OK, I’m back. I should probably apologize for being away so long, but it seems like I’m doing a lot of that these days, and it’s starting to get ridiculous. So, I’m not going to apologize. However I recognize the fact I should. How’s that?
I’m working on the book project, and we’re in the final days of it. I’m trying not to get excited, because I know what often comes next: heartache. But no matter what happens from here, I’ve never gotten so far into the process before, and view it as a minor victory.
It’s going to get super-scary now. Can I count on you folks to send some good juju my way? I thank you in advance.
I see the comments section has devolved into a cesspool of political bickering since I’ve been away? Fantastic. It’s a dream come true. Because, you know, there are few places on the internet where a person can go for such things. Snark… condescension… insults… It’s extremely rare, and I’ve never been prouder.
Can you guys knock it off, please? Seriously. I know I don’t exactly run a tight ship around here, but we do have a few rules. And politics is off the table. It encourages the wrong kind of asshole behavior, and isn’t funny at all. Your cooperation is appreciated.
Over the past few years I’ve received perhaps two dozen wrong numbers on my cell phone, for someone named Carlton. I don’t know who this person is, but he apparently has some juice. All the callers have a super-perky demeanor, and are prepared to kiss some ass. I often detect a whiff of desperation, as well.
Carlton’s phone number is apparently similar to mine, and I could probably figure out who he is, with a little effort. I wouldn’t mind meeting him someday. I feel connected to the man, since I’ve spoken to so many of his suitors through the years.
Have you ever had a phone number that led to a lot of wrong numbers? Did you have any fun with it? Any interesting stories to tell? Please use the comments section below.
And should I try to track down Carlton? Maybe have a conversation with the man? Find out why so many people want to please him? What do you think?
Wouldn’t it be great to be like Carlton? I don’t feel like I have anyone who wants to please me. Not really. Maybe my kids, but that’s lukewarm at best. Oh, I’m certainly no Carlton. Few of us are.
I need to go choke down a quick lunch now, and hit the Devil’s Parkway. If you have any tales of telephone hijinks, crank calls, or general weirdness please share. Unless it involves a political campaign, or something like that. Enough of that shit!! Sweet sainted mother of Bugs Meany!
I’ll see you guys soon. We’ll get this ship moving in the right direction again, I promise.
Have a great day!
Now playing in the bunker
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Swami Balogna says
Swami Balogna says
Yes, Stephanie, what can I do for you?
I thought it was B-O-L-O-G-N-A. Stupid Oscar Meyer… 🙂
Swami Balogna says
Or maybe it’s stupid Swami Balogna. I might have to rethink the spelling of my handle. (After some Googling, it’s apparent that Balogna is a place in France, but Bologna is in fact the correct spelling of the meat product.)
How about Swami Baloney?
Swami Bologna says
Nah, that loses some of the humor factor.
When the cat’s away…
I can’t find the Buy Jeff some JuJu link.
WB in OH says
It’s on the about page…
In high school our landline number (there weren’t any sissy cell phones back then) was one digit off from the high school’s. There was only one high school in the whole county. We got a LOT of calls from pissed off people.
Billy Joel says
Hurray for everyone!
When I was young my parents’ number was one off from the local pizza delivery place (there weren’t as many around back then). If someone called late at night and was obviously drunk, they would just take their order, say thank you and we’ll be there in 30 minutes.
That is hilarious.
I used to take their order and tell em all the drivers had finished and they would need to come pick it up. Would have loved to be around when they went to get it.
Vaguely similar… Several years ago I installed a videoconference system for a small branch office of . Since they were using ISDN, they got a phone line and number from Verizon just like any other phone user. But the number they got had previously belonged to a pizza joint, so the inevitable calls started coming in. When they complained to us, all we could tell them was ‘get the phone company to give you a different number’.
Yes, I know, that was the opposite of funny.
Bill in WV says
I got nothin’ on this subject. But, that don’t mean I can’t contribute to this cesspool.
Check this dude out. Perfectly good landing strip atop his bald scalp. Scroll down to the other pics, he’s a bit 1970’s hygienish in earlier, troubled days.
About a year or so ago I kept getting messages on my machine from an older woman with a NY number looking for Lori. She sounded urgent and so I picked up the next time she called and told her she had the wrong number, apparently she was looking for someone who had the same last name as me and lived in PA. We got talking and I actually helped her find who she was looking for by using the internet. This woman was in her 80’s and never used a computer. She still calls me here and there to say hello and I send her Christmas cards and pics of my daughter. She tells me if I am ever in the Queens area that she will take me out for lunch.
THAT is very cool!
As a teenager, living in my parent’s house, I got an obscene phone call when nobody else was home. It was of the “What are you wearing?” and heavy breathing type. Nothing too serious. About 10 years later, in my own apartment with a different phone number, the same voice called and said the same things. It freaked me out a lot, because obviously, it was someone I knew. Hey Dad, knock it off! (I’m kidding – it wasn’t my dad.)
My phone number at work is similar to a building company. People call here, bitching up a storm. I would never use that company, as mad as some of their customers are.
Carlton could be setting *you* up, as his prank, as in he’ll eventually call you and be “Hey this Carlton, you got any messages for me?”. We used to do that one in school, over a few weeks though, not a coupe of years.
How about abortion? Can we talk about that? Like how someone should have aborted this or that political leader when they were a baby?
WHAT DO WE WANT?
A TIME MACHINE!
WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
Lighten up Francis 😛
Taken to the woodshed by Jeff. Damn.
We used to be a number off from a dr’s office. Nothing too exciting. Every now and then I’ll get a strange text about hanging out from someone I don’t know.
I bought a used truck today. It was also my birthday weekend. Because of that I am incredibly broke for the next 9 days or so. Blurgh.
Broke and older.
Happy Birthday, T-Storm!
I appreciate it. Broke for the next few weeks, then should be able to crawl out of the hole.
I’ve only had one phone number for the past 25 years or so.
But – when I got a cell phone at work a few years ago, I began getting a lot of calls for the person who previously had the number. They were often unpleasant.
My home number, which I’ve had for 5 years now, used to belong to an apparently frequent donor to political causes at the other end of the political spectrum to myself (being vague here to keep our host happy). If I have the time I tell them various tales – he and Dave moved to Vermont so they could marry, he’s at an rally, etc. They still call.
The only phone hi-jinks I can think of is that one time I spent a week in Los Angeles.
I was staying at the Roosevelt Hotel.
In the middle of the night someone from the pool/bar area called my room:
him: “Hey, man! you coming down to the party? I got us on the list”
Me: “yeah I’ll be down in a minute.” (Hang up phone)
A while later, surely just after falling asleep again, the guy called back. He was significantly drunker.
Him: When are you coming down man this parties great.
Me: Sorry, I’m waiting on somebody.
Him: Who? We’re all down here.
Me: A guy that said he would hook me up with some coke.
Him: Aw really bro! that’s awesome.
Me: I’ll head down as soon as he gets here.
Him: Alright, see you in a bit.
I like the idea that because this tool called the wrong room, twice, that I made him expect and then get let down at the prospect of cocaine. And, that some dude missed a party at the Roosevelt pool/bar.
“parties” because he was drunk.
Improper grammar indicating drunkenness.
I’ve got no hijinks to report but some hispanic woman kept calling our home pohne in the middle of the night. Since she spoke absolutely no English it was difficult to get her to stop!
My dad likes to harangue telemarketers until they hang up on him… He wants his name on the DO Call list so he can have more fun…
Bill in WV says
I do that as well. I had a discussion with a TM’er once, where I ended up describing to her how two poodles were breeding in our living room, while we watched Family Feud. She hung up when I said “well, I think he just came”.
Phantom Railfan says
When I was growing up, our phone number was similar to those of two different establishments. One was a locally-notorious bar, and the other was a fundamentalist Baptist church. You can imagine the interesting calls we occasionally received.
I try to see how loud and obscene i can be to telemarketers before they hang up on me
Or I agree to take bunches of whatever they selling, then tell then to send bill after my welfare check comes, because I am not allowed credit cards anymore
My cousin’s husband is nototrious for calling me with fake accents, etc. (especially in those long ago days with no Caller ID). About 3 monthss ago we were planning a mini-family reunion so my phone rings, it’s her number and I answer only to hear a woman’s very thick Spanish accent say “HOLA MARIAAAAAAAA” so I yell back “HOLA MI AMIGOOOOOO” thinking it’s Buddy raising his voice a few octives.
Buddy/Spanish lady kept saying “Hola Maria…. Maria??? Maria? until I yelled “Knock it off asshole and put Lisa on” then I hear CLICK… then CLICK CLICK…
Yeah, 2 calls came in the exact time and her number registered on Caller ID but the first (wrong number thank god) I picked up first. So I basically told some old Spanish lady that she was an asshole.
Jeff, maybe it’s a modern version of “This is Carlton your doorman”? Maybe?
“I see the comments section has devolved into a cesspool of political bickering since I’ve been away?”
Spoken like a true conservalibtard. But seriously, I kid.
We miss you Jeff, and when you are away, we tend to “get into stuff”.
Hurry up with that dang book, already. I need something good to read. If it’s good juju you want, good juju you shall have, sir.
I almost forgot..
Amy?! If you’re out there, a literal shit ton of collection agencies are trying to find you, via your old cell number. I tell them you moved to Alaska, I think…
Many years ago I had a business line in my house, and the number had at one time belonged to a well known airline based somewhere in Europe (purposefully vague).
Every now and then I’d get a call and, after picking up the phone and greeting people by saying “My non-airline named company, this is Jorge,” people would start asking for flight information. Every now and then, if the mood struck me, I’d play along.
My favorite was the time when someone called and asked if a flight was on time. I asked her to verify the airport the flight originated from then spent a few moments vigorously pounding away on my computes keyboard. Then I told the lady who called that the flight had been diverted to LaGuardia in New York and would not be arriving locally after all.
The lady lost her mind. The best part went like this:
Her: “What do you mean it’s not coming in? The person I’m waiting for doesn’t speak English!”
Me: “That’s OK, lots of people in New York don’t speak English.”
Things deteriorated from there.
Then she started to demand to talk to my supervisor. My flat out refusal really pushed her over the edge. She was livid.
She hung up and then called back. I answered with my real company name and she still didn’t get it. She seemed very upset to be speaking with the guy she just hung up on. Then she yelled some more and hung up.
I wonder how surprsied she was to either learn the truth or have to go find some poor SOB who was lost at the airport.
My other favorite call was a voice mail from a guy who thought he was calling a movie theater (also a common occurrence). He said that his 400 Lb neighbor really wanted to see Saving Private Ryan and wanted to know if the theater had seats wide enough to accommodate him.
I let that one go. Fish in a barrel and all.
Billy Joel says
Many people in NYC speak only Esperanto. A stubborn bunch, for the most part.
I had some asshole call my cell phone, just a few weeks ago, telling me this was his fucking phone number and how did I get it. “Yo man…this is MY fuckin number! Wha’choo doin wit it?” I told him I’ve had this number for years. The fuck?!?! When he started to get even more shitty, I told him to suck a dick and hung up on him. He called right back. I just let it ring. Haven’t heard from him since.
A deadbeat either, A) used to have our number or, B) gave it out as her number. Numerous collection agencies “robo-called” repeatedly for Melissa with a message that she needed to call them back about her account that was in arrears. (Heh-heh-heh. “Arrears.”) I deleted them or hung up until I got sick of them. Finally I called one of them back and told them Melissa didn’t have our number, was a deadbeat, and that several agencies were after her, not just their’s. I also said I wanted 5% of whatever blood was eventually extracted from that turnip for having to put up with them. The guy laughed and said he’d remove our number from their list. I think he sent word to all the others in the collection fraternity because all the calls stopped shortly after that.
One more- More robo-calls, this one saying, “Stay on the line for important information about your car warranty!”
I decided to play along one day and stayed on the line…
Warranty scammer (WS): Thank you for holding! Are you interested in extending your vehicle’s warranty today?
Non-Hispanic Me, Using My Best High School Spanish (Mi): Si, si! Gracias! Necesito este muy mucho! Mi auto es mal. Muy mal! [Yes, yes! Thank you! I need this very much! My car is bad. Very bad!]
WS: Do you speak English?
Mi: No, no Ingles hoy! [No, no English today!]
WS: Do you want this extended warranty?
Mi: Si, con mucho gusto. Mi auto esta decompuesta! Necesito este ahora! [Yes, very much. My car is broken. I need this now!]
WS: I need you to speak English in order to help you.
Mi: Que lastima! Solamente dos chicas en la cocina! [What a pity! There are only two girls in the kitchen.] (I stole this line from a comedian I saw on Letterman in the late ’80s.)
WS: I’m going to have to have someone call you back. I don’t speak French. *click*
French?! My high school Spanish teacher must be sorely disappointed.
It’s been weeks since I came across a good Encyclopedia Brown reference. I understand Brown was trying to bust Bugs Meany for bearding for the Hollywood Ten (quick political reference).
Back when I got my number I kept getting calls for some girl, I kept telling them that they got the wrong number. But the calls they kept on coming.
So I started taking messages, or just telling people she ain’t here right now. One day, I think after being well pleased if ya know what I mean, I answer and some girl on the other end ask for her, ‘she can’t come to the phone right now she is in the shower shouldn’t be too long’, so started a mindless conversation with this chick. Before it gets too involved and she figures things out, I interupt her, ‘hang on, here she comes’ I talk to the woman who just came out of the shower ‘Damn you look like you are ready to do it again! Oh, whateverthefuckhernamewas is on the phone, you wanna talk or do it? I hear an “oh my god” and click.
I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when my mystery woman got quizzed about who she was fucking, why they didn’t know about this mystery guy, and how many other acquaintances got that story before if got quashed. Hehe. I didn’t get many calls after that, at least none from women folk, just the occasional guy calling and asking for her.
We have a land line one number off a local Toyota Dealer Service department, just to make it worse they actually had our number on their web site. Myself and my son have sent many a person there saying no you don’t need an appointment just drop it in, early? sure just drop the keys through the letterbox….I bet theres been many a confused service guy with cars he knows nothing about!!!
I have two stories. Oh the pain these bring up.
1. some chick kept calling at 5:15 every morning asking for Juan. evidentially she was his girlfriend and this was his wake up call. evidentially Juan couldn’t afford an alarm clock.
took several days till we figured out this idiot programmed the speed dial on her phone with the wrong number. and when I explained it to her, she said ‘how would you know that? I said – have Juan reprogram your phone, you’ll see. calls ceased after that.
2. The worst one, and pathetic if you really thing about this –
we would get calls from a hospital in middle of the night, looking for ‘Doctor Rodriguez’. Evidentially at those times, one of her patients was coding, or needed some sort of attention. Took us a while to figure it out, with the help of a phone company employee that broke rules and looked up numbers and gave us info:
The good doctor had the same phone number as us, but a different area code. (Chicago had split their area codes a year or so earlier).
She would give the hospital her home number, but use our area code. Once we figured that out, we contacted the hospital, and they changed their records. And the calls would stop, for a few weeks. Then they would start again.
We’d contact the hospital, calls cease a few days, then start again. (evidentially the doctor got tired of being woken up in the middle of the night)
2 scenarios – either the doctor was too stupid to realize what her home phone number really was.
OR – she deliberately gave her employer the phone number with the wrong area code so she wouldn’t’ be awoken at night.
Either scenario is NOT good for patients unfortunate enough to fall under her care.
End result, after consulting an attorney friend, we contacted the hospital and requested a few bucks for the inconvenience – literally 250 bucks. The catholic-run hospital essentially told us to stick it.
We changed our phone number.
Years ago we moved to a new home and got a landline phone number assigned that was the old Woolworth’s that had been closed for years. But apparently old people have a habit of keeping old yellow pages (with comments, scribbles and doodles on the pages).
Usually on the weekends we would get calls about hours of opening and merchandise questions. I rarely played along because it was usually someone 3 times my age. The phone company bought us an answering machine to screen our calls once we complained.
When I was a kid, the police dept in the next town was one digit off from our home number. We got lots of frantic calls from people wanting help. It sucked, it was the late 60’s/ early 70’s and there was nothing we could do besides tell them to call the right number.
When I was in college, we kept getting calls from guys looking for “Lisa”. Apparently Lisa had epic oral talents and would give out the wrong number to get guys off her back. Some guys got angry, claiming we were hiding “Lisa”. We got calls for 3 years, until we left school and moved.
Cindy from Oregon says
Does this count? Apparently some woman (or women, this has been going on since I got my cell phone 7-8 years ago) with the same name as me managed to get a few credit cards or lines of credit, which she (or they) promptly defaulted on. I get calls from different states and if they are particularly persistent I’ll eventually answer them, explain that I am not the droid they’re looking for, and get some peace for a few weeks then it starts again.
Billy Joel says
Same thing happened to me in MD some (over 10) years back, except it was on a land-line number. Find out who the collection agencies are (get their contact info), and contact your state attorney’s office about the matter. You won’t hear from them again if they get into the act.
When I was in junior high school, one Summer day I was at a friend’s house down the street and we started trying to come up with a few good pranks we could pull on some unsuspecting people in the neighborhood. My Mother was a very trusting person and believed the world was always truthful and fair; yes, she was a tad naive. I had my brother’s friend dial our phone (this is back when you had those black, rotary dial phones that could not be destroyed) and when my Mother answered, I had him tell that her that he was with the phone company and the linemen were in her area and were blowing all the dust out of the phone lines. He asked that she leave the receiver off the hook so the dust would freely flow out of the lines and that she should put the receiver in a plastic bag, sealed tightly, so the dust wouldn’t get all over the house. Shortly thereafter, my friend and I went to my house and, sure enough, there was the receiver, off the hook, on the top of the counter, in a tightly closed plastic bag. We all had a good laugh but to this day, I feel guilty as hell for pulling that stunt. My poor Mother had to feel so dumb that she had been hood-winked by two 15 year olds.
when we first moved to this area, we had the same number but a different exchange from the local garbage company. we got many, many irate calls from people complaining about pickup—usually about 3:00 AM. try to explain to a pissed off drunk that he has the wrong number—-doesn’t work.
Our company has a very similar name as a very large national retailer. It seems that when people call information the phone company gives out our company number by mistake because at least 4 or 5 times per day I get a call asking for specific store departments. Now I have been employed here fo 13 years & having this occur is frustrating to say the least so I have managed to make some fun out of the confusion.
Caller: Can you connect me with the automotive dept. please?
Me: Yes Sir! Please hold.
After several minutes….
Me: Mens Wear!
Caller: Connect me with the automotive dept. please
Me: Please hold
After several more minutes……
Caller: I AM HOLDING FOR AUTOMOTIVE !
Me: Please Hold
After several more minutes……
Caller: G-DAMMIT! ARE YOU PEOPLE F’N IDIOTS?!! CONNECT ME TO THE F’N AUTOMOTIVE DEPARTMENT!!!!
Me: I’m sorry Sir, I believe you have the wrong number. Click
Welcome back, Jeff! I figured you were working on the much-anticipated book.
Oh, and I built a Blue Box when I was in high school, maybe 1975-ish. It didn’t work; probably just as well.
Blue Boxes were worth a lot of money and even more prestige. They might or might not get you laid, but you would be bathed in the esteem of your peers and every geek within earshot.
I once saw a guy who claimed he could imitate a blue box (and thus, Ma Bell) with his voice. He succeeded in sounding like a wounded chimp without even so much as getting connected to Information. He didn’t get laid either.
I had no idea of any financial or social value. I just thought it was cool learning how all this “secret” telephone stuff worked. I might have gotten the BB working if I’d had reliable specs and a frequency counter.
I *can* state with confidence that then, as now, no such thing will get you laid.
Here’s a book from my Amazon Wishlist, about blue boxes and phone hacking in ’60s and ’70s: http://amzn.to/1f4MUJk