CASE STUDY: The Telephone – Annoying or Irritating?

Posted: November 4, 2014 in Tim Braun
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m an email guy from way back. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “What could be said over a telephone call can now be typed word for word in complete clarity with a simple press of a letter on a keyboard – sent nearly as fast as a telephone call – and with complete 100%Jefferson understanding by the recipient.” Mr. Jefferson said this while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico but frankly I’m surprised he didn’t write it into the Declaration of Independence because it’s just so danged true.

If I never had to answer another telephone call I’d be a happy man. Sure – you could blame my hatred of the telephone on a partial lack of hearing that I have. Honestly though it’s because I have the attention span of a goldfish. Even when someone leaves me a message, I only listen to the first sentence or two and then delete it. That’s right. You heard it here first. Leave me a 2 minute voice mail? I have turned it into a piece of flotsam in the ocean of electronica – where all old radio signals and voice mails go to die – before even finishing it.

At no time of the year is the telephone a worse tool than late October/early November. Sure, you get your random sales calls 5 times a day all year – but during the above period you get the random woman running for Chief Handwasher at the local Walmart. The guy running for Assistant Secretary to the Secretary of Human Assistant Secretaries. They all come out of the woodwork and call ME. For MY vote.

Yesterday, the day before Election Day, was the worst. Luckily I have caller ID and don’t have to answer each and every (i.e. or any) phone calls. However, at 4:30PM I got a phone call from someone that the answering machine picked up. He proceeded to say that if I would stay on the line they would join me to this local official’s (or maybe governor, I have no clue) conference call. Keep in mind that I never answered, it was the answering machine that was doing my communication. After about 30 seconds of droning on and on, they actually connected my answering machine to a conference with this guy. He droned on and on and said that if anyone had questions, that they should press ‘3’ to be able to ask that question. Still all on the answering machine. So bearing in mind that I have the brain and attitude of a 5-year old, I pmaryicked up the phone and pressed ‘3’ to see what would happen.

A very pleasant lady came on the line and asked what my question was. This was my chance to change the world! My chance to make a difference! Are you waiting with bated breath to hear what brilliant piece of insight I threw to the masses?

I said nothing. I happily played ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ with the phone buttons until she left the line and rejoined me to the conference (see sentence above for the approximate age level of my brain). I could HEAR her becoming frustrated.  This was great fun. REMEMBER – AT NO TIME DID I ASK TO BE A PART OF THIS AFTER THEY CALLED ME IN A WILLY-NILLY MANNER. So what now? Lather, rinse and repeat. I did this about 10 times while I was watching TV and they had this conference thing going on upon my answering machine.

I’m not proud of what I’ve done. Wait. Yes I am.

My wife signed up all the family phone numbers the other day for an Emergency Alert system from the County. This was unbeknownst to anyone but her. What emergency could the County exactly be calling us for? Would we be asked to help out? Be better citizens?

At 3:00am….not pm…….the other morning my wife gets a text message saying that there was a Freeze Warning for the County. freezeThen she got a phone call on her cell phone. Then my cell phone got a call. They my kids phones got calls. Then the family number got a call. All within a space of about 3 minutes. It was telephonic chaos. All because the temperature had dipped below 32 degrees.

So I quickly threw on my overalls, raced out to the barn and started up my tractor. I was in a hurry to pull the heaters out of the storage shed and place them all around my 40 acres of corn crop that I had just planted. I didn’t have time to worry about the cows that were in the back pasture.  Thank you SO MUCH for calling me and letting me know.

Oh wait. I have one tomato plant. And I’m fine with just going to the local supermarket and buying a stupid tomato. Crisis averted.

Even my wife gets into the misuse of the phone. Who am I kidding – every use of the phone is a misuse of the phone. But she’ll call me when she’s driving home and say “I’m 5 minutes from home….” Again – what do I do with that information? Hide the drugs? Put away the heavy metal devil music?

Please don’t call me. Just send me an email. I’m grumpy….I’m bitter….and I’d be happy to READ what you have to say. I just don’t want to hear you.

Thank you for your understanding.


  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    You’re preaching to the choir here. I’m not a phone person. Email me–or better yet–text me. I rarely answer my landline anymore. Then again, it rarely rings…


  2. Anonymous says:

    I plan to call u everyday just to say Hi! Loved this one


    • Thank you Mr./Mrs. Anonymous. I can guarantee you that if your number comes up as Anonymous on the caller ID, you won’t be speaking to me. You MAY get “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, but that’s it.


  3. I will never understand why people pick up the phone when they are busy with something more important. Like talking to me. I know people who would interrupt rescuing twins from a burning building to take a call. And then there are the ones who take a call from someone who is mad at them, and they just stand there, going “Yes, but”, looking sadder and sadder, with the phone stuck to their ear – wait, no, THE PHONE IS NOT STUCK. They are HOLDING IT UP AGAINST THEIR OWN EAR, listening to someone abuse them. WHY? Why do people DO that? The best thing about telephones is being able to ignore them. And the next best thing is being able to hang up on someone who’s being a jerk.


  4. Laughing out loud at this. I am the same way with voice mails. Constantly deleting- and then having to cover myself later in conversations when the person (naively, and with a bit of clueless hope, I might add) assumes I had listened to their entire 8 minute message and can hop right in on a conversation about it. The worst is phone messages at work though….as I am accessing my voice mail, I am uttering under my breath “Just e-mail! Why don’t you just e-mail?” and then they always close their message with a chipper, “Hey, can you call me back?” …No….no, I can not.


  5. CD says:

    I just called and left a voicemail with my thoughts and opinions…..yes, I am the caller AND emailer….I leave the 8 min long voicemail, then email the exact same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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