March 3, 2000
I know I’ve said in the past that I hate telephones, that I think they’re an instrument of evil, that Alexander Graham Bell was a technological Tamerlane, but lately I’ve had a change of heart. (Partly because I thought disliking telephones would make me "eccentric", but really it just made me "out of touch".) Admittedly, talking on the telephone for an extended period for some strange reason makes my ear sweat, and when the sweat hits the cold plastic it drops to a temperature just above freezing, and talking to someone’s disembodied voice coming out of a speakerphone is almost as creepy as talking to someone’s disembodied voice coming out of a little piece of molded plastic. But telephones are a nice way to actually hear the voices of friends I don’t get to see very often, and, in the normal workday, telephones can transport me to new and magical worlds. Anyone who’s had to call any organization knows the joy of being put on hold and listening to a message that says, "Please stay on the line. You’re call isn’t that important to us, but we have an office poll going to see just how many morons we can get on hold at one time." And then there are the actual human beings who are always delightful and interesting. Take for instance the following conversation I had just the other day:
(The phone rings. Unidentified Person picks up.)
Me: Good afternoon. Is this the headquarters for the International Society of Little Tiny Metallic Objects Engineering?
UP: Ughl. Hugh?
Me: I’m trying to reach the headquarters for the International Society of Little Tiny Metallic Objects Engineering.
UP: Ughl. No.
(Click. Dial tone.)
Then there was what I saw outside the building where I work: a dog had been tied to the bicycle stand by the entrance, but his kind and thoughtful owner had left a cellular phone clipped to his collar. Maybe the owner thought that if the dog got in trouble, he could call for help. Or maybe he, the dog, was just planning to check his voice mail.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
MARTHA STEWART’S TIPS FOR REDNECKS
- Never take a beer to a job interview.
- Always identify people in your yard before shooting at them.
- It’s considered tacky to take a cooler to church.
- If you have to vacuum the bed, it is time to change the sheets.
- Even if you’re certain that you are included in the will, it is still considered tacky to drive a U-Haul to the funeral home.
- When decanting wine, make sure that you tilt the paper cup, and pour slowly so as not to "bruise" the fruit of the vine.
- If drinking directly from the bottle, always hold it with your fingers covering the label.
ENTERTAINING IN YOUR HOME
- A centerpiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.
- Do not allow the dog to eat at the table…no matter how good his manners are.
- While ears need to be cleaned regularly, this is a job that should be done in private using one’s OWN truck keys.
- Proper use of toiletries can forestall bathing for several days. However, if you live alone, deodorant is a waste of good money.
(Doesn’t Martha Stewart herself live alone?-CW)
- Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as they tend to detract from a woman’s jewelry and alter the taste of finger foods.
DATING (Outside the Family)
- Always offer to bait your date’s hook, especially on the first date.
- Be aggressive. Let her know you’re interested: "I’ve been wanting to go out with you since I read that stuff on the bathroom wall two years ago."
- Establish with her parents what time she is expected back. Some will say 10:00 PM; others might say "Monday." If the latter is the answer, it is the man’s responsibility to get her to school on time.
(This is of course assuming she is under 16 and hasn’t dropped out of school for a lucrative stripping career.-CW)
- Crying babies should be taken to the lobby and picked up immediately after the movie has ended.
(I would say leave a cellular phone with them, but then this is rednecks we’re talking about.-CW)
- Refrain from talking to characters on the screen. Tests have proven they can’t hear you.
(Interestingly rednecks have a similar problem: they can’t hear anything they don’t want to.-CW)
- Livestock, usually, is a poor choice for a wedding gift.
- Kissing the bride for more than 5 seconds may get you shot.
(Especially if she’s you’re sister.-CW)
- For the groom, at least, rent a tux. A leisure suit with a cummerbund and a clean bowling shirt can create a tacky appearance.
- Though uncomfortable, say "yes" to socks and shoes for this special occasion.
- Dim your headlights for approaching vehicles; even if the gun is loaded, and the deer is in sight.
- When approaching a four-way stop, the vehicle with the largest tires always has the right of way.
- Never tow another car using panty hose and duct tape.
- When sending your wife down the road with a gas can, it is impolite to ask her to bring back beer.
- Do not lay rubber while traveling in a funeral procession.