On Saturday afternoon I got a call from the Fred Thompson campaign. The woman on the other end had about the ooziest Southern accent I’ve ever heard; I felt like my phone was sticky. Now, I have nothing against Southern accents in general; I really enjoyed them in Gone With the Wind. But I will not vote another one into the White House. Sixteen years of good ol’ boys and grits is sufficient for me. However, that’s beside the point.
This is probably not exactly verbatim, but it’s my best recollection of the phone conversation:
Ms. Oozy: Hello. Is this Mr. Exterminator?I don’t know how you readers feel, but I think Fred would do a heckuva job. In fact, in anticipation of his election, I’m getting ready to move forward right now. I just can’t decide if I should move forward to Canada, England, or Australia.
Ms. Oozy: My name is Marci? I’m calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign?
Me: Are those questions?
Ms. Oozy: No, those weren’t questions? I was just telling you that my name is Marci? And I’m calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign?
Me: So lemme get this straight. You’re name is Marci. And you’re calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign.
Ms. Oozy: Yes, umh-hmm. As I said: My name is Marci? I’m calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign?
Me: I know. My caller ID said “Fred Thompson.”
Ms. Oozy: Well, Mr. Exterminator, I’d like to ask you a few questions to help Fred understand what’s on the mind of Americans?
Me: Why did my caller ID say “Fred Thompson” but it turned out to be you?
Ms. Oozy: Well, as you can imagine? Fred is very busy these days?
Me: Doing what?
Ms. Oozy: He’s trying to understand what’s on the mind of Americans? So when he becomes president, he can do the best job for all Americans?
Me: Are those more questions?
Ms. Oozy: Well, Mr. Exterminator, I’m coming to the questions?
Me: Oh, well those sounded like questions already. When is Fred going to become president? I haven’t heard about it?
Ms. Oozy: Well, he’s running for president now? He plans to be the next president? May I play a special message for you? From Fred? Would you like to hear that?
Me: Why didn’t Fred just call me himself? It seems like a lot of trouble to record a message when he could have just dialed the phone himself. I’d be happy to talk with him.
Ms. Oozy: Well, Fred is trying to understand what’s on the mind of Americans? I don’t think he has time to call them all?
Me: Marci, are you saying that you have time to call them all? Everyone in the country? You sound like you’re too attractive to be cooped up on the telephone all day.
Ms. Oozy: Well, I’m not calling everyone, Mr. Exterminator? I’m just selecting some special people? Some people who care about America’s future?
Me: OK, now I can understand why you picked me. You found out I was special. But I wish you’d stop asking me so many questions.
Ms. Oozy: Well, actually, Mr. Exterminator? I haven’t asked you any questions yet? But this won’t take very long? May I play Fred’s special message for you?
Me: Listen, Marci. Since you made the call, why don’t you give me the special message yourself?
Ms. Oozy: Well, Fred would like you to hear it directly from him? So may I play it?
Me: Now that was a question, right?
Ms. Oozy: Yes, umh-hmm. May I play Fred’s special message for you?
Me: I don’t see why not.
Ms. Oozy: You’ll hear Fred in a sec? When he’s done, stay on the line? ‘Cause I’d like to ask you some questions so Fred can understand what’s on the mind of Americans? ‘Kay?
Fred Thompson’s voice: Hi. This is Fred Thompson. I know you’re concerned about the direction America is moving. And I am, too. I think we need to move forward. I’m sure you think that, too. Because the best direction we can move is forward, if you ask me. And I’m confident that you’ll agree with that. So if you vote for me, we will move forward. Thank you.
Ms. Oozy: Did you hear Fred’s special message all right?
Me: He sounds better on Law and Order. His voice was kinda scratchy.
Ms. Oozy: But you heard Fred’s special message all right?
Me: It wasn’t much of a message.
Ms. Oozy: Well, of course, he could only touch on the main points? Did you agree with what Fred said?
Me: I thought it was brilliant.
Ms. Oozy: Well, I’m sure Fred will appreciate hearing that? May I tell him you said so?
Me: Sure. And tell him he should feel free to call me himself.
Ms. Oozy: Yes, umh-hmm. Are you ready for the questions?
Me: Is that one of the questions?
Ms. Oozy: Well, umh-hmm. That was a question from me? Asking you if you were ready for Fred’s questions? Because, like I said, he’s trying to understand what’s on the mind of Americans?
Me: OK, what are your questions?
Ms. Oozy: Now I want you to listen to this list? And then tell Fred if these are your concerns, too? Jobs going overseas too much government spending the country moving forward good values cutting taxes public education moving forward values illegal immigrants abortions values that are good moving America forward politicians you can trust the war on Tyr good values and the country moving forward?
Me: I think you said a few of those more than once.
Ms. Oozy: Shall I read the list again, Mr. Exterminator?
Me: No, I think I've heard it a few times already.
Ms. Oozy: Well, do you agree that those are your most important concerns?
Me: Not really.
Ms. Oozy: Yes, umh-hmm. Are there any other concerns you’d like to tell Fred about?
Me: Sure. How about adherence to the First Amendment?
Ms. Oozy: That sounds interesting? I’m sure Fred will want to hear about that one?
Me: And you neglected to mention that whole Iraq thing.
Ms. Oozy: No, I did mention it? I said the War on Tyr?
Me: Yeah, you did. But the War in Iraq is not the War on Terror.
Ms. Oozy: Yes, umh-hmm. They’re pretty much the same thing?
Me: No, they’re not.
Ms. Oozy Well, Fred thinks they’re pretty much the same thing?
Me: If Fred thinks that, he’s an idiot.
Ms. Oozy: Mr. Exterminator? Are you a Democrat?
Me: Why do you ask?
Ms. Oozy: You sound like you might be a Democrat?
Ms. Oozy: Well, thank you, Mr. Exterminator?
Me: Aren’t you gonna let me tell you the difference between ...
Ms. Oozy: I have to say goodbye now?
Me: Can you just say "fiddle-dee-dee" once for me?
Ms. Oozy: I'll be saying goodbye now?