Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 25, 2010

For Insanity, Press Four

Years ago the comedy group Royal Canadian Air Farce did a sketch with a man calling 911 for assistance. He was immediately diverted into an automatic phone system, which cheerfully brings him into a series of ever-more bizarre criminal charges options. Finally, frantic, he presses a series of numbers, and the automated voice speaks again.

"You have selected Regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one."

Automated phone systems. We all hate them. If we're not being led around in a maze, pressing an ever increasing number of buttons to get to a living, breathing person, we're listening to Musak versions of songs we didn't like in the first place.

So there you are, spending good time on a Saturday, calling a customer service line for assistance. Maybe it's for that new flat screen television. Or the dryer that's gone on the blink. Or the barbecue that as you wait is presently burning down that nice gazebo in the back yard. And you're on hold.

And they're playing that bad elevator music version of The Girl From Ipanema. Or Jailhouse Rock. Or instead of Musak, it's Barry Manilow actually singing Mandy. Yes, all annoying. I know. I've been there. Twenty years from now, the Musak will be Oops I Did It Again. Or I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt.

I'm not sure which is more annoying though. Is it the Muzak or the synthesized woman's voice coming back every twenty seconds with its reassuring message over and over again?

"Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line."

That's assuming you even make it to the call holding phase, and haven't just given up in exasperation after getting lost pressing buttons. Or, perhaps, going much further then you might have expected. Like being confounded after fifteen minutes of pressing buttons, and winding up pressing the wrong one.

"If you are being attacked by a swarm of bees, press one. If you are buried alive in a bad plotline from a soap opera, press two. If you are the long lost Kennedy heir, press three. If you are.."

By this point, of course, you're so aggravated that your answer is all too obvious.

"Shut the **** up!"

And the computer voice will hear that particular bad word and misinterpret it.

"If you would like to engage in carnal relations with the computer, press sixty nine."

That particular number (you know what it means, and if you don't, I feel very sorry for you) catches your curiousity. So you press the two buttons. And the voice comes back on, and she's speaking sweetly.

"If you would like opposite sex relations with the computer program, press one. If you would like same sex relations with the computer program, press two. If you would like a threesome with the computer program, press three. If you would like an orgy, press four..."

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