I normally ignore marketing calls or deflect them with dexterity. But one day, I got stuck. I was feeling particularly lethargic after a largish meal and sitting out in the garden thinking of this and that – you know musing on life. One of those rare days that life awards you, and in this weakened state, the telemarketer caught me. The hound.
He told me I might die any instant and that by not insuring my life for an additional amount, I am doing my family a grave injustice. It seemed a bit unlikely. I mean, I was sitting under some very large trees, but there did not seem to be much of a storm about to dislodge them from the soil and crash them on me just then. Moreover, I told him I already had insurance. It did not seem to deter him. He just went on, about how it would cost me nothing, and all I had to do was die. I didn’t like the strain of this talk, and told him I wasn’t interested. He increased his level of whatever-it-was he was trying to do, and I increased the strength with which I resisted his efforts. Neither budged, neither gave in. We circled each other at that perfect stance that boxers reluctant to throw that first punch do. Our words were our punches, though I cannot claim to infusing any sort of variety into my comebacks. They were all variations of “No thank you, I am not interested right now.” As you know there are only so many ways one can say that sentence, and my patience was starting to wear thin.
I could not use the technique of not knowing the language, since I had already explained in perfect English that he was being a relentless hound, and he would be better served if he diverted his energies elsewhere. Finally, when this fellow refused to give up, I asked him with all the remaining reserves of energy left in me, if I could ask him a question. I felt him gloat on the other end. Finally. He had elicited my interest, and now all he had to do was close the deal and get the fat commission check and go home basking in his triumphant glory.
“Do you like dogs?” I asked.
“Yes…” he drew out his response. Unsure and wondering where the conversation was going. The very effect I was going for. Serves him right – he isn’t the only one who can gloat.
“So, as long as I am polite, you will not relent is it? Is that how it works? Because if that is the reason, I can just say something rude about dogs and end this conversation for both of us right now. Quick and painless…”
Do you know what he did when I asked him this? He chuckled and giggled like a pup caught in the act of chewing the carpet. I have already called him a hound and compared him to a puppy, so I find it a bit unfair to compare him to any other animal now, but I am sorely tempted. At least he had the decency to hang up soon afterward, but left me wondering for a few minutes. I mean what a job to be trained to make otherwise polite people impolite?
A slight breeze shook the tree overhead and I scrambled indoors. I didn’t want to tempt fate just yet.