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Jewish World Review August 12, 2003 / 14 Menachem-Av, 5763

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Don't call me | We were having a cookout in the backyard when the phone rang. I answered it and the man on the other end said he was offering me a free trip to Florida.

I screamed an obscenity and hung up.

Just as I was about to cook the hamburgers, the phone rang again and the man said, "I could have been a robber. You wouldn't know it unless you had our security system in your house."

I said, "Do you watch 'The Sopranos?'"

He said, "I do."

"Do you know what Tony Soprano calls someone he doesn't like? Well that's what I am calling you."

I turned the hamburgers over. My friend Wolf said, "You don't fool around when it come to junk calls."

"Why shouldn't I tell them off? They ring me when I'm in the bathtub, when I'm watching a ballgame and when I am having an argument with my kid."

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Wolf said, "You know they passed the 'Do Not Call' law. You can get on a list and if a marketer calls you, he could be fined thousands of dollars."

"How do I get on it?"

"It doesn't start until Oct. 1."

The phone rang again. Before the person spoke, I said, "I hope you get Lyme disease." There was a pause and I heard a voice say, "Is that any way to talk to your mother?"

"Mom, I didn't know it was you. I thought it was a junk call."

"Do I sound like a junk caller?"

"Of course you don't. After all, you're my mother."

"Well, if you ever wish me Lyme disease again, I'm going to hang up on you."

I said to Wolf, "That was my mother. Can I put her on my 'Don't Call' list?"

Wolf said, "I don't think so - she's not a telemarketer."

Someone said, "You burned the frankfurters."

Wolf said, "The junk phone people are fighting back. They say the 'Don't Call' list is a violation of the Constitution because they are entitled to freedom of speech."

I said, "What about my freedom of speech?"

"They have gone to court and asked for an injunction to stop the list from being enforced."

"I hope they lose."

I put baked potatoes on the grill and the phone rang. Wolf said, "Don't answer it."

"What if it's my mother testing me?"

"I never thought of that."

I picked up the phone. The lady said, "This is your last chance to get 50 percent off on a hot tub."

Since she was a woman, I was polite. "I don't need one."

"If you bought a hot tub, I could come over and we could drink martinis and soak in the hot water."

I said, "It was nice talking to you."

Wolf said, "What was that all about?"

I said, "Some junk calls are better than others."

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03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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