Lost In The Transcription

April 18, 2002

Some people I know brag about the fact that they never watch television. I’m not sure why that’s something to be proud of, but if it is, then I’ve got them beaten: I never read newspapers. I picked up the local newspaper the other morning, and on the front page was a note telling me to go to Section Q, the "Crap We Had To Put In To Justify Charging $1.25" for an article on "Rutabagas, Eggplants, and other vegetables you might not know about." Hey, I know about rutabagas and eggplants and I sincerely doubt there’s anything else about them I want to know that I could learn from the newspaper.

My biggest problem with newspapers, though, is they have this thing called the "editorial section" where any yahoo with an opinion can write in. Of course writing a letter to the newspaper requires literacy skills, so it goes without saying that they’re going to get some reasonable, carefully thought out opinions. This is in sharp contrast to the "neighborhood newspaper" that’s delivered free to my house every week. It has a section where statements made by people who call a special number and talk to an answering machine are transcribed and printed for everyone’s edification. While the editorial page weeds out everyone from the illiterate to the foaming-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorist (unless they need something to fill space, of course) the "call- in" section allows anyone with too much time on their hands to yap on about everything from too many potholes on Catalpa Avenue to the fact that their significant other has uncontrollable flatulence. But what really interests me is the person who does the transcription. Who is this person, how much do they make, and why does he or she have so much trouble spelling words like "especially" or "friendship"? I’m tempted to call up and leave a bizarre, tangled message just to see how mangled it will get in the transcription. I’m thinking of something like, "Our procrustean politicians are playing in a performance of perfidious prodelision. And there are too many potholes on Catalpa Avenue." Who knows? Maybe this will inspire some political debate in which the local proconsuls square off with some declaring themselves vehemently "pro-crust", while others will feel impugned by my remarks and state that they’re "anti-crust" and have been since their mother made them their first peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then in the next election, with a bread lobby backing the pro-crusters, the anti-crusters will be forced to backpedal, using long harangues to explain that they’re not "anti-crust" but rather "pro-bread".

But speaking of harangues, what I’d really like to know is: When you read, discuss, forward, or delete my comments, what do you call them? Are they harangues? Soliloquies? Monologues? Rambling digressions of social unconsciousness? Send your suggestions to cawaldrop@yahoo.com, and I’ll announce a winner on June 28th, 2002. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s offerings.

My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned because I couldn’t concentrate.

Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the axe.

After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn’t suited for it. Mainly because it was a so-so job.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was exhausting.

I wanted to be a barber, but I just couldn’t cut it.

Finally, I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn’t cut the mustard.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn’t have any patients.

Thought about becoming a witch, so I tried that for a spell.

I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.

I got a job at a zoo feeding giraffes but I was fired because I wasn’t up to it.

So then I got a job in a gymnasium (work-out-center), but they said I wasn’t fit for the job.

Next, I found being an electrician interesting, but the work was shocking.

After many years of trying to find steady work I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working at a coffee shop, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.


There are several men sitting around in the locker room of a private club after exercising. Suddenly a cell phone on one of the benches rings. One of the men picks it up, and the following conversation ensues:


"Honey, it’s me. Are you at the club?"


"Great! I am at the mall two blocks from where you are. I just saw a beautiful mink coat. It’s absolutely gorgeous!! Can I buy it?"

"What’s the price?"

"Only $1,500.00."

"Well, OK, go ahead and get it,if you like it that much…"

"Ahhh, and I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the 2001 models. I saw one I really liked. I spoke with the salesman, and he gave me a really good price… and since we need to exchange the BMW that we bought last year…"

"What price did he quote you?"

"Only $60,000…"

"OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."

"Great! But before we hang up, something else…"


"It might look like a lot, but I was reconciling your bank account and… stopped by the real estate agent this morning and saw the house we had looked at last year. It’s on sale!! Remember? The one with a pool, English Garden, acre of park area, beachfront property…"

"How much are they asking?"

"Only $450,000 – a magnificent price…and I see that we have that much in the bank to cover…"

"Well, then go ahead and buy it, but just bid $420,000. OK?"

"OK, sweetie…Thanks! I’ll see you later!! I love you!!!"

"Bye…I do too…"

The man hangs up, closes the phone’s flap, and raises his hand while holding the phone and asks to all those present:

"Does anyone know who this phone belongs to?"

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