Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Charlie Graham Bell

This is an essay from my unpublished book, Soul Songs.

Charlie Graham Bell

“Good morning, this is Cell Phones R We. My name is Synthia and I’ll be your sales advisor. Whether or not I have it, I’ll sell it. How may I help you today?”

Ten seconds flat and I’m on bubblehead overload.

“I need a new cell phone.”

“Great! I can help you with that. Will this be a new line of service?”

“No, it’s a replacement phone. I dropped my old one in the toilet and it drowned. That’s what I get for talking on the phone while I’m taking a leak at the same time. That will teach me to multi-task. It’s a funny thing, though. A couple days later I was sitting on the john and I could swear I heard it ringing. Well, kind of a sloshing gurgling ringing, actually. For a minute there I thought SpongeBob SquarePants was trying to call me from the sewer.”


“That was a joke, Synthia.”

“Oh. I thought you were serious. People tell me all the time that dead people call them. Isn’t that weird?”

“Yeah. Those people need to cut back on their meds. I still need a new phone.”

“Oh, like, we have ooodles of really neat phones. What features do you want?”

“I want a phone where you talk into the mouthpiece, then you listen through the earpiece, then you talk through the mouthpiece, and so on. You know, one that works like a telephone.”

“Yes, all of our phones have voice communication. What other features are you just dying for? We have, like, ooodles of them.”

“I don’t want any other features. I want a phone where you talk into the mouthpiece, then you listen through the earpiece, then you talk through the mouthpiece, and so on.”

“You’re kidding.”

“I never kid unless I’m telling a bathroom joke.”

“Surely you must want 6-way calling, call waiting, interactive games, call forwarding, music downloads, a camera for those special moments, sports scores, Rush Limbaugh, movies—”

“—Yes, I’m sure that Lord of the Rings looks absolutely stunning on a one-inch screen in sixteen colors and a crappy earpiece.”

“Oh, it does! It’s really, like, awesome! May I sign you up for movies, then?”

“Uh, no.”

“Do you have stocks?”

“Yes, I have one in the basement—on occasion my wife gets unruly.”

“Great! Then you’ll surely want the stock ticker feature.”

“Uh, no.”

[Large sigh]

“Text messaging. You’ve gotta have text messaging. How in the world can you communicate without text messaging?”

“Let me guess: by calling someone on the telephone?”

“That doesn’t work in school or church or courtrooms where you have to be real quiet.”

“Heaven forbid that you’d have to sit there and pay attention.”

“I know, like it’s a real bummer. You’re supposed to sit there and listen, like I could care.”

I do have one question, Synthia. Do you have a phone that sends out secret messages and secret handshakes to my meth dealer?”

“You’re kidding.”

“I never kid unless I’m making drug dealer jokes . . .”

[This story is true, although I jazzed the dialog up a bit. I did get a new phone, shipped overnight for $12 (which I wasn't told about), and I've never been able to hear shit on it. Typical cheap Chinese crap.]


Stinkypaw said...

Charlie, you are too funny for your own good!

It seems strange to ask for a phone that only receives & sends calls - I've been wanting one of those as well, and I've been facing some resistance about it... I'm looking at one with too many features, but like many other tech things, I'll let HUbby play with it! ;-)

Kim Ayres said...

Hey, Charlie, you have a new post up...

...sorry, wrong set of comments.

You mean you wanted a phone for talking into? Weirdo. I use mine for taking photos, playing games, texting, making coffee, fixing the plumbing and wiping my arse. What kind of pervert wants to talk into one of these things?

If it wasn't this... said...

hahaha ... thanks i needed that laugh today :)

Mary Witzl said...

Charlie, you had me howling. (Not for nothing is the name of this blog 'Hounded', eh?)

I have conversations like this with salespeople all the time! I don't want fancy stuff either, and everybody and her sister wants to sell me fancy stuff.

I've got kids in my classes who use their cell phones to cheat on. They download stuff from the internet and try to copy from it when they're writing compositions in class. If they just spent the time studying, they'd use less time. Plus they wouldn't get their damn phones confiscated every single time.

Charlie said...

Late, as usual lately, for commenting. There's no sense in apologizing because I'll only do it again.

SP: Good luck trying to find a featureless phone. If anything, they're getting worse--Amazon has announced they're ready to download books to your phone.

KIM: Weirdo and pervert--yup, fits me to a T. You didn't mention if your model cooks dinner and shovels snow.

IIWT: I'm glad.

MARY: Howling, huh? Like Doyle's Baskervilles?

There is something about salespeople that brings the snark out in me. The sad thing is, most of my brilliant sarcasm zooms right over their heads.

And to think I had to write all over my good shirts to cheat on exams!

Attila The Mom said...

Hehehe. I am SO with you! Simply DO NOT GET the texting stuff at all. You could say as much in half the time. doh!

Charlie said...

MOM: I agree about the texting stuff, but I believe it was designed for people who can neither speak nor spell. Like, you know?

M. and I were getting spam texts, at 20 cents a pop (plus tax), and I bitched to Sprint. They refunded the charges and set up our two phones so they can't receive texts at all.

Mary Witzl said...

Textıng is good for one thing: it gives you street cred with teenagers and keeps the, ah, communication lines open. (They think any adult who can text is automatically cool.) So I've learned to text and do it fairly often. I make sure to throw in lots of R Us? and other illiterate-sounding abbreviations.

I know, I know, I've stooped pretty low. But it keeps the little so-and-sos on my side.

Charlie said...

MARY: I agree: that is low. You probably have a bad back from stooping.

I guess this is one of those occasions when "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" applies. It's just too bad that they can't converse with you in Engrish.

Tiffin said...

I went through exactly the same process about two weeks ago when I got a replacement (minus the Spongepants submarine conversation). Do you think it's our age where we just want a phone that works like a phone?

You made me really laugh. Thanks, Charlie.

Charlie said...

TUI: I'm delighted that you stopped by, and that I made someone other than me laugh.

I think it might be age when we remember how easy getting a phone used to be. You called Ma Bell, said you needed a phone, and sixteen weeks later you got a four-party line and a lethal instrument made of unbreakable Bakelite.

I have nothing against technology—I would be lost without this computer and the Innertube—but I find a lot of newfangled stuff just isn't for me.