Since my birthday is coming up this weekend (and my anniversary, and yes, I get awesome gifts) I thought I would share a story from birthday number 37, which was not THAT long ago, thank you very much.
My younger sister used to live around the corner from us. Our backyards connected. We removed a section of fence so we could walk to each other's homes without having to share our lack of support garments with the neighborhood. The night before my 37th birthday, she was over visiting. Around 10 p.m., the phone rang. Wrong number. Around 10:02, the phone rang again. Wrong number again but this time? It was a different caller.
"Who did they ask for?" Sister inquired.
"Actually," I responded, "they both sounded like they were asking for the same thing. Bay Call? What is that, like the San Francisco phone company?" So we finished our beers. There was one more wrong number. At about 11 p.m. Bay Call? WTF?
Next morning, I was enjoying sleeping in for my birthday. Except that the phone started ringing at 7 a.m. Incessantly. And every one trying to reach Bay Call. Happy Birthday to me. Around 8:30, I gave up and got up to have breakfast and read the paper. I love the Detroit Free Press. Coffee and paper...birthday heaven. I decide to just let the phone ring. When they got the answering machine, most of them hung up. Most.
At around 10 a.m., my dad came over. My parents lived about a mile away from us. He came over because my mom was trying to call and sing Happy Birthday (family tradition), but she couldn't get through on the phone. No shit.
As I am explaining the situation to my dad, I turn the page in the paper, and there it is: a full page ad from Bayer Pharmaceuticals regarding the recall of their cholesterol medication, Baycol. Yes, you guessed it. These calls were somehow being routed to my home phone. And this ad? Had been published that morning in every major daily in America. Holy crap.
I believe it was Karl Jung who once said, "When life gives you lemons, they make a great martini garnish." So I unplugged the answering machine from the phone line, recorded a new message something like this, "Hello. This is NOT Bayer Pharmaceuticals. This is a private home. I cannot help you with your cholesterol medication. However, it is my birthday today, and if you'd like to leave me a birthday message, please do so at the sound of the beep."
Come back tomorrow for Pt. II, the recorded messages.