Vol. 2, Issue 7, February 17, 2004
Please Do Not Call Me; I Shall Call You
The desk of the modern Business-Man is rather a Busier place now than in days Past. Where once I had my Inkwell, my favorite Pen (with extra Nibs, of course), blotter, and various piles of Papers, there is now a Bewildering assortment of things, most of which do not Belong to me and which I do Not want.
Aside from the carved mahogany Electro-Mail in-box tray, which fills Daily with epistles from our good Readers and Telegrams, my Staff keeps leaving me tools Extraneous to my editorial duties: a Stapling device, which binds papers with a small Staple in a most curious manner; a roll of Transparent Tape, whose use Eludes me; small bottles of white Paint, to be used for only God knows what; a small pad of square yellow Paper with some manner of Glue on the back. There is hardly room to spread my News-Paper, by jingo.
But one Intruder I have long since come to Accept is the Tele-Phone. Now, in my law-firm, we had but One, and it was kept in the Common room, where our industriously severe Secretary managed the device. Here, however, I am not practicing the noble art of Law, but the noble art of Publishing: I need Access, I am a Public Figure. It is thus Fitting that I have one of the Apparatuses on my desk, where the lovely and dutiful Elisabeth may patch through Calls from her Switch-board when occasion Requires. The device stands like a Sentry at attention: a trusty No. 150 Candlestick model with brass microphone - the best Money can buy.
Trouble, alas, often Arises when Elisabeth goes to her Luncheon. For then I must answer the machine Myself when its bells Beckon, if I can hear them over the sound of our Difference-Engines. A stern trial Indeed, to test the Doughtiest of Men.
"Ahoy ahoy!" I smile into the microphone, per my Usual custom. A gentleman was Inquiring as to whether I desired Harpoon insurance. Not this day, my good Man!
Again the dulcet tones ring Forth. "Ahoy ahoy!" I state once more. Subscribe to a Local News-Paper? Thank you, my Club has all the Best papers.
"Ahoy ahoy!" A new Mortgage for my Bungalow? Indeed, madam, my Finances are Not a matter of Public Record. Do kindly refrain from Repeating your call.
Yet again! "Ahoy ahoy!" My voice is Raised, I am afraid. Contribute to the Local Fish-Mongers Retirement Fund? Sir, it may seem a Ruse, but it is the Absolute Truth that I have already Given to this fine group. What's that? You know? Then Why are you Calling me?...
It rings Again! My efforts to hide the thing beneath a pile of Mail are futile. "Ahoy ahoy!!" What's that? Have I tried what medication? And it is for what Condition?... Excuse me, Sir! I never!
I am not normally a Luddite, but I am beginning to think that the Modern World is not all it is Cracked up to be. Even the Electro-Mail is far better than this Noisome Jangling device. Please, if you have Something to Say to me, stop by for a Drink instead.