The Public Eye

printed 11/09/2018

After spending months of sleepless nights trying to separate the factual wheat from the chaff from all the politicking phone calls I began receiving sometime in July, three things have occurred to me.

First, never did I think in all my years that I actually would welcome getting just my usual weekly allotment of 50 dozen annoying calls.

It’s true. There’s something soothing lately about being advised that “Donations Are Urgently Needed for the Dog Mange Rehab Association,” as well as the more routine, but just as fascinating, “Amazing Credit Card Opportunity Just For You.”

As opposed to the constant political messages, these things have kind of a welcome-back-to-normal, reassuring quality.

“Hello? You have a Can’t Miss Investment Opportunity Just for Me? Oh, please, tell me more about it!”

“Hello? Have I ever considered the Super No-Clog High-Tech Rain Gutter System for my home? No, I haven’t. Let me get a note pad so I can write down all the details.”

“Hello? You say the Society for the Prevention of Pinworm Infestations is itching for my help? Tell me how I can do my part without delay.”

It’s true, sadly, that these kinds of telephone solicitations are superior to those endured during the campaign cycle.

That’s because I know they’re outright lying to me. I don’t have to do an internet search of the First Federal Bank of Batavia to know its cash-back credit card program absolutely will not allow me to “Spend Frivolously and Make Money Too!”

Not so obvious, to me anyway, were some of the political exhortations that came through the receiver.

Skeptic that I am, when the caller says, “Candidate X is not an actual human, but is a spore-being created by radicals out of black mold,” I feel obligated to research it.

I mean, who knows? These people are working to guard our democracy, so they could have something there.

Similarly, any caller who tells me that so-and-so has secretly pledged to support oil and gas exploration in my family room bears checking out.

For all I know, our vigorously pursued push for energy independence may have reached that stage and I might have to seek national monument status for my recliner.

These are serious times, after all, and people are prone to think and do just about anything, which brings me to my next point.

I lied — make that misspoke — about lying awake at night trying to separate fact from fiction. I don’t do that.

The truth is I lie awake at night because, well, I lie awake at night, and I need something to do during that period. So it’s either contemplating the possible existence of spore-beings or watching “Shoe Shopping With Jane” on QVC.

With regard to all the phone calls, what really gets me is how I was and continue to be inundated by these calls when I am on the “do not call” list, which was, apparently, created by spore-people, for all the good it does.

And the third thing? I invite everyone to join with me in observing a moment of telephone silence.

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