What follows is the actual conversation between myself and a "client" (Why do quote marks make that seem dirty? Because it was not in any way dirty, but the quote marks on "client" kind of make it feel like I should be saying "John" or something... It's just me? Okay, moving on.). Names have been changed to protect... Well, to protect me, really, because there's a chance this could come back and bite me. But probably not. I hope. And I don't think "Geraldine" needs protecting...
Anyway, I got a strange call, hung up, wrote it all down as best I could remember, and e-mailed it to Sister. This happened a lot at this job--both the odd conversations with crazy people and the e-mailed transcriptions of my phone calls. It kept me from harming people (mostly) and it entertained Sister (sometimes). This e-mail, coincidentally, is one of the first times she encouraged me to start a blog. It's the little details like this that keep you coming back for more, isn't it? Just a small service I provide. Well, I dug in my e-mail archives to
And now, without further ado, an excerpt from Phone Calls With Crazy People (coming soon to Broadway):
ELISE: Hello, [Company Name], this is Elise.
GERALDINE: Hi, my name is Geraldine and I'm a great-grandmother and (high-pitched laughter) there's a deer outside eating a tree!
ELISE: (strained laughter) Alright... How can I help you, Geraldine?
GERALDINE: Well, I think that women are being represented unfairly when they... Well, I'm reading about this [product/benefit] in the Senior Register and I'm concerned, because it's for widows and I think all women who are widows should be eligible for this [product/benefit].
ELISE: Okay, Ma'am. That [product/benefit] is available for people over 65 and disabled veterans or the widow of a qualifying person. What is your concern?
GERALDINE: Well, just that all single mothers should have access to this [product/benefit], since I know a lot of them that are widows and are elderly.
ELISE: If they are over 65, they qualify.
GERALDINE: Yes, but I don't know if I qualify.
ELISE: Are you over 65?
GERALDINE: Well, I'll be 63 in a few months.
ELISE: So... No?
GERALDINE: So I don't qualify? Even though I'm a widow?
ELISE: Was your husband over 65 when he died.
GERALDINE: Well, he's 4 years older than me, so that would make him 66, so yes.
ELISE: Then, yes, you would qualify.
GERALDINE: But, he'd have to be all-the-way dead?
ELISE: (long, awkward pause) Yes, ma'am... He would have to be dead.
GERALDINE: Like, in-the-ground dead?
ELISE: (uncomfortable silence) Yes, ma'am, your husband would have to be dead for you to be a widow. And to qualify for this [product].
GERALDINE: Well, he lives in Michigan.
ELISE: (long, awkward pause) Well, than I don't think you'd qualify.
GERALDINE: I divorced him 30 years ago and he's as good as dead to me.
ELISE: (long, awkward pause) Well, yes, ma'am, I understand. But I don't think that qualifies.
GERALDINE: But he's a disabled veteran.
ELISE: If he's disabled, then he would qualify.
GERALDINE: Oh, he's disabled, alright. He shot himself in the head once and didn't die. (maniacal laughter) Yeah, he's disabled.
ELISE: Okay... Well, if he's disabled, then he qualifies.
GERALDINE: And if I were his widow, I'd qualify?
ELISE: Yes, ma'am. If you were married to him at the time of his death, you would qualify.
GERALDINE: But he would have to die?
ELISE: For you to be his widow, yes. He would have to die.
GERALDINE: Well, if it's meant to be, God'll see to it.