have the guts to use George's greeting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think dad was secretly guffawing! (Ooh! Good word!) My personal favourite? Hello, Diane speaking! What's you're favourite colour? People usually say, "Ummm . . . (name a colour)? I think it's hilarious . . . ;)

      Delete
  4. Nobody else could ever answer the phone at my house, because my sister was always hovering nearby, ready to snatch it up! Does your brother still answer the phone with so much... creativity?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes definitely. He's nothing, if not creative!

      Delete
  5. Actually that devil greeting has carried on for going onto 50 years. I still use it, especially when I can read the caller ID. I have my own ways to answer telemarketers. I go through a huge spiel for 15 minutes or so, like it's a recording. I say things like: if you're looking for donations, phone (I leave them the number for the revenue people). When I was always getting calls for my delinquent boys (whom I showed the door a long time before that), I told them to call 1-800-873-5377. I'd give them time to write it down and just tell them to remember 1-800-USELESS. Some people are gunshy about phoning my place. I wonder why?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm not seeing frowny faces, I'm seeing capital Ls.
    My brother-in-law used to answer with "(town) Loony bin, head loon speaking", while one of my kids sometimes said "House of Pies, today's special is apple"; a friend always said "talk to me"
    I quite like George's "This is the devil, who in hell do you want?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My SIL just informed me that all of my little faces are either L's or J's. Sorry about that. I guess word doesn't translate into Blogger very well. I love the 'head loon' comment. Must remember that one! And the pies!

      Delete
  7. Telemarketers! I'd say hello and they'd start their spiel, so I'd know I didn't want to talk to them, so I'd repeat hello several times then hang up. Now I don't have a landline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have to try that one. Just repeating hello. Simple. Elegant. Effective.

      Delete
  8. Oh this was a really LOL one. I can just picture it all; even being wound up in the cord. My brother was similar and probably helped me lose a few friends. Thanks and blessings for the smile.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I grew up without brothers - or a phone during some of my high school years we lived in Spain! Sounds like I missed out on a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete

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