Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Unwanted Caller

Ah, at last a few moments of quiet and peace; a time for refreshment and solace for the soul. Mother and Alfred are sitting together at the dining table enjoying a magnificent repast that had been prepared for them by Agnes Findlay their Scottish housekeeper.

“What a treat, Mother,” said Alfred, serving himself a generous portion of Agnes Findlay’s horseradish and herb crusted prime rib and a great slice of Yorkshire Pudding.”

“Now this is marvelous, Alfred,” said Mother, spooning out some of the Asiago and Sage Scalloped potatoes. “Just look at this Butter Nut Squash au Gratin, what a treat.”

            They had just loaded up their plates when they were interrupted by the harsh jangle of the telephone. They stopped to listen to the caller I.D. The obnoxious electronic voice said, “Charles Wentworth.”

            “Do you know a Charles Wentworth, Mother,” asked Alfred? “Neither do I. How do these telemarketers know when we sit down to dinner? It’s most unfair.”

            Alfred took his embroidered linen napkin off his lap, placed it on the table, and went to the side board and picked up the telephone saying, “Bonjour, comment ├ža va?”

            The voice on the other end answered, “This is Charles Wentworth. You’ve been specially selected . . .”

            Alfred interrupted, “Pardon? Parlez-vous Francais?”

            The voice on the other end of the line said blankly, “Huh?”

            Alfred continued, “Je ne parle pas Anglais.” 

            The voice on the other end of the line gives it another try, “I’m calling to offer . . .”

            Alfred says hopefully, “Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Nein?” Then he tried again, “Spreek je Nederlands? … Parli Italiano? … Snakker du Norsk?” 

            The voice on the other end stammers, “I don’t understand.”

            Alfred gives it another try, “Yabba Wobbi Spork?  Key whocka whacka? Poogi woogi?!” 

            There is a click on the other end of the line. Alfred looked at Mother and said, “That really is a shame. At dinnertime I only accept polyglottal sales calls. If they speak French, German, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, or even Wobbi Spork they might have a chance.”

            Mother looked quizzically at Alfred, and said, “Wobbi Spork?”      

Alfred sat back down at the table, picked up his linen napkin and placed it in on his lap before answering, “Wobbi Spork? I just made that one up Mother. The point is that we were receiving so many of these calls that it actually is abusive. There are times when we really need to shield ourselves from predatory marketing. I just prefer to do it with a little bit of humor.”

            “Thank you, Alfred,” said Mother, as she took a bite of her prime rib. “You know that since you have started answering those calls we have had a lot less of them. I wish it was that simple in other areas. I’m almost afraid to go into a furniture store because I don’t really want to be preyed upon by an over eager salesperson.”

            “Mother, said Alfred, “there is nothing wrong with setting limits. We have to do that in many areas of life. If we don’t set limits we will be driven hither and yon by every stray wind that blows.”

            Alfred continued, “That is even more important in matters of faith. I was reading Ephesians this morning and St. Paul says that we should aspire to “mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” [Ephesians 4:13-14].

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