Thursday, October 08, 2009


Go lie down; and it shall be, if thou be called, that thou shalt say: Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.

1 Samuel 3 (9)



I was trying to finish the biography of Rutherford B. Hayes last night (I know, but you will just have to wait for my review) when I had a series of three phone calls, each hard on the other. I believe that the series of calls( total) lasted about two minutes, but since I had to get up to go answer the phone three times, and since I did not want to answer the phone even once, each ring was followed by a loudly screamed obscenity.


I never considered not answering the calls, although I assumed that each one was a solicitation. I just can’t screen a phone call. I prefer to rudely hang up after making an indignant noise. At any rate they were not all solicitations. One was a call for my wife from a good friend of hers. One was call from AT&T where they seem to have switched over from boiler room grumbling voices to happy, cheery voices, possibly because (as I was told) the call was being recorded. “Great” I replied, “Record this” , click.


The last call was the strange one. A recorded voice asked me to accept a collect call from a prisoner (whose name was then inserted from a previous recording of his voice) who was located at a state prison. This one I hung up on immediately. That was the one I sort of regret this morning.


I knew what the call was, and it was a mistake. This prisoner was probably  trying to call “Wayne Porter” a local criminal lawyer. I will say that my experience with criminal lawyers is that he would have probably  gotten the same message I gave to him, he would have been hung up on. These criminal lawyers would spend all day, most nights , and lots of money if they continually accepted collect calls from their clients who are languishing in the various dungeons of the State of Texas. The guys in the cells have nothing better to do than come up with ideas as to how they can be sprung. Generally speaking they are stupid ideas.


I thought later though; maybe I should have listened. There is so much noise in our lives now that I tune out a great deal of it, believing that the good things I miss out on are over balanced by the crap I don’t have to hear. But maybe I should listen more. What would it have hurt me to listen to a prisoner for a couple of minutes and add a lousy dollar to my phone bill ? It would have meant that I would not get back to Rutherford for a few minutes, no great loss there. Maybe I could have helped the guy. It’s one in a million that I could have, but it would not have cost me much to see. Now I will never know.


As the boy Samuel was taught, sometimes when you listen, you hear the voice of God. Mostly you hear the voice of AT&T, but sometimes it’s God. Only by listening do you know for sure which one it is who is speaking. I hate to think that I hung up on God last night, but maybe I did.




Blogger Paul D. Frazier said...

This was very good.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Jannie Funster said...

Proving once again, you are not only witty but extremely enlightened as to your own self-improvement and soul maintenance.

I wonder if some of those prisoner calls may in fact be scams for something else?

I'm not so enlightened, I fear.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Marfin said...

Ms. Funster may well be on target. I received a call from a prisoner a year or so ago, only to discover such calls were fairly widespread in this area at the time. I have forgotten exactly what foul objective the incarcerated callers were allegedly attempting to achieve. I am fortunate my grandmother told me long ago, "Take from me, kid: Don't never take a call from a prisoner you don't know. They're nothing but trouble." Thanks grandma.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Marfin said...

Ms. Funster may be on target. I received a "prisoner" call a year or so ago and learned later such calls were part of a scam, the objective of which I've forgotten. I was not a victim, but guess I was one of their random targets. Another cautionary mantra for the times: "Don't take calls from prisoners you don't know."

1:09 PM  

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