#3 — Political Phone Calls

Shifting over to straight stout temporarily after getting my neck in the noose.

Despite being out and about several times today for considerable durations of time, I have received twelve fucking phone calls from machines with recorded messages telling me precisely how I should vote this week. It would be one thing if these personages thought highly enough of me to call me personally, seeing as how I am going out of my way to answer the landline. No small task that, in this cell phone world. It would be one thing if even some volunteer called me personally and, once he has guessed within seconds that I’ll be voting against Prop. 75, we could then chat for 30 more seconds about the weather or the White Sox and then I could wish him well. Perhaps his name could be Joe and the two of us could bond over the fact that we both have monosyllabic first names.

But these are fucking machines. And they genuinely believe that if you hear a recording of Matt Gonzalez or Tom Ammiano sounding as if they’re speaking to you from some wind tunnel, that you will somehow take their boiler plate audio seriously.

In fact, since this week’s election is relatively modest compared to others (no President, no Governor, no Senator or Representative), I’ve actually been surprised that these phone calls have outnumbered the political junkets clogging my mailbox by a ratio of 3:1. I came home one evening last week and my voicemail was FULL!

Who was the asshole who thought up this scheme? And what’s his fucking number? Do these people not realize that when we pick up a phone, we are often in the middle of a very important task and that it’s a bit like coitus interruptus when the far more interesting task is upstaged by some standardized nonsense?

Granted, one could always turn the phone ringer off. One can choose not to pick up the phone at all. But this, of course, means more voicemails and more phone calls to return later. And why do that when, in one fell swoop, you can personally answer the call and manage your time more effectively (thus rendering the duration that it takes to listen to the voicemail and then return it) and get another phone call out of the way?

How disappointing it is to find one’s effrontery on this subject stymied when there’s that five second pause where you’re shouting “Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?” and then you suddenly realize that it’s a machine trying to figure you out the optimal moment to play the recording!

It’s enough to make one wear a Budweiser jacket, pick up chain-smoking again, and call out to a barful of strangers, “There oughta be a law!”


  1. They’ve been bugging the hell out of me, too, Ed. Got my now annual call from Ahnold tonight. All I heard was prop something, something and something, yes…something, something, and something, no.

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