Friday, August 08, 2008

Christian Misadventures

I live in Florida, where 99% of the people are old farts waiting to die, and the other 1% of the people are members of some old fart’s family, also waiting for him or her to die. So it’s no surprise that at least once a week I get a solicitation phone call from one of the area funeral homes.

Last night at around 8:30, my phone rang and the Caller ID flashed the information: “Christian Adventures.” Naturally, I took the call. The woman on the other end was pukily perky in that TV weathergirl kind of way.

TV Weathergirl: Hello. Is this [the formal version of my name, a version I haven’t used since I was in the 5th grade, and which appears on no official records except my Federal Income Tax returns and my driver’s license, and which, for purposes of this dialogue, will henceforth be written as “Eximundo”]?

Me: Who’s calling?

TV Weathergirl: Is this Eximundo?

Me: Who’s calling?

TV Weathergirl: Eximundo?

Me: I’ve asked you twice to identify yourself.

TV Weathergirl: This is [I forget, but let’s call her Mindy, because she sounded exactly like a Mindy].

Me: What do you want, Mindy?

Mindy: I’m calling on behalf of Death-Wish Funeral Homes.

Me: Oh, my god! Who died?

Mindy: Well, nobody died, Eximundo.

Me: Things must be slow over there.

Mindy: Well, of course people died. But not anybody you know.

Me: Do you have a list of everyone I know? How’d you get that?

Mindy: I’m not calling you about anyone who died.

Me: So, what are you doing? Trying to drum up some business? Why are you calling me? I don’t know anybody who died recently.

Mindy: No, I was calling about you. You are Eximundo, right?

Me: I didn’t die.

Mindy: Well, sometimes the unexpected ...

Me: It says on my Caller ID that your name is Christian Adventures. But you told me Mindy. Is Christian Adventures your last name?

Mindy: No, that’s just my business.

Me: I thought you said you were working for Death-Wish Funeral Homes.

Mindy: Yes, uh-huh, Eximundo, I am. But this is my home phone.

Me: So somebody in your home is named Christian Adventures?

Mindy: No, that’s my business.

Me: Let me get this straight, Mindy, because I’m a little confused. You’re calling for one business, using a phone belonging to another business, but you’re really home?

Mindy: Yes.

Me: Well, I’m not interested in getting calls advertising Christianity.

Mindy: Oh, I’m not advertising ...

Me: See, here’s the thing, Mindy. When I notice “Christian Adventures” on my Caller ID, I get the feeling – don’t ask me why – that either your name is Christian Adventures or you work for some group called Christian Adventures. Isn’t that a reasonable assumption on my part?

Mindy: No, I’m just ...

Me: But that’s your home phone, right?

Mindy: Yes. I’m not calling for ...

Me: Well, here’s my problem. Whether it’s your home phone or your business phone or somebody else’s business phone or maybe even Jesus’s iPhone, I see “Christian Adventures” and right away I think you’re shilling for god.

Mindy: No, that’s not what I’m doing. I’m just ...

Me: So could you please tell Death-Wish Funeral Homes that I’m not interested in getting any more calls from them if they’re a front for a Christian organization?

Mindy: No, they’re not a front ...

Me: Because they must be, since my caller ID says it in plain English. “Christian Adventures.” That’s not a Muslim group, is it?

Mindy: No, you don’t understand. You’re just seeing my ...

Me: Shall I spell “Christian Adventures” for you, Mindy? Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

Mindy: Wait. You don’t understand.

Me: Yeah, I think I do. Goodbye, Mindy.

Today, I called my local branch of Death-Wish Funeral Homes. I began, without saying who I was, by blurting out a question: “Do you folks cater specifically to Christians? I mean, would you call yourselves a Christian funeral home?”

The woman who answered the phone sounded horrified – even though she didn’t know whether I was an overzealous fundy, a Jew, or a heathen. She probably knew I wasn’t a Muslim, because if I were, why would I call a business that I didn’t want to threaten?

Anyway, she immediately volunteered the information that DWFH was non-denominational. She said it twice. I found that oddly endearing, because there was no way she could know whether she was gaining a sale or losing one.

So I identified myself, although not as Eximundo, and told her about the gaggingly cheerful evangelist who was calling on DWFH’s behalf. The woman at the funeral home, sounding sincerely concerned, apologized profusely, and said that they’d track down the caller and take immediate action. Because of her tone of voice, I believed her.

So perhaps Mindy will actually have a Christian Adventure, herself.


Ordinary Girl said...


I want to listen in on one of the calls one day. You don't think they'd mind giggling in the background, do you?

Anonymous said...

Eximundo? As in 'out of this world'? You're a Mulderian alien?

PhillyChief said...

Awesome! When I grow up, I want to be an old fart just like you. I'd also want DWFH to handle my funeral. Do they have a big Charles Bronson in stained glass? That would rule!

John Morales said...

Good one.

But to play the game properly, you've got to put them on hold while you take care of the stove (or whatever), make a cuppa and get comfy, then try to get them to hang up on you.

It's nice to be a bastard when they intruded on you in the first instance, because one holds the moral high ground. :)

Spanish Inquisitor said...

I live in Florida,...

Before I finish reading this post, I just want to ask: Do you think it's a good idea to advertise to the world where you live? Someone might figure out the exact location, maybe even get hold of your telephone number. Next thing you know, they'll be calling you, trying to sell you prepaid burial services or something.

OK, now on to the rest of the post. I'll bet it's good...

DB said...

lmao. I am curious what she was selling. Are products for funerals homes intended to be sold prior to a death? Would that not defeat their extortion prices in the time of mourning where they can maximize profits? I wonder what would happen if I call and get information on products for my friend who is only 26 and has no health problems...

PhillyChief said...

I take it you never saw Six Feet Under? They all do those early bird specials, or whatever they call them. It really pisses them off when someone comes in with their little receipt. No new money.

I actually had a teacher go over all this crap in high school in Human Behavior. There's a bunch of cons they pull, or at least used to. One was they'd put all the expensive coffins on one side (I forget if it was right or left) because when people are stressed or upset, they tend to turn to that side. Cha-CHING!

Two fields you can get into that are always guaranteed to make money - death and booze.

The Exterminator said...

Actually, I had the woman on speaker, so Mrs. Ex heard the whole conversation. However, there are some people in this world who would rather have me set the table than be scintillating. Go figure.

Eximundo? As in 'out of this world'?
That's why I shortened my name to The Exterminator. I thought it sounded more friendly.

When I grow up, I want to be an old fart just like you.
I hope you're not under the impression that I've grown up.

I'd like to be able to hold the moral high ground, but I'm afraid of heights. Anyway, have you ever been to Florida? Lots of us are below sea level. Glug.

I wasn't surprised that the woman had my phone number. However, I was surprised that she must have gotten my name from the IRS or the Motor Vehicle Bureau. Or maybe she knows my 5th grade teacher.

I am curious what she was selling.
Maybe there was a special on funerary urns. Which reminds me of a joke:
What's a funerary urn?
Oh, about $10 an hour.

OK, that may not sound so funny now, but it was a knee-slapper back in the 1830s when I was a boy. Philly will be able to explain it to you in about five years.

John Evo said...

Ex, you could start recording the unwelcome calls you receive. I'm sure they'd be hysterical on a podcast or something. If you're a team player.

Anonymous said...

I love it. I wish that I could recover from the surprise of an unexpected call in similar ways. (((Wife))) can, I can't. I will read this one to (((Wife))) tonight (she hates reading anything on a monitor (unless its about goats)). She will appreciate it.

(((Billy))) The Atheist said...

Crap. Hit wrong button. Anonymous post is from (((me))) (in case you didn't guess).

DB said...

Ha! (((Billy))), you were quicker correcting this error than me jumping on it! I came right here to call out the impostor and was seconds late!

PhillyChief said...

Like we couldn't have (((figured it out)))

Anonymous said...

Memo to self:
Do not call Ex to
a) proselytize religion
b) sell anything other than Snowballs and Goddamned Good Beer
c) campaign for a political candidate (which is sometimes difficult to distinguish from (a) above)

Memo #2 to self:
Change my caller ID. I wouldn't want him to confuse me with a religious person, such as a parson, pastor, Pope, etc.

The Exterminator said...

Because I'm famous for being a team player -- I love that whole sports thing -- I wish I could oblige. But here in Florida, it's against the law to record a call and use it on an atheist podcast.

(((Anonymous Billy))):
You may not realize it, but there are certain stylistic features of your writing that give away the identity of the author. For example: the phrase "I can't" (not normally used by atheist) and any mention of goats.

Well, you may not have caught (((Billy))), but your detective work was so commendable that I thought I'd pass this along: There's an opening on The No More Hornets Impostor-Catching Squad. The only qualification is that you have to be able to tell a parenthesis from a bracket from a chevron.

Unfortunately, we're already considering someone for the job opening you applied for. Should he prove not to be sufficiently angry and/or tall, we'll contact you.

Was that you yesterday trying to get me to buy a satellite dish? The recorded person said she'd be in my neighborhood. If I'd known it was you, I would have extended the invitation to stop by and share a Goddamned Good Beer. But -- just out of curiosity -- why did my Caller ID say "Fundy Bullshit"?

Anonymous said...

Goats don't exist either.

PhillyChief said...

But goatse does. Go on, I dare ya to google it.

(whistles nonchalantly)

(((Billy))) The Anonymous said...

Sorry. Will from now on use 'cannot' rather than 'can't.' Though I will (on occasion), refer to the cant of another's argument.

Ric: I don't believe in goats. (((Wife))) does. And she prefers pygmies.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is the right place to mention it, but I've been having an affair (cheating on the wifey) with a hot woman))who I have actually fallen in love with her)))and she is now pregnant)))).

Anonymity is the secret of my success.

The Exterminator said...

Well, if it isn't (((Billy))) pretending to be (((John ((Edwards (again)))))).

DB said...

I would say sign me up as I know my parenthesis' and brackets, but I have a liberal bias against Chevron that might get in the way...though it would bring out the anger.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:13 -- Not me. Notice the telltale failure to keep parentheses matched.

John Evo said...

Billy clearly did that intentionally so that he could later claim it wasn't him (if necessary)which it was)).

iambilly said...

Shut up, John. My wife reads these comments (at times)and tonight could be one)).

Anonymous said...

And don't compare me to Rhology because my wife isn't having an affair either (although is wife just might be (and in fact probably is (because man is he touchy about it)))).

The Exterminator said...

I stand (corrected). I should have noticed the punctuational anomalies -- plus the fact that there were no typos. That couldn't have been you.

Anonymous2, John Evo, iambilly2, Anonymous3:
I'm guessing that someone forgot to take his Ritalin today.

Anonymous said...

() -

If (((wife))) prefers pygmies, why did she marry you (ignoring the fact that you don't exist)? Or are you in fact a pygmy who doesn't exist? Anonymously, of course.

John Evo said...

Lexapro. (yesterday)because I forgot)).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. You proved you can be a complete ass to a stranger.

Let's have a round of applause, ladies and gentlemen. Some people work their entire lives and don't achieve this degree of success.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Congratulations. You proved you can be a complete ass to a stranger.

There's irony for you.