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”]?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?”
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?
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.
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.