I’m going to pause for a moment here and invite my good friend Franz Kafka to sit in and listen to this one. I think he’ll enjoy it.
Franz, grab yourself a peach Snapple and pull up a chair!
There is a pharmacy I use in Santa Fe. Come on, you know the one I’m talking about. I’ve probably seen you in the long pickup lines there.
Anyway, pretty soon after I became a customer, I was awakened by a 7 am robotic call on my personal cell phone.
“This is a courtesy call for Robert” the robot said. “If this is Robert, press 1.”
Being half asleep, I did as I was told. But the robot was unconvinced. If I really was Robert, he advised, I should prove it by punching in a digital version of my date of birth on my keypad.
Wait. What? Really? In the dark at 7 am?
If there’s one thing that wakes me up quickly it’s utter absurdity, and the bizarre logic here pulled me to the surface.
You called me, robot! What proof do I have who you are, and why should I tell you anything, much less my date of birth?
Unmoved, the robot again demanded to know my birthday if this call, which I never asked for, was going to continue.
See, Franz Kafka is already starting to chortle. I knew he’d like this. BTW, robot, Mr. Kafka’s digital birthday is 07/03/1883. I’ll give you that much.
Long story short, the robot was waking me up to advise me it was time to refill one of my prescriptions. It would have been pretty ironic if it had been a prescription for sleeping pills, huh?
I’m no genius, that’s for sure. If you read my column regularly you already know that. But I am smart enough to notice when a pill bottle is almost empty.
I mean, a plastic bottle with 30 capsules in it just feels different from a bottle with only one capsule going clickety-clack when I shake it. When it sounds like that, I get a refill. No big deal.
So I hung up on the robot.
The next time I went to the pharmacy, I mentioned the irritating wake-up call. The cash register lady explained that it came so early because their Department of Really Annoying Calls is on the East Coast, where it would have been 9 am.
Seriously? A big outfit like yours doesn’t know about time zones? God forbid I should be living in Honolulu!
What’s that, Franz Kafka? Why yes, I agree with you, maybe they should call it a discourtesy call. Good one!
I know what you’re thinking now. “Bob, you dimwit, why didn’t you just tell her to take your name off the calling list and be done with it?”
That’s just what I did, which is the best part. She handed over a phone number she said I could call to get myself taken off the list. I’m not making this up.
Wait a minute, cash register lady. Your pharmacy gave my private cell phone number to some Heavy-Handed East Coast Drugstore Thugs, and now it’s my problem to undo the damage?
“That’s right, sir, we’re not allowed to do it. Only you can make that call…”
Hey, Franz Kafka, get a Kleenex! There’s peach Snapple shootin’ out your nose!
Robert Basler worked for Reuters in the US and Asia as an editor, reporter, manager and blogger. He now lives in Santa Fe with his wife, and way too many rescued dogs and cats. Blue Corn appears twice a month. Email the author: email@example.com