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Are You a Rude and Disrespectful Cell Head?

Definition of a Cell Head:

noun
  1. short for cellular head or empty head

(1)  A person obsessed with his cell phone.

(2)  A person who lives with his eyes or ear glued to a cell phone

(3)  A person with a stronger relationship with his cell phone than with people

(4)  A person whose life is dominated by his cell phone

(5)  A rude and disrespectful person

If you are guilty of any of the following 10 cell phone behaviors you are a CELL HEAD.  Your use of your cell phone is often RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL:

  1. You are rude and disrespectful if you use your cell phone at the dinner table;
  2. You are rude and disrespectful if you use your cell phone in a restaurant while dining with others;
  3. You are rude and disrespectful if you constantly check your cell phone for new messages in the presence of other people;
  4. You are rude and disrespectful if you use your cell phone to message, text, tweet, or surf the web while visiting in someone’s home;
  5. You are rude and disrespectful if you use your cell phone in your car to message, text, tweet, or surf the web while stopped at a traffic light and it causes you to hold up traffic when the light turns green because you are not paying attention;
  6. You are rude and disrespectful if you use your cell phone to message, text, tweet, or surf the web in a movie theater during the movie;
  7. You are rude and disrespectful – but primarily disgusting – if you use your cell phone in a public restroom while sitting on the pot or standing at the urinal;
  8. You are rude and disrespectful – as well as obnoxious – if you carry on a cell phone conversation while walking down the street. walking in the mall, or doing your business in a public restroom loud enough for those around you to hear;
  9. You are rude and disrespectful if you use your cell phone while engaged in a face to face conversation with another person.  Few things are more rude or disrespectful than having a conversation with someone and in mid-sentence or story they take out their cell phone to check for messages; and
  10. You are rude and disrespectful if you cannot turn your cell phone off, leave it in the car, leave it in your purse, or place it on silent when visiting or engaged in a conversation.  Instead of being RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL, why not pleasantly surprise everyone and join the conversation?  It might surprise you to discover all the endless calls and messages that titillate and inspire your life will be waiting for you after the visit to grandma’s house or the face to face conversation with a friend.

My Advice to Cell Heads:

  1. People first – Cell phone second!
  2. If dealing with a major emergency or health issue that you must closely monitor by phone, let people know, put your cell phone on silent/vibrate, and excuse yourself politely to take a message when it buzzes. Other than that, turn your phone off and forget it for a few minutes while visiting in someone’s home or engaged in face to face conversations;
  3. Always be present for the people you are with by focusing on them rather than someone floating in cyberspace;
  4. When you enter a public restroom, put your cell phone away while doing your business. When finished with your business, wash your hands before reaching for your cell phone unless you don’t mind nasty toilet microorganisms transferred from your hands to your phone to your face;
  5. If your cell phone is the first thing you hold in the morning and the last thing you hold at night, you have a problem.  GET A LIFE!

People, there is no other way to say it . . . .

IF YOUR CELL PHONE TAKES PRIORITY OVER PEOPLE (especially family and friends), YOU ARE A RUDE AND DISRESPECTFUL CELL HEAD!

You have the power to control your cell phone!  Of course, if you are a CELL HEAD, the cell phone controls you.  IT’S A CHOICE!

If someone must play second-fiddle for your attention, it should be the person on the other end of your cell phone.  There is an old adage that says “Love the one you are with!”  So, why not start a new one that says, “Be attentive to the one you are with!”  Who knows, with a little more personal interaction, we might actually break down some of the barriers, such as HUMAN DISCONNECT, that plaque our world.

JL

©Jack Linton, August 31, 2018

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You Know You are Old When . . . .

I had given little thought to growing old until recently at a kid’s sporting event my grown daughter turned to give me a helping hand down the bleachers.  In that moment, she unintentionally shattered any delusions of immortality I might have held.  Like everyone, I have little aches and pains from time to time, but other than needing a full-length mirror to see my toes and getting winded if I walk further than my recliner to the kitchen table, I felt reasonably fit and young for my age.   That is – until my goody-good daughter interfered with my fantasy world.  In a reversal of roles, the little girl I once carried up and down those same bleachers had become the protector of her old decrepit father.  Of course, she had no ill-intent, but her kind, respectful gesture was an eye opener – a reality check for me. 

I was polite and joked with her that the first sign of old age was reaching for the handrail on the stairs, but underneath, I was having none of it.   My virility – my manhood – had been questioned!  I rushed home moving faster than I have become accustomed, ignored my wife’s wise advice to rest in my recliner when I arrived, crawled up the stairs, and gasping for breath, pulled myself off my knees to the bathroom vanity to face the mirror.  I was horrified!  The blinders were gone.  The rose-colored glasses shattered.  The veil shielding my eyes from the mirror’s reality had been lifted.  I was old, and all the king’s men and all the king’s horses couldn’t put young Jack together again.  I wanted to cry but forgot why.

It took a day or two, but I forgave my daughter.  Although I would have preferred to stay in the dark a bit longer, it felt good to know she was so loving and concerned.  She could have just as easily pushed as offered her hand, but her mama taught her better.  I thank her and her mama – old fat men do not fall gracefully.  But, children – regardless of their good intentions – should be extra careful when exposing parents to the fact they are no longer young.  Most parents are way over the hill before they are willing to accept aging as a reality, and then it is only after years of incontinence, losing a tooth or three in their cereal bowl, living in a house smelling of mothballs and cheese, and leaving the thermostat set at 90 degrees year-round that they realize they are neck deep in their golden years.  Of course, there are parents who hold desperately to the illusion of youth – grandmothers who insist on dressing like their teen granddaughters, and grandfathers who wear sleeveless t-shirts with drooping lightning bolts tattooed on their upper arms.  Those poor souls may never wake to reality, but for the rest of us there are reminders of our mortality all around us.  For those of us with a thread of self-respect and dignity, it is paramount we recognize the signs of old age before someone, like our daughters, shock the hell out of us with pity, disguised as love, and an attitude of unsolicited “ah, the poor thing needs help.”

So, my advice to old decrepit hangers-on is take a deep breath and own up to the fact that over the years your children and life have simply worn you out.  If we are lucky and live long enough, old age happens to all of us, but . . . no one wants to be blind-sided by it!   Learn to recognize the many signs you have outlived your usefulness in a youth-oriented society.  Be prepared, don’t let your declining years sneak up on you!  Read the signs of advancing years printed below carefully and memorize them.  If, like me, that is easier said than done, print the list and put it under your hat or in your shoe for safe keeping, but if you are afraid you won’t remember where you stashed the list, stick it on the refrigerator – even us old fogies remember where to find the refrigerator.  Educate yourself to the signs of old age, and then celebrate you made it this far.

 You know you are old. . . .

1.     When you immediately reach for the handrail when climbing stairs;

2.     When your gut hangs lower than your butt;

3.     When you hear “booty call” and your first thought is adult diapers;

4.     When it takes Preparation H to shrink the wrinkles under your eyes;

5.     When you can remember using a rotary dial telephone;

6.     When you are thankful for your remaining tooth;

7.     When the perfect evening is being left alone;

8.     When you remember buying two hamburgers, fries, and a Coke for a dollar at McDonalds and getting change;

9.     When you see a pretty girl in a bikini and wonder if she’s wearing enough sunblock;

10.  When people around you mistake patience for don’t give a damn;

11.  When gas is a routine punctuation during conversations;

12.  When something always hurts or smells;

13.  When “getting lucky” means you slept through the night without getting up to go to the john;

14.  When you can’t put two sentences back to back without forgetting what you want to say; and

15.  When bending or squatting is likely to result in a pop followed by an unpleasant odor;

Remember, you know you are old when you finally have time to sit back and enjoy the little things in life that really matter like daughters watching out for you when you walk down bleachers.  Old age is not a disease to be feared, so enjoy life – at least what you have left of it.

JL

©Jack Linton, November 19, 2018

Letter to a Teacher Who Fought Back

A few days ago a California teacher physically lashed back at a disrespectful and abusive student in his classroom.  In many ways the teacher was wrong, but in many ways, he did exactly what so many teachers across America wish they could do.  There were no winners in the classroom that day – not the student who initiated the confrontation, not the students who came to class to learn, not the school or the community, not fellow teachers, and especially not the teacher who had had enough and stood up for himself.  The incident was a reflection on what is happening across America in our schools.  It is a reflection on a society that has grown soft on teaching responsibility, honor, respect, and consequences for actions.  A major reason teachers – good teachers – are leaving the teaching profession in droves, the incident was a mirror into a profession that has been battered, bruised, and abused too long.  It was a cry for help, but once the dust settles, it will be forgotten and pushed under the carpet until next time.  Why?  Because that is what we do in America with realities we do not want to face.  Mr. Riley was not a hero in how he reacted to the student, but he was not wrong either.  Maybe, this letter will find its way to him and let him know a nation of teachers feel his frustration.

Dear Mr. Riley:

The video of the confrontation I saw between you and a student was wrong in many ways, but as a former teacher and school administrator, I understand your frustration. In our society, teachers are helpless verbal and physical targets for students who have little respect for themselves, their family, or any kind of authority. While most students are good and decent, there are those who wreak havoc in classrooms and schools with little concern for the inadequate consequences schools are allowed by law and school policy to administer. These students verbally and physically assault teachers, administrators, and classmates with no fear of consequences other than temporary removal from school or expulsion.   Mr. Riley, you and I know, sending students home to walk the streets is not punishment; it is the vacation they hoped for when they started the confrontation.

As a society, we have nurtured such student behavior by soft pedaling their disruptive and disrespectful behavior with excuses and blaming the teacher for any and all disruptions and/or confrontations. Maybe, it is time teachers followed your example, and if a student verbally and/or physically attacks, they should fight back.  Most likely that is not the example you wish to advocate, but if a high school student wants to talk like a man (I use the term loosely) and fight like a man, physically treating him like a man may be the medicine that puts an end to foul mouth aggressive behavior in schools.  To a young bully set on tearing down and destroying all in his/her path, anything less comes across as a weakness   Unfortunately, passive interventions often invite additional abuse against students and teachers alike.  Textbook behavior interventions and passive mediation strategies developed by behavior specialists with little real-world classroom experience have proven to have little sustained impact on defiant, deviant, and violent student behavior.  Therefore, it is difficult to condemn teachers who out of frustration, desperation, and concern for their personal safety stand up for themselves and fight back.

I am not for abusing students in any way, but we cannot continue to strip the humanity from our teachers and leave them sitting ducks for out-of-control delinquents. A teenage high school student has no right getting in the face of a grown man or woman and dehumanizing them – verbally or physically.  However, that is exactly what is currently happening in schools in this country! Many think it is the fault of school administrators who don’t intervene promptly, and in some cases that may be true, but most school administrators are just as frustrated and hog-tied as the teachers.  Their hands are tied by the laws and “time-out” sentimentality of our society.

So, Mr. Riley, although I don’t condone you slugging a student, especially repeatedly with your fists and cell phone, I fully understand your frustrations, and as a man, I can’t blame you. However, unlike students who engage in such behavior there are severe consequences for teachers when they lose control.  It may not be fair, but in the United States, when you signed your contract as a teacher, you signed away your rights as a human being and obligated yourself to serve at society’s mercy and discretion. It is unfortunate, but teachers are expected to subject themselves to physically aggressive students and parents and keep on clicking until they can click no more and are forced out of the profession they love, or they crack under the pressure. Mr. Riley, if you could have walked away, you would have avoided this controversy, but if you had, it is likely, the same student along with a couple of buddies encouraged by your inaction would have been waiting for you another day. However, as the result of this incident, if you return as a teacher, I seriously doubt a student will ever challenge you again in your classroom. The word will be out, “You don’t mess with Mr. Riley.”

Sir, I don’t know if you cracked or not, but you did give in to your base instinct to stand up for your humanity and fight back, but unfortunately, for a school teacher that is unthinkable. In the end, I am afraid standing up for yourself will mean little to your school district and a society that often forgets teachers are human also.  As a teacher who has been pushed close to wearing your shoes, I am sorry for your troubles and pray you land on your feet once the smoke clears.  By accounts from your colleagues and students, you are a good man, a good teacher, and deserve a break.  I pray you get that break because as a nation we desperately need good men who are good teachers in the classroom.

May God bless you and your family who I am sure are hurting with you.

JL

Jack Linton
Retired Mississippi teacher and school administrator

The Ark Encounter:  An Encounter of Faith?

Recently, my wife and I, along with another couple, set out on a thirty-five-day camping trip.  We spent weeks planning the trip carefully orchestrating every stop around a theme of music and nature.  The music trail would take us to Mountain View, Arkansas; Hurricane Mills, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Tupelo, Mississippi; and Meridian, Mississippi.  Blending those stops with time to enjoy nature at Mammoth Cave, Tennessee; Cumberland Falls, Kentucky; Smoky Mountains, Tennessee; Desoto State Park, Alabama; and Dismal Canyon, Alabama seemed like a great trip, and when we added The Ark Encounter in Kentucky, we figured the trip was perfection.  Despite a couple of days of rain, the trip was everything we hoped it would be except for one stop – The Ark Encounter.

Our visit to the Ark left me (I will not speak for the others) not just a little dismayed but uneasy about my experience.  Granted, the Ark replica at 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 50 feet tall is a spectacular feat of modern engineering and construction.  To think Noah and his sons built such a vessel 4,000 years ago with crude tools, and unlike the modern replica, their boat could float is absolutely mind boggling.  Of course, there are those who say the original Ark was a fairy tale not to be believed, but I choose to believe based on my upbringing and faith.  However, some of what I found inside the Ark was puzzling and faith rattling.  It pushed my faith in the Biblical story of the Ark to its limits.

First, there is little doubt The Ark Encounter at $48 a head to enter, $10 to park, a gift shop around every corner, zip lines that range in price from $49 to $99 per person is a money-making endeavor.  Bills must be paid, and someone must make a profit, so money-making did not surprise me.  Besides, remarkable detail prevailed throughout the interior of the vessel.  There was nothing cheap about the modern-day Ark – the structure inside and out is beautiful.  How the animals were housed and cared for in the Ark was logically presented although the designers freely admit they took artistic license with the beautifully designed displays to explain how things may have worked on the Ark.  Considering no one alive was around during Noah’s time, taking artistic license to explain such as waste removal and ventilation makes perfect sense.  However, what made absolutely no sense was the kinds of animals displayed inhabiting the Ark.

As would be expected, there were crates, cages, and clay pots to hold insects, birds, small animals, and large animals.  But, did you know Tyrannosaur was on the Ark?  Yes, you read correctly!  According to the folks who developed The Ark Encounter, Tyrannosaurs and Sauropod dinosaurs as well as many other dinosaurs had tickets on The Ark!  The people behind the development of the modern-day Ark say there were as many as 80 kinds of dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark.  Now that I look back on my visit to The Ark Encounter, I realize I saw very few cages that held anything other than dinosaur-like creatures.

I am a Christian, but as I walked through the Ark, I began to feel uneasy.  If I had done more research before boarding the Ark, I would have known the present-day Ark is not simply a pilgrimage for Christians to marvel at the glory and miracle of God.  It is a tool to turn all credible science related to evolution upside down, and solely promote creationism.  Maybe my problem is I don’t see evolution as a threat to God’s power and love, but it is clear through their exhibits the creators of The Ark Encounter do.  They believe the world is only 6,000 years old, and that is okay if that is where their faith leads them but changing or misconstruing proven science to influence others to embrace their point of view is, for me, unsettling.

I hesitate to say I felt as though someone was trying to brainwash me, but that is exactly how I felt.  To be fair, some of the science presented seemed almost plausible, or was that the brainwashing?  What did not come across as plausible were such assertions as fossils did not exist before the flood 4,000 years ago, mountains and all contained within them were created by the flood 4,000 years ago, and the earth is only 6,000 years old.  I could have probably taken all that as well as the paintings of men during Noah’s time battling a triceratops with a grain of salt.  However, when I came face to face with a tyrannosaur and other dinosaurs populating cages in the Ark and a sign that stated 80 kinds of dinosaurs were on the Ark, not even my faith could save me from doubt.

I am sure there may have been some who left the Ark with a sense of renewal in their faith, but what about those who came seeking faith and a reason to believe?  Did dinosaurs and pseudo-science muddy the miracle of the Ark for them?  I hope not.  As a Christian, my faith helped me recover from my initial shock, but I can’t help but wonder the impact The Ark Encounter might have on those with less faith?  Will they leave the Ark believers in the miracle of God, or will they be turned off by what unfortunately comes across as a fairy tale authored by Edgar Rice Burroughs?

JL

©September 30, 2018

Saturated and Burned Out

The congregation squirms uneasily, but not so much from the preacher’s words as a tired tailbone.  Including announcements, offering, prayers, music, and the ongoing blistering sermon, the Sunday morning service is approaching ninety minutes.  Brother David has made his point at least six times and has started on round seven.  Hungry stomachs are growling.  Exhausted brains are begging, “Please shoot me – enough is enough.”  It is time to stick a fork in the congregation, they are done!

Unless you have been chastised relentlessly by an ordained Southern fire thrower waxed in the glow of the Holy Spirit, you know nothing of long-winded preaching.  If your eyeballs have not bobbed and surfed the tides of the second Great Flood in hour two of a Southern sermon, you know little of praying for deliverance.   Unless you have the t-shirt, Saturated and Burned Out, you are not a survivor of a soul cleansing hell, fire, and brimstone tongue lashing.  I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church – I have the t-shirt!

Why does it take preachers so long, especially in the South, to say God loves you and if you can’t accept that, prepare for an eternity in a rotisserie oven?  Why does the preacher feel compelled to make his point multiple times when once maybe twice should be enough?  The answer is simple – once or twice is not enough!  Southern DNA makes massive doses of overkill a necessity.  No one – not the preacher or Jesus Christ can tell a blue-blood Southerner what to do and expect to get it done – at least not the first or second time.

Growing up in Mississippi, my family was in church every time the doors opened: Sunday School, Sunday morning service, Sunday evening worship, Monday evening Royal Ambassadors, Wednesday night Training Union, two weeks of summer Vacation Bible School, and two weeks of fall revival meetings.  My pastor, a devout man, preached long fiery sermons with a vengeance against the evil he saw in the world or he inferred from the scriptures.  Like his sermons, he was intense, unwavering in his crusade against Satan and his followers.  His prayers, he called them mini-sermons, were rhythmic sing-song dances of thanksgiving laced with healthy doses of pleas for mercy culminating with skin-curling warnings of fire and damnation for anyone not walking the walk of Jesus Christ.  In a church of maybe one-hundred members with regular attendance of sixty or seventy, people walked the walk, or at least, we did around Brother David.

Before cable and Internet, there was little to compete with church on Sunday.  People literally had nothing better to do than go to church.  So, it didn’t matter if Brother David raged from the pulpit for two hours or Deacon John’s prayer bounced here and there for twenty minutes before he asked for God’s mercy and healing and said “Amen.”  It was the best show in town – take it or leave it, and if you lived at home with mama and daddy, there was no choice but to take it.  The only negative was church ran long – really long – and lay waste to the best made plans for Sunday lunch.  As a boy, I often witnessed parking lot grumblings and short straw lotteries to decide who would tell Brother David to buy a watch, but to my knowledge, no one ever said a word to him.

Brother David did not need a watch.  He was determined to convert every soul in his congregation to Christianity, and to that end, a watch did little but get in his way.  He understood there are only two ways to convince a Southerner to do something: you convince him it is his idea, or you scare him into doing it.  Both take time – a lot of it!  A Southerner is inherently born with the notion that everything is his idea, so convincing him an idea outside his own is his idea is extremely difficult.  In his mind, he is the center of the universe, and the only worthwhile thoughts or ideas are his own, so why listen to anyone else?  Therefore, most preachers opt for scary motivation.  To bring their people to the Lord on their knees, they scare the living hell out of them.

In the South, preachers who dwell on death, graves, and things that go bump in the night usually have little trouble preaching to full houses.  Southern boys and girls are as brave as they come but talk about something dead they didn’t shoot while hunting, especially if that something is them, and they get creeped out.  A smart preacher uses this to his advantage.  To keep his flock coming to church regularly and dropping a few bucks in the offering plate periodically, he cultivates fearful uneasy souls.  The only drawback is such a process is time consuming, especially with laidback Southern temperaments.

For this reason, Brother David set the pews on fire.  He ignited a flame of urgency under his people fueled by hell, fire, and brimstone.  “The fires of hell are full of Christians who do not go to church and tithe regularly,” he scolded his congregation Sunday after Sunday.  He brewed a pot of fear seasoned with doom and gloom.  He pounded the podium and walked the pews warning of human barbecues while teasing his congregation with firefly bits of hope he promised would grow if they attended church regularly and tithed generously.  He scared the hell out of his flock, and he did not care how much time it took to do so.

Brother David has long departed this world, and his brand of hard-ball preaching has given way to holy roller spectacles and preaching almost exclusively the love of God rather than offend or upset anyone with the rage of a jealous God.  However, to this day, his practice of battering congregations into holy submission is alive and well in many churches across the South.  Many pastors still tend to be long winded with little concern for rumbling stomachs, but is it necessary?  Why can’t they say what they need to say, and be done with it?  Why must they repeat themselves at least seven times before they give up the ghost and take a seat?  The reason boils down to Southern DNA and the Rule of Seven.

There is a pinch of a boiled peanut shell in Southern DNA that makes good ole boys and girls a tad thickheaded, or maybe, decades of wearing tight fitting baseball caps twenty-four hours a day has resulted in hardening of the skull.  Whichever it might be, a preacher best repeat himself often if he wants to get a point through dense Southerner heads.  The more a Southerner hears something the better the chances it will sink in and the more likely he will believe it.  Researchers in Atlanta, Georgia have found there is a direct correlation between Southerners reacting positively and badgering.  They discovered if you tell a Southerner something once, he might not hear you; tell him twice and he might think you are talking to someone else; tell him three times and he will try to tune you out; tell him four times and he will think you are trying to cause trouble or mess with him; tell him five times and it agitates him; tell him six times and he becomes passively interested; but if you tell him seven times, the chances are good he will not only remember it but believe it as well.  This process known as the Pester into Slow Submission Technique or PISS Technique is a strategy used by Southern women for countless decades to manipulate their men, and with the assistance of WMU (Woman Missionary Union) groups, early Southern preachers learned to use this same badgering or nagging technique to get through to their congregations.

In the Twentieth Century, the marketing world adopted the PISS Technique and called it the Rule of Seven, which is nothing more than a modern makeover of the old Southern recipe.  The Rule of Seven states people, especially men, must hear something at least seven times before they remember it, accept it, or engage in it.  It works great; however, if the preacher is not careful, a disgruntled congregation is capable of mutiny, especially if the Methodists and Catholics are regularly beating them to Mary’s Cafe or KFC for Sunday fried chicken.

The real danger though occurs when desperate preachers, experiencing a decline in attendance and tithing, change the rule to the Rule of Seven X 3.  This well intentioned though controversial practice means sermons and prayers include three times the number of repetitive keywords and phrases than the standard Rule of Seven.   According to the medical community, such an overload can be unhealthy for church-goers.  Doctors specializing in Devout Hypertension Syndrome warn that such practice can result in compulsive absenteeism and static tithing as the result of Repetitive Sensory Overload (RSO).

There are people who will argue that within the fleeting time continuum of life none of this really matters, and maybe, they are right.  A Southern prayer may be as long as a television sitcom, and a Southern sermon as long-winded as a two-day hurricane, but what if they are?  Do Christians have more important things than church on Sunday?   A prayer or sermon in the hands of a well-trained articulate Southern stump jumper can be an artistic marvel of rhetoric steeped in the juice of bread and butter pickles and sweet tea; isn’t that worth a tired tailbone or a table with a window at Cracker Barrel?  But, I admit, at times I also grow weary and impatient.  Sometimes, I wish there was an off switch under the front lip of the pew to push to let the preacher know the time has arrived to shut up and go home.

Saturated and Burned Out!

JL

©Jack Linton, September 16, 2018

911 – The Fountain of Unity

As we remember the horror of September 11, 2001, it is important to recognize belief in the preeminence of one human being over another remains a threat to our nation.  The difference is today the monster is not only external but internal as well.  We have forgotten how we rallied together as one in the days after the senseless attack on New York City and the Pentagon.  We have forgotten how for a brief moment we stood together as brothers and sisters and defied evil.  No American was superior to another on that day or in the days that followed; all Americans drank from the same fountain of unity.

As we remember and say a prayer for the lives lost on that tragic day, let us not forget to say a prayer for ourselves.  From the ashes of 911, America found itself briefly, but lately, we have lost ourselves again.  To have differences of opinion is common; to debate those differences is healthy; to be unwilling or incapable of working through those differences is foolish and dangerous.  We should not be a nation ruled by hate and mistrust or divided by conservative and liberal ideas, religious beliefs, lifestyle choices, or racial tensions.  As a nation we are united by a Constitution, philosophy, common sense, and decency that says all men and women are created equal and have the right of expression and personal pursuit of happiness.  In America, to believe otherwise is oppression.

The destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City is a reminder of the destructive power of hate and a warped sense of superiority.  It is a reminder that such evil can bring the greatest of nations to its knees.  It is time we drink from the same fountain of unity once again.  It is time we tear the tags, labels, and dialogue of division from the fountain and welcome all to drink – if not for our sake, for the sake of our children and the future of America.

May God bless America and the freedom and shining good she represents for all people.

Jl

©Jack Linton, September 11, 2016

How to Deal with Harassing Phone Calls

One of the most annoying things about modern day life is the constant bombardment of unwanted calls to our cell and home telephones.  Telephone solicitors call day and night.  They have little, if any regard, for personal privacy, but in today’s world, that is not surprising.  Our lives are anything but private.  In fact, most of us are guilty of privacy suicide.  Daily, we toss intimate details about ourselves to the wind via social media windows such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  As a society, we readily lay our lives open to the world, so why should a few invasive telephone calls bother us?  It’s simple – it is one thing to open your front door of your own free will and invite someone inside, but it is entirely different when someone uninvited tries to slip in your backdoor by hook, crook, sham, or scam.  When the phone rings at 8:00 p.m. and it is John from The Save a Duck Foundation, how do we know John is who he says he is or if he is just another jerk trying to separate us from our hard-earned money?

On average, I receive at least ten to twelve unsolicited phone calls daily.  Callers have informed me my home computer is sending malicious code, I have been threatened the IRS will arrest me for delinquent taxes if I do not go immediately to my bank and forward money to the caller, callers have asked for donations for WOWA (Worn Out Wrestlers of America) as well as every other charitable organization known to mankind, and it doesn’t stop there!  I cannot count the number of unsolicited calls I have received for insurance, medical relief, political surveys, and save the squirrel campaigns.  It is mind boggling the schemes these modern-day bandits devise to get my personal information or inside my pocketbook.  I have placed my name on a “No Call” list more than once, but I have come to believe the service is little more than a cruel hoax.   It does not provide relief!  If anything, the harassing calls seem to increase after I place my name on the list, so what is the use!  As a result, like so many people, I am terrified to answer my phone for fear of another dip wad scam. sales pitch, petition for donations to help aging poodles, or a thinly veiled political survey.  However, lately, I have started answering my phone again, especially if I am in the mood for a little fun.  Believe me, there is fun to be had if you know how to deal with telephone solicitors.

What to do When a Marketer or Scam Artist Calls:

  1. Answer the phone and get sucked into the sales pitch or scam: If you are this gullible, you are probably the benefactor of millions of dollars that a Nigerian prince reserved in your name in a bank vault off the coast of a lost South Pacific island, and you are too busy counting your money to be concerned about harassing phone calls;
  2. Rip out all telephone landlines, and drown cell phones in the toilet: This is probably the best solution of all, but few people in today’s world can survive without a phone glued to their ear;
  3. Don’t answer: Not a bad idea but be sure to change your ringtones to something you can tolerate since whatever ringtone you choose will be perpetually ringing, singing, and hooting.  In a “no answer home,” earplugs should be mandatory for all family members;
  4. Pick up the ringing phone, and if you do not recognize the number hang up: There is a bit of satisfaction and pleasure in doing this, but it doesn’t seem to reduce the number of harassing calls at all.  If anything, now that the caller knows you are home, he often calls back within minutes.  Also, any time you answer and hang-up, your phone number is placed on a “This is a Live One” list for eternity;
  5. Pick up the phone and start breathing heavily, make clucking sounds, or yell, “Mom, we are out of toilet paper! This is the third time we have used this roll!”  The unwanted caller usually hangs up immediately, but if not, add, “Can you hold a moment while I wipe?”
  6. Answer the phone and have a little fun by wasting the caller’s time. [SEE conversations at end of blog]: This is one of my favorites.  It seems to slow down the number of harassing calls, but more important, it is heart warming to know you have wasted the time of a shameless phone solicitor.  I encourage everyone to tape a list of worthless questions to ask phone marketers to your landline or to the back of your cell phone.  The goal is to make the call as unpleasant and unproductive for the caller as possible.  Waste the caller’s time like he is wasting yours.  Strive to make the time-bandit hang up first, which he will most certainly do if you follow these three simple guidelines:  (1) Answer anything a phone marketer says with a question, (2) Never give a straight answer or confirm anything, and (3) interrupt the marketer every chance you get.  Follow these simple guidelines, and you will be amazed at how fast you begin to look forward to answering harassing phone calls, so you can harass the caller; and
  7. Always play by these five rules:
    • Do NOT play the caller’s game – control the conversation;
    • Do NOT cooperate with the caller.  Remember, the caller is not your friend;
    • Do NOT lose your temper or curse. Losing your temper and/or cursing does nothing but raise your blood pressure.  If you get so annoyed or frustrated you must curse, hang up – you have lost control of the game;
    • Remember, they called you – you did not call them!  Your space has been invaded to enable a stranger to make a buck off you or manipulate your time.  Time is money for these people, so waste as much of it as possible; and
    • Never agree to payments of any kind over the phone. With charities, you never know who you are talking to, so ask them to mail you information if you are interested.  If they are legit, they will do so.  Even if a solicitor and his cause sounds legit, the chances are good he is a fraud, so beware.

I hope you find a way to turn the tables on the phone pests.  Better yet, I hope you have a little fun at their expense.  You might as well since it is doubtful they are going away anytime soon.  Give them hell but be nice!

JL

©Jack Linton, August 18, 2018

 

The following conversations are examples of what a conversation with a phone solicitor might sound like if you decide to have some fun.  Ninety-percent of the times I engaged a phone solicitor in one these conversations, the caller hung up on me, and one-hundred percent of the time, I had a blast doing it:

CONVERSATION #1:           [Pretend you are a two-year-old, and ask “WHY?”]

Caller:             I call for Mr. Jack.

Me:                 This is he.

Caller:             Mr. Jack, can confirm you live at _________________?

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Uh . . . Sir, I need confirm I talk to Mr. Jack.

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Must confirm for security.

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Both our security, Sir.

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Must confirm. Law require.

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Sir, must you say why?

Me:                 No.

Caller:             Thank you.  May we continue?

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Uh . . . Sir, your computer send malicious signal.

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Uh . . . uh . . . We identify malicious content.  If open computer and follow my instruction can correct problem.

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Mr. Jack, you not cooperate?

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             Do you wish to speak to supervisor?

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             We may report to Microsoft authorities.

Me:                 Why?

Caller:             [muffled voices]

CLICK and dial tone  – YOU WIN!

 

CONVERSATION #2:           [Be uncooperative!]

Caller:             I call for Mr. Jack.

Me:                 This a Mr. Jack.

Caller:             Can confirm you live at _________________?

Me:                 No.

Caller:             Uh . . . Sir, I need confirm I talk to Mr. Jack.

Me:                 Who did you call?

Caller:             Mr. Jack.

Me:                 I answered, so you have confirmation.

Caller:             Uh . . . okay . . . Sir, your computer send malicious signal.

Me:                 Really!?  What kind of malicious signal?

Caller:             That why I call.  We identify malicious content.  Will correct if open                                         computer and follow instructions.

Me:                 I don’t have a computer.

Caller:             Uh . . . Yes Sir, you do.  We receive signal.

Me:                 Are you calling me a liar?

Caller:             No . . . no . . . I need fix computer.

Me:                 I don’t have a computer.

Caller:             You have computer.  We receive signal.

Me:                 You can’t.  I don’t have a computer.

Caller:             Sir, I try to help.

Me:                 If you want to help, hang up.

Caller:             First, we fix computer.

Me:                 I don’t have a computer.

Caller:             We get signal.

Me:                 Have you checked your computer?

Caller:             No.

Me:                 Maybe you should.  I don’t have a computer.

Caller:             Sir, would you like speak to supervisor?

Me:                 Yes, put him on.

Caller:             One moment please. [muffled voices]

                        CLICK and dial tone

[A couple of times a supervisor or someone playing the role of a supervisor has picked up the call]

Supervisor:     This is Bombo Ahlalli.  Mr. Jack, I understand you have problems.

Me:                    I don’t have problems.  You called me.

Supervisor:     Sir, your computer in violation of Microsoft policy.

Me:                    What policy is that?

Supervisor:     Policy against malicious virus or malware threats.

Me:                    Does that cover malicious phone calls as well?

Supervisor:     Sir, we are most legit.

Me:                    No, you are not.

Supervisor:     Yes, we are.

Me:                    Not.

Supervisor:     We are!

Me:                    Not.

Supervisor:     Why not cooperate?

Me:                    Why not hang up?

Supervisor:     Why not you hang up?

Me:                    You called me.  It would be rude if I hung up.

Supervisor:     Sir, you waste time.

Me:                   I am lonely.  I have plenty of time.

Supervisor:     [muffled voices]

Me:                   What would you like to talk about?  I have all day.

CLICK and dial tone   – YOU WIN!

 

PHONE CONVERSATION #3:        [Interrupt, Interrupt, Interrupt!]

Caller:             I call for Mr. Jack.

Me:                 This is he.

Caller:             Sir, I am . . . .

Me:                 I hate to interrupt, but how is the weather where you are?

Caller:             Sir?

Me:                 The weather.  It is hotter than Hades here.

Caller:             The weather hot here as well.  I would . . . .

Me:                 I feel your pain.  Have you seen any good movies lately?  That is a good way                          to stay out of the heat.

Caller:             No.  I call to . . . .

Me:                 I hate interrupting, but I am so glad you called.  My wife is shopping, and I                            don’t have a soul to talk to today.  I bet you make a million calls a day and                              don’t have that problem.

Caller:             Sir, may I say why call?

Me:                 You like harassing people.  That’s why you call.

Caller:             I no harass people.

Me:                 Is this the best job you can find?  I bet your mama is so proud.

Caller:             Sir?  [muffled voices]

Supervisor:     Mr. Jack, so sorry.  Our agent seems to have problem communicating.  We                           call about your computer?

Me:                   I bet you are calling on behalf of Microsoft?

Supervisor:     Yes, we . . . .

Me:                   I really appreciate the way you guys keep calling to remind me my                                          computer is doing awful things.  One of these days, I might have to take                                  you up on your offer, and I’d do it today, if I wasn’t so absolutely sure you                              are running a scam.

Supervisor:     This no scam.

Me:                    Sure, it is, and you should be ashamed.

Supervisor:     I may notify Microsoft authorities if no cooperation.

Me:                     Report away, but in the meantime, do you mind if we talk sports?  What                                do you know about sumo wrestling?

CLICK and dial tone – YOU WIN!

Choose a conversation and put it into action the next time you receive an unwanted telephone call.  It is time we start taking back our homes!