Wrong Number


The other day I got a call. The guys says “hey I’m from the cable company, and someone will be there around 4 to repair your service.” Of course, I have the number of my cable company programmed to my phone- how else could I avoid answering when my bill is late? So I knew this guy was up to something and I said “what cable company?” “The cable company ma’am, didn’t you request that we come install a family filter on your cable box?” Let me guess, you want my credit card pin, my PayPal password, and the social security number of my first born… Nice try buddy! I thought his timing was pretty ironic considering YouTube’s announcement that they are launching “Safety Mode” to the public. Many schools and businesses have already been using this feature for quite some time. It’s not flawless, but it does help block a great deal of the inappropriate material from being played. Of course my little hacker wasn’t happy. “What’s your YouTube password?” He asked me the very next day. “Why do you need it?” I replied. “So I can play the songs on my playlist!”

“Well, if you need a password to play that song, you don’t need to play it!” Then he pointed out that he could easily make a fake email account, with a fake birthday, and effectively install his own YouTube password. It’s the age old battle of censorship. When I was a kid I bought a cd (yes, they had cd’s when I was a kid. OK, they were brand new, but let’s not dwell on that…). The cd caught my eye because of a sticker that said something like “Quick, buy this album before someone censors it!” And that right there made me curious to hear what it had to say. I guess we can install all the filters and content blockers we want to, but at the end of the day we can’t sensor our kids as much as we can teach them to give themselves boundaries.

I spend a lot of time telling my kids why they can’t throw certain words around. I’m getting tired of just how many songs belittle different groups or make it seem like you have to act like you completely lack morals to have fun. We are bombarded with lyrics that promote negative race relations or demean women or spread hate for so many other reasons, and sometimes I wonder why some of these artists don’t aim for more positive messages… don’t they think they could sell a million albums without the put-downs? I like that song about the shoes, by Macklemore… I think it’s called Wings. It’s about this little boy who realized Nike was brainwashing him with their branding, and finally he faced the fact that his shoes didn’t make him the king of the court. I wish more music was like that- filled with powerful messages that make kids think! That’s the music that should be going platinum, but hey, what do I know? Apparently I need to focus on my own problems.

According to the text message I got shortly after my cable call, I need to be working a 12-step program. The message read “the reason U R still drinking is BC u haven’t done step 1.” Now, I know what step 1 is– Admit you have a problem. However,  I don’t think I have a drinking problem. I can’t really afford a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer, so I texted back, “I think you have the wrong number, I only drink when it’s free, so that can’t possibly be a problem.” I didn’t get a response, but I keep thinking any minute I’m going to step into a room, and there it will be: INTERVENTION! The paranoia has me wondering if I should change my number.

Ever since the invention of caller ID I haven’t really dealt with many off the wall calls like these, but just as I got over my imaginary need to work a 12-step program, I got a message that said: CHECKS IN.

Who is this?
Chris, is the checks in?
(Hmm, apparently you’re not an English teacher, that much I can tell.)
Do I know you ma’am? I thought you was my dispatcher?
Sorry buddy, I don’t give out checks, but I’ll take one!!

 (Now this poor guy spent hours texting me back and forth, and sadly, he never knew my husband and my son were taking turns having a bit of fun with him. By the end of it he figured a drive to Pasadena, Texas might land him with a face to face meeting of this girl with no checks. I guess caller ID hasn’t ruined all the entertainment pranking used to provide!)

Even my husband got a prank call this week. A man was yelling “Why do you keep stealing my newspaper?!” When he asked “Who is this?” the guys screams “I’m your neighbor.” Well, since our neighbor is his mother we were pretty confident that one was in good fun. All the wrong number calls I got this week have me thinking back to the days of the Purple People Eaters, now there’s a story I’ll have to dig out of the archives!

***************  #13  **************


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