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Sunday, November 06, 2005

A lesson to start the week

Like most people, I have a couple of friends who have a history of leaving long, meandering messages on my answering machine. 

I've been able to gently train most of them to get to the point in 5 minutes or less... but there are still a few characters out there that I love enough to sit through a lot of 'ums' and 'ya knows' before the real point of their message finally emerges.

I mention this because of a funny email exchange with an old friend that was sparked by the penultimate line in Friday's post ("...it's time to... welcome a different kind of queen!"). 

You'll see the connection in a second:

Good Friend (in response to the line about 'another kind of queen'):  You're going to see Harvey Fierstein in Fiddler?

Me:  Funny stuff... I'll bet you don't even have to use the laughing gas with your patients [he's a dentist... one of the fancy kind that hate being called dentists].

GF:  I have a bad habit of not listening to messages ever... a close friend of mine is dating Harvey Fierstien and my birthday was last week.   [Name of close friend] called to wish me a happy birthday and I erased the message as soon I heard his voice, appreciating his good will but not having patience to listen to a long drawn out message.  This morning I get an email asking if I loved "Harvey singing happy birthday to me in Yiddish on my voice mail."... arrgh... I am such a putz!

There are actually a couple of lessons one can take from this exchange:

1.  Always compliment people's jokes... even the bad ones.  Not only does it cost you nothing, but there is often a good story lurking just beyond the punchline, waiting to be told.

2.  When someone takes the time to leave a message on your answering machine, listen to the whole thing.  I'm not saying that every message has the potential to contain a personalized celebrity rendition of Happy Birthday... but if you erase it you may miss out on the real reason for your friend's call.

I'm just saying...

[Unrelated note:  Good job clicking those ads, people... but one day isn't going to do it.  There are always new ads and new opportunities to click. If you clear your cache/cookies you can even click on ads you've previously visited.]
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Posted by David Bogner on November 6, 2005 | Permalink

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My answering machine is always full of messages from friends who feel the need to sing before leaving a message - I've gotten renditions of "In A Gadda Da Vida", "Monday Monday", "Amazing Grace" and a few entirely new compositions. Why, I do not know.....but they are amusing! Brush with celebrity notwithstanding, however, I can think of few things I would less like to have on my answering machine than a Harvey Fierstein rendition of "Happy Birthday" (a fine comic actor, but with a singing voice as grating as sandpaper)!!!

Posted by: mcaryeh | Nov 6, 2005 11:00:37 AM

Thanks a lot David. I haven't been able to get the sound of Harvey Fierstein's voice out of my head for the past 45 minutes. I keep hearing him in Independence Day saying "I have to call my mother".

Posted by: jg | Nov 6, 2005 12:32:40 PM

At my work, one of Israel's major radio personalities is doing a law internship. When we figured this out, we got him to rerecord our dept answering machine with his radiophonic voice. It's amazing how much more professional it sounds.

However, I'm guessing Harvey Fierstein wouldn't come across quite as professional, even though he did auction off that option ( http://www.actorsfund.org/tickets/AUCTION2003images1.html )...

Posted by: Dave | Nov 6, 2005 3:22:28 PM

Good lessons. Thanks.

Posted by: rabbi neil fleischmann | Nov 7, 2005 3:12:27 AM

Good lessons. Thanks.

Posted by: rabbi neil fleischmann | Nov 7, 2005 3:12:52 AM

Macaryeh... Lucky you! I don't even get singing messages on my birthday. E-mail has kinda put a dent in my answering machine message inventory.

jg... Don't thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

Dave... If I could have anyone record my answering machine message I would have Stevie Nicks do the English version and Ettie Ankari do the Hebrew. Either of those two women could read the phone book to me and I could die happy.

Rabbi Neil Fleischman... There's a moral in every box! :-)

Posted by: David | Nov 7, 2005 10:24:21 AM

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