Here we go again folks. Back in the '50s my older brother and I used to get on the telephone and prank people. We'd randomly call people and tell them that we were the Electric Co. then ask if their refrigerator was running? They'd go and check and come back and tell us yes. Then we told them to go and catch it. We'd laugh and hang up.
The other joke was to call stores that carried tobacco products and ask if they have Sir Walter Raleigh in a can? If they did then we said, "Well you better let him out he can't breathe!" Then hang up laughing.
We lived on a busy four-lane road in town and, to our neighbors dismay, we would call companies that delivered. We'd sit and watch as the neighbors got products brought to their homes. We even called taxi cabs for them! That was such a fun game to play.
There wasn't any way of tracing the calls and no caller ID back then. Fast forward to today's world and the rules have changed, with most everyone having caller ID.
It's rare that you can prank a person. You can press certain numbers and the last incoming call will show up on your screen. You’re busted, you’re in trouble!
The good part of having caller ID was to identify telemarketers. They can be such a pain to our posterior! I can look at the screen and, if the number is unknown, out of territory or 1-800 then we don't answer it — problem solved.
Wrong, now they have found a way around it! I've been receiving local calls with familiar names showing. I've received calls from the hospital, college and local businesses. This week I got a call from Floral Garden Florist here in town. When I picked it up I got a,"HI, I'm BOB and I'm CALLING TO SELL YOU ..." I hung up. I called the number back and a very nice lady picked up and we had a nice conversation about this incident. It surely wasn't them.
About three months ago, I got a call from a lady from our church who had passed away weeks earlier. I picked it up thinking that her family maybe was calling me to help clean up her home belongings. WRONG, Telemarketers! I told them, "shame on you people for using a deceased person's number!" I hung up and thought I had sounded like my mother on that one!
Being in business where I deal with the local public, I feel I must answer these local calls. I'm being the sucker here. I'm now receiving the back punishment for all the prank calls I made as a kid.
I don't know how they can legally use other people's numbers. I have my home phone bundled through the cable company. I don't know if they are responsible or if this problem goes beyond them.
As I've typed this story up I've received two more calls. I'M SORRY! I'm sorry for all those calls I made as a kid already! Is this what karma is all about?
Dave Mikla is an Ashland resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.