How do we measure our lives? T.S Eliot, said that J. Alfred Prufrock did it in coffee spoons. Sports teams do it in number of victories. Doctors may measure in the number of lives they have saved. Business people will likely measure in money and material success. Those of us whose lives have been more eclectic, find alternatives to the win/lose or money earned/spent evaluation of our lives.
Yesterday, when we needed to make some changes in our EZ-pass, David got on the phone and pretended to be me. When David was pretending to be me, he mentioned, in passing, that the EZ-pass had been passed on to the next generation because Rose was dead. They insisted however, on speaking to her (“sir… only the account holder can change the account….) So I got on the phone, and passed myself off as my too colorful mother. After about five minutes of question answering, the EZ-pass representative hesitated and said, “just a minute, I thought someone said that Rose was dead.” I laughed and said, “how can I be dead, I’m talking on the phone.” It felt great. When mom was alive and we would have to do business on the phone for her, banking, bill paying, insurance issues, David would initiate the call. Whoever he was calling was insistent on speaking to my mother. I would then get on the phone and drive the person we called so nuts, that they would insist I put “the nice young man” back on the phone.
One of the ways we measure our success is by how we deal with people who call during dinner to sell us something we will never buy. Usually David takes these calls because he was never a bad boy. I have never been a good girl—in the most innocent ways. In college when the pay phone in the hallway rang – we didn’t have our own phones, and cells were a thing to be discovered thirty years later, we would all rush to the phone because a call on the pay phone was assuredly a pervert call. Perverts were the only people who had the phone number. (No one in the dorm knew any of the pay phone numbers.)
As children we would play this game where we would compete to gross out the pervert. It was a timing thing. The idea was that whoever grossed out the pervert the quickest, would win the game. It was an incredibly challenging competition, where the language and energy knew no bounds. Let me say, (I don’t think you’ll be surprised), I was usually the champ. It was such fun that when David and I started to get these dinner interrupting phone calls, I didn’t want to deny him the opportunity to have some fun. His responses took a number of forms. This is not a complete list but, sometimes he would pretend to be hard of hearing, sometimes he would be pretend to be screaming at his uncooperative wife, and sometimes he would pretend not to speak any English. There was even a conversation which included the phrase (yelled to a theoretical off camera young child,) " I swear if you drop that watermelon I'll crown you with a Sand Wedge!" Whoever the character, it was always hilarious.
You remember that there was a ‘no call’ list. If you signed up, you were not supposed to get any of those tiresome solicitations or pesky non-stop political sales (yes they think they are selling a product). Despite our attempt not to get calls, we continued to be bombarded by optimistic, hopeful, soon to be discouraged, sales personnel who, at their expense provided us with a way to measure our creativity. Anyway, one of our measurements for success and personal growth, was the ability to delight in getting rid of unwanted dinner interruptions, as well as ability to entertain one another. Humor is an excellent measure of personal growth, as well as proving that no matter how old someone gets, you’re never be too old to be silly. We’re just sayin’… Iris