Making right call about telemarketing

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“That’s an interesting cologne you are wearing.”

“You like it?”

“No, but I think it is interesting that you want to smell like a skunk eating rotten fish.”

Driving by the Bruces

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I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: wisdom comes in small pieces.

Things I’ve learned

1. To spay and neuter my pet peeves.

2. That the word “bedroom” looks like a bedroom.

3. That I’m never too old to learn the wrong things.

Telemarketer trauma

We each did our job.

The phone rang. I answered it.

I live back-of-beyond, but each day offers an array of opportunities. I hoped that the call would have been one. Alas, it was a fellow calling to ask for a donation. He proudly stated his name (I suspected it was an alias, but it produced an image of an All-American guy who watched baseball, ate apple pie, and drove a Chevrolet) and the organization on whose behalf he was calling. He was the third telemarketer to call that morning. I was familiar with the organization. Its people had called enough that I had checked its rating with a service that ranks charities. The performance of the outfit was appalling. I’d asked to be removed from their calling list numerous times. I try to be decent, but occasionally fail. I’m polite in an attempt to be fit company for myself. I was taught to listen because I might learn something and because I have two ears and only one mouth.

My caller, “Brad,” resided somewhere between hopeful and obnoxious. I wanted to believe “Brad.” I wanted to believe that by giving him money, it would make the world a better place. I knew that it would improve “Brad’s” lot in life. I wanted to give but I couldn’t. I knew the company’s business. Money would be better spent elsewhere. I hung up on him before he got far into his pitch. I feel guilty about it.

When some folks say “them” in a way that makes it sound as though “them” is everything that is wrong with the world, I think some people consider “them” to be telemarketers. I don’t look down on telemarketers. They’re just doing a job. Maybe “Brad” doesn’t like being a telemarketer. Maybe he has learned that he is good at something that he doesn’t enjoy doing. I hope “Brad” didn’t sense my guilt. If he did, he’ll be calling back.

Leaf it alone

Back when my bank account was in a piggy, my grade school class was assigned the leaf project. We were to gather leaves, identify them, and affix them to scrapbook pages. It was a delightful endeavor. Our farm was filled with walnut, several varieties of oak, elm, ironwood, cottonwood, ash, box elder, willow, and a couple of species of maple trees. Leaves enough to fill any scrapbook. The problem was that I couldn’t find a nice red maple leaf. I knew where there was a tree that offered such leaves. It was in town. One day, I accompanied my parents to town. I deserted them as they shopped and ran to the tree. I saw the perfect leaf. It hadn’t fallen to the ground. No time for patience, I climbed the tree and was about to grab the fine specimen when I looked down and saw the tree’s owner.

“Looking for a leaf for school?” he asked.

There are no secrets in small towns.

Nature notes

A single bite by a mosquito could provide her with enough blood to lay 250 eggs. There are 176 species of mosquitoes in the U.S. — roughly 51 in Minnesota and 53 in Iowa. Not all species lay their eggs in water. A mosquito can find us 60 feet away, attracted by carbon dioxide, body temperature, movement, and lactic acid.

Birds, bats, fish, frogs, damselflies, and dragonflies all feed on mosquitoes.

Folklore claims that if you dig a hole on a new moon, you’ll have dirt to give away. If you dig a hole on an old moon, you won’t have enough dirt to refill the hole.