‘If you can correctly pronounce my husband’s full name in three guesses, I might let you talk to him.’

Life in the Telemarketing Economy
Or: Boy, did they get the right wrong number!

Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “Norton’s dad and I have a landline telephone on which we have Caller ID.

“The other night, there was a call identified as coming from “unknown caller.’ We usually don’t answer anything from a number we don’t recognize, but when I saw that notation, I thought I remembered that one of our friends’/relatives’ calls came in with that description, so I answered it.

“The caller asked for ‘Norton’s dad,’ but butchered both his first and last names, so I knew it wasn’t anyone we knew. I informed the young man that ‘Norton’s dad’ wasn’t available and asked if I could take a message. He said: ‘No, I’ll call back later.’ I replied ‘Please don’t,’ in a nice, but pleading, voice. The young man had a pleasant voice and was very polite. I actually enjoyed the telephone exchange. (I know: Con men and women can have really nice voices, but don’t worry; I would never fall for any of the scams.)

“The next morning, ‘unknown caller’ appeared again, and I answered it, mostly because I’d enjoyed speaking with the young man the night before and thought he might be calling back. Sure enough, it was the nice-sounding young man asking for ‘Norton’s dad.’ I again informed him that ‘Norton’s dad,’ who happened to be sitting right next to me, wasn’t available to speak with him and offered to pass on a message. He stated that he’d call back, to which I replied: ‘You know, if you’re selling something, telling us who to vote for, anything like that, we’re not going to listen, so please don’t call back’ — again said in a kindly manner; unusual for me to speak that way to one of these callers, but he did have a nice polite way of speaking; sounded like a nice young man.

“Now I’m patiently waiting for him to call back. I have questions for him. ‘Are you putting yourself through school by pestering people on the phone?’ ‘Are you hoping to get a job where you don’t need to hide behind “unknown caller” and can allow people to see your real name or phone number?’ And perhaps to challenge him: ‘If you can correctly pronounce my husband’s full name in three guesses, I might let you talk to him.’ The key word there would be ‘might.’ ”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

Walt of Wayzata: “Nov. 5 SPPP front page: ‘Wrongly suspected, a police dog bit F____ B____ and an officer kicked him.’

“What was the dog suspected of? [Bulletin Board speculates: An overbite?]

“N.B. the preposition at the end of my sentence. Too awkward if cast correctly.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Awkwardness is something up with which none of us should put.

Then & Now

Hudson Grandmama: “Subject: Is nothing sacred?

“Gray Haired Guy’s family has been going to the same location — called a cabin camp — in Northern Minnesota since the late 1940s, to hunt both grouse and deer.

“Nothing much has changed about the cabins in those 60-plus years. As you can imagine, they are rundown, mice-ridden, uninsulated, and dusty — and incredibly inexpensive. Perfect for guys who can live without any sort of ambience for about a week at a time.

“They have electricity and propane for the range, but the water must be carried in buckets filled from the spigot on the outside of the owner’s house. And of course the ‘biffy’ is outside around the corner.

“This year, however, two ‘improvements’ have been made — and at no additional charge! There is now a heat lamp in the biffy and, should it be dark on the way there, a string of twinkle lights along the path.

“What’s next? Hanging plants on the porch? Fluffy white towels? Chocolates on the pillows? The hunters can take only so much. They’d hate to start looking for different — dare I say ‘new’ — accommodations after all these years.”

It do add up!

KH of White Bear Lake reports: “In the crime drama ‘NUMB3RS,’ mathematics was always in some way crucial to solving the crime. I offered to help a friend of mine build his deck.


“Over a two-day span, I used 3,000 screws to secure the deck boards in place. According to my digital scale, my screwdriver (with battery) weighs 7.2 pounds. Minimally, I lifted the screwdriver twice for each screw (once to position it to start the screw and once when I was finished with the screw). 3,000 x 2 x 7.2 = 43,200 pounds, or a little more than 21 tons.

“I think those numbers explain the discomfort in my right arm.”

Our theater of seasons
5/7/5 Division

Our weekly haikuist, WriteWoman of Shoreview, checks in: “My granddaughter, Laurel (fifth grade), wrote a new haiku: ‘grass waving in wind / leaves falling into the ground / nature has beauty.’

“Mine is:

“five yellow leaves cling

“not ready to blow away

wave at me today”

Just a coincidence?
Urban Division

David Tews writes: “This article about retiring in smaller cities included a picture of ‘Grand Rapids, Michigan’ that looks a lot like St. Paul, don’t you think?”


BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Well, that bridge sure as heck does. But Grand Rapids needs a big “We’re Number 1” sign in the sky, if it aims to give good old St. Paul a run for its residents.

How far back?

Another earliest memory, from SHRN in Woodbury: “I was about 4 years old. It was summertime, and my mother, twin sister and I went to the bus stop to meet my dad coming home from work.

“The bus stopped across the street, and when my sister saw him, she took off across the street. A truck was passing the bus and hit my sister. I remember the driver jackknifed to the right, and I saw her roll out from under the truck.

“My mother screamed, and we ran to my sister.

“She was not injured!

“A neighbor must have called for emergency services, because an ambulance came. My sister was so upset about going to the hospital, and caregivers decided she was not injured, so they let her go home and we walked the half-block to the house.

“That night, my sister and I were each given fresh-squeezed orange juice.”

How far back? (responsorial)

The Daughter of the Gram with a Thousand Rules writes:


“I’ve really been enjoying the new online Bulletin Board format. It’s great receiving it directly to my email inbox first thing in the morning, way across the ocean here in Hawaii. I treasure the stories my mom, The Gram With a Thousand Rules, has been sharing over the years, and all of the other writers’ treasures as well. I often share the BB stories with my teenagers while they are enjoying breakfast; it feels like our Minnesota family and friends aren’t quite so far away from us.

“The early memory shared by The Old Hand of Oakdale, of trying to climb in and sleep in the casket of his dear Uncle Gilbert [BB, 11/4/2016], sparked a memory in my 17-year-old son, The Grandson of The Gram With a Thousand Rules. My son was 2 years old when his great-grandma on my husband’s side of the family died. He remembered in detail one part of the funeral, so it was indeed a real memory, not from a photo or shared family story.

“Great-Grandma had been living in a nursing home in Arizona, so my son had seen her only a few times, but really liked her because she would give him ice cream and crisp dollar bills. Her funeral began with the open-casket tradition, and I had decided earlier to not bring our three young kids up to the casket. But our youngest was very bright and extremely articulate at only 2 and kept telling us in whispers that he really wanted to go see Great-Grandma.

“My middle daughter, who at 3-1/2 years old was, in her mind, much wiser and unfortunately experienced in these things, told him that Grandma was just ‘sleeping in a casket,’ but with her little lisp it came out ‘Geeping in a basket.’

“My son insisted again he wanted to look, so we got in the viewing line. As we approached the casket, he asked me to pick him up so he could see. I put him on my hip, and he then insisted I move him closer … and closer … and closer. I wondered if he meant to kiss her or what he had in mind. Finally, after getting close enough to actually give her a kiss, he stared quietly for what seemed an eternity, then folded his little hands up, leaned back and declared not so quietly: ‘Yep, she is DEFINITELY not breathing.’

“He remembered that he felt sad, but also justified, because he KNEW she wasn’t just ‘geeping’ in that basket.

“Thank you. Mahalo, for keeping BB alive and well!”

Could be verse!

Tim Torkildson: “Subject: An old man’s morning prayer.

“Excuse me, Lord, my creaky knees

“cause me to gasp and then to wheeze;

“so if it’s all the same to Thee

“I’ll sit in pious reverie.

“I know I’ve many boons for which

“I should give thanks without a hitch;

“but it is hard to concentrate

“when pills are all that’s on my plate.

“My feet are dry, my nose runs wet;

“but I will try to not forget

“to emulate Thy holy ways,

“as I get ready for X-rays.

“My memory is not the best,

“and I have flunked my driver’s test;

“but still I want to praise Thy name

“for letting me stay in the game.”

What’s in a name?

Mr. Tulkinghorn (our Official Attorney) is off the clock again: “When visiting Zion National Park, my wife and three young daughters wanted to ride horses on some of the trails. I went along with the idea.

“They all saddled up, on horses called Rascal, Andy, Junebug and Bert. Me? I was left to throw my leg over Buttercup, a big ol’ slow-moving and harmless mule. How humbling!

“Still fun, though.”

What’s in a name?
Or: The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”

Rocky’s Mom of St Paul Park: “Daughter, Dr. Annie, is on a ‘business trip’ to Arizona and promised to keep in touch in our usual manner, where she’d email me a picture of each stop, thereby informing me of her whereabouts at the moment, and creating a pictorial record of the trip for her files.

“In most of the photos, it’s obvious why she was impressed by the scenery. But, in this one?”


Band Name of the Day: The Unknown Callers

Website of the Day: Not a new one, but still the funniest YouTube we’ve ever seen, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVDNNoEk4PI&app=desktop




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