Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
The first sign that the caller is in trouble is when they are struggling to pronounce my two-syllable name. "Mr. Cahler, Kallen, sir, this is..." The rambling, disjointed voice has gotten my attention as he tries tries to spit out Callan. He wants me to know that Countrywide has a special offer for me, a lower points discount on the mortgage I have had with them since 2001. He doesn't seem to know that I've just sold my house in Virginia to move to Utah, but why ruin the fun. He is stepping over his script, but be patient, this isn't Grant or Amanda after all. This poor, hapless somebody from nowhere wants me to agree to re-finance right now, right here; he doesn't even know that his information is as dated as the Dead Sea Scroll. I am a coward; I don't want to disappoint; I lie. I tell my friend I'm an old man, don't feel well tonight, maybe call me closer to Christmas, when I can blame the seasonal joy on my recalcitrance to chat about this suddenly cheap no discount loan. You've got to understand. I'm the caller. I once did this for a living. I made the calls, selling lawn care products as I scratched for that broadcasting break. The news directors always asked about previous experience; I had none. I got nowhere. I couldn't figure. My wife never asked about previous marital experience. So what is the difference, I wondered. I don't hang up on cold callers; it would be like rejecting another me out there. Oh, yes, I endure the late night callers; maybe it is someone enduring a thankless job while they reach for something better. But there are limits. When I lived in Virginia, I got a call announcing that I won a "free' vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I lowered the phone, placed my hand over the receiver and said Kathy:"Free vacation to Myrtle Beach. I detected a snicker. They thought they had me. "Mr. Callan, all we need is your credit card number to process the forms to send you the free gift certificate to Myrtle Beach." Forget the credit card, I said. I am so excited I will send you cash to process to your fee. By the way, I asked, what is your address? No boiler room will give you address and location. That would be like tipping off the law. They hung up. MY wife wonders why I bother with this. I guess I like the chase.