Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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September 2016

   Hellooooo (Hello ..... Hello ..... Hello .....)     "Is there anybody in there?

    I was looking for something in my garage the other day when my hot little friend Jackie dropped in to visit and she busted me for doing something we all do but is best done when nobody is watching due to the fact that it’s so embarrassing and by its very nature, private: She caught me talking to myself.

    Most, if not all of us, might say something like, “OH SHIT!” or, “Well THAT figures.” aloud whether or not anyone else is around if something unexpectedly bad happens. Asking things like, “Now where did I put that?”, or “What do I want for dinner?” is probably just as common too, but the difference here is you’re asking a question so that constitutes the beginning of an actual conversation. If you answer that question with something like, “Well I don’t know... what’s in the refrigerator?” well, there ya go and you’re off on the road to insanity. This can get rather complex if you go on with, “Let’s look.” because at that point the whole thing becomes rather schizophrenic and sorta creepy. Unfortunately for me, I’ve gone way beyond that.

    I’ve gotten so bad that I tell myself jokes which really sucks because they can’t possibly be funny if I already know what the punch lines are gonna be. Maybe it’ll all work out as I get older and my memory starts to go. But if it does, ya think I’ll remember what the hell I was talking about it the first place? In fact as I’m typing this I’m feeling sorta weird because there’s no way anyone can even answer THAT since you guys won’t be reading this until September and I’m asking the damned question in July. So for now I’m writing AND asking questions without expecting a reply! (The inside of Bummer’s head-bone is a very disturbing place to be.)

    As you might have heard me mention a thousand times, I don’t have a cell phone. I just refuse to do it for many reasons, like: I feel that my personal need for one doesn’t justify all the hassle, I’m retired so I don’t NEED one for work, I’m often riding the bike and when I do I don’t use a windshield (using a cell while piloting anything is wrong anyway), I have a perfectly functioning 1984 Radio Shack answering machine, I have a good digital camera, I get all the free porn I want on my computer, if I really wanted GPS I could buy units for the truck and bike, and finally anyone can get hold of me in many various ways if they really wanted to.

    For me the only bad thing about a land-line is solicitors. I get at least three or four a day... every day. I get them before and after the legal hours. I get them from India or Pakistan from guys with names like “George” when they can barely speak enough English to even pronounce “George”. In fact I get them from places where they won’t even tell me WHERE their calling from.

    I’ve gotten calls like, “Hello! How are you doing?” which I reply to before I realize it’s a damned recording. Then I’ve even (since I’m so used of talking to myself) replied, “This is a recording, isn’t it?” and the freaky thing is they often use some kind of algorithm that allows the damned MACHINE to momentarily pause and change the recording to something like, “Why? Do I sound like a machine?” in that same cheerful voice. This has happened so many times that I usually forget how odd that is... I just hang up shaking my head after colorfully swearing at the recording.

    Now I hear a lot of you cell phone owners are starting to get solicitors, which I bet totally sucks if you’re paying for a “minute plan” and you assume you’re actually listening and talking to a real, live person. THAT should be illegal, particularly since a lot of calls that we get are actually the result of a damned machine that makes a bunch of calls at the same time but only has the ability to deal with a few of them, so we often think we’re getting a call that somebody has hung up on... which is sorta true. In fact just a moment ago I got a call like that and afterwards when I saw the number on my caller ID I called it back only to hear “The number you have dialed is disconnected.” What? If anyone can call me I SHOULD be able to call them back and bother the hell outta them!

    I remember I asked a speaker at one of our local ABATE meetings, a State Senator, that if any politician wanted to easily get a boatload of votes they should sponsor anti-phone solicitor legislation. Her reply pointed out that politicians are the worst abusers! In fact she told me that current laws, like that infamous “Do not call” list you supposedly have to constantly renew, doesn’t even apply to them! Political solicitation is completely exempt from that even if you ARE currently on the “Do not call” list! And if you say to them, “I do not accept phone solicitors. Please take me off your list.” like Jackie has told me to do... well, they just don’t gotta. That’s obviously because THEY are the ones making the laws!!

    The only thing that’s good about any of this is if you DO have an inclination to talk to yourself, you might relieve the urge by talking to the phone solicitors, unless it’s a machine then you’re back to talking to yourself again and the issue multiplies. If it’s a live person you can play with it a bit. I like to pretend I’m drunk (well, sometimes I am) and enthusiastically agree to everything they say. Then I tell them our connection is breaking up and I’m losing them... “Hello? Hello? I can’t hear you! Oh, that’s too bad! I almost bought what you were selling!” and hang up frustrating the hell outta them. If they call back the fun begins anew.

    I once read of a great idea that someone had where you can tell them you are a policeman, that they’ve dialed the scene of a homicide, and that they have to stay on the line to wait for a detective who will take all they’re information, quickly adding that if they hang up (and haven’t yet) they’ll be easily found and prosecuted for hampering a murder investigation. I’m sure that’s sorta illegal, but it sure sounds fun as all hell!

    Speaking of cops: I often even get calls from local police departments which initially scare the hell outta me. With a voice of authority they tell me who they are, casually ask how I’m doing, then go on to ask for donations to some kind of F.O.P. fund (Fraternal Order of Police) or to buy tickets to some kind of “oldies” concert raising bucks for a police “thing”. Then they’d tell me if I did, they would send me an “official police supporter” sticker of some kind even suggesting that I slap it on my rear bumper right next to my license plate, the implication being that it would save me from being persecuted somehow. IT DID NOT!!! I STILL got a D.U.I. even after I pointed it out to the arresting officer saying, “But I was displaying my “official” F.O.P. sticker! You must have noticed it when you ran my plates you son of a bitch!!!” I still don’t understand why that didn’t work.

    For months now I’ve been getting emails, snail mails, and many, many, many, phone calls from a ton of different insurance companies urging me to sign up for their supplements when my Medicare kicks in this month (September). I asked a buddy of mine who I used to work with named Bones about this and what I should do about it. His reply was, “I have no idea Bum. My wife takes care of all that.” I gotta get me another wife.

    Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll have decided what to do (if anything), but no matter how you look at it, if insurance was generally such a good idea for the consumer, the insurance companies wouldn’t be able to stay in business. Of course I DO have all kinds of various insurance, and I would have most of it even if the law said I didn’t have to, but insurance is just like gambling and the law of averages shows that most people couldn’t possibly be getting their money’s worth. Even “life” insurance is where the company is betting that you’ll stay alive long enough to pay enough premiums to make it worth their while, which seems illogical if you crunch the numbers. And no matter what, there comes a time when you simply have too much insurance anyway.

    In the very old days (even before MY time) “life” insurance was called “death” insurance. Then when mass media advertising came along someone decided that was too depressing and could better be sold to the masses as “LIFE” insurance. Can you imagine a TV commercial with a lovely young smiling wife urging her husband to make sure he hurries up and calls their agent to increase his “death” insurance while they’re sipping their morning coffee? Whatever ya call it, it was meant to be for your funeral expenses and to take care of your wife and family after you’re gone. Now they have something called “final expense” or “final cost” insurance that is specifically just for your funeral, leaving more of your “life” insurance for the family to have fun with. Sheesh!

    Okay, enough of that. I don’t wanna be a Bummer... oops, what did I just say? Ha ha ha, I just told myself a joke unexpectedly so that makes it genuinely funny! (See what I’m dealing with? HELP!!)


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