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The Return of Tom Turtle

by Miles Mathis

Heigh-ho, snappers! I'm back. With a question. Can someone tell me why we still have strangers calling us at home? Didn’t we all sign up for that national no-call list? Which is silly anyway. It would have been faster to put us all on the list to start with, then require those who really liked telemarketers calling them to ask to be taken off the list. The seven people nationwide who did so could then be darted, netted, and put in a safe place away from normal people.

In Europe telemarketing is strictly illegal, and that includes charities and the police department. A friend from Belgium visited me recently, and he had the misfortune to answer my phone when I was “indisposed.” It was the local police department begging for money. He found this to be rather odd. He yelled at me through the bathroom door, “Aren’t your police on salary here in the US? In Belgium we would be shocked to pick up the phone to find the police asking for donations. If the police can fundraise, why not accountants or gas station attendants or shoe salesmen? ‘Hi, this is your accountant, Melvin Fishburn, and we are having an accountants’ ball next Saturday and wondered if you would like to donate. All proceeds go to charity: the toupee and starch foundation.’” My friend also wondered if this police “donation” was secretly mandatory, like in the Soviet Union. If you don’t donate, will you find a hole drilled in your gas tank, your electricity cut off, and your dog gone missing?

Another interesting fact from Europe: junk mail is also illegal. If you don’t want junk mail, you don’t get it, period. The post doesn’t deliver it to you. So these things aren’t necessary evils. They are unnecessary evils, and if you spoke up, you could stop them. That public service announcement had nothing to do with this article, but it was my good deed of the day.

Actually, I have a second good deed to bother you with, and it is coming now. I have a found a method for dealing with unwanted phonecalls, and it may help you. Here is how it works:

Hi, I am calling for the National Veterans’ Themepark Getaway Fund, and I was wondering if….

I don’t have a dog.

Beg Pardon?

I don’t have dog. I had a box turtle last winter, but he broke his leg and the doctor said to shoot him.

Yes, well, I am sorry to hear that, sir, but we have already collected eleven thousand….

He was always getting into trouble, that little guy. Yertle liked to pick up as much speed as possible and hurtle himself off the back porch into the dirt. It was only a drop of three inches, but the vet said it was enough to break a leg. He was lucky he didn’t break his neck, is what I said.

Sir, I think you misunderstand. This is for veterans, not veterinarians. You see these brave ex-soldiers….

Yertle once fell of the coffee table, too, but he didn’t break anything that time. I would have him up there because he could see the TV better from there. He liked to watch Steve Irwin, before that whole manta ray thing. But every time an alligator would swim by, Yertle would get excited and take off like a shot. Good thing I have shag carpet.

Yes, indeed, good thing. But, sir, these veterans, many of whom have been in the hospital since 1969, just need a weekend trip to Disneyland or Six Flags….

I miss Yertle. Especially the baths…


Or here is a good way to deal with the police.

Hi, this is officer CrispyCreme of precinct 142, and we are having our annual fund drive these weekend at the WaffleHouse benefitting….

Yes, officer, thanks for returning my call.

What call? No, you see, I am calling about our fund drive this weekend….

Thanks for getting back to me so fast, sargeant. We really have to be vigilant against these round commie waffles, as I said in my message. Leggo my Eggo? Hah! More like leggo my borscht. If we allow this sort of foreign influence, admiral, first it is round waffles and the next thing you know it is square pizzas and cylindrical eggs and spherical cardboard boxes.

Sir, we never got any call like that, and if we had I am sure we would have deleted it right….

I mean where do you start with a round waffle? You have syrup pouring off the side in a very untidy manner, and then you start to cut it with a fork, and where do you go? You have this unnatural piece of fried dough, straight on one side and curved on the other. Who can deal with something like that, corporal? I don’t want to have to use a protractor just to eat breakfast, and I don’t think most Americans do either. Many Americans don’t have protractors, especially in the red States--which I don’t like either, calling states red….


You can even use this method to deal with robot calls. Just write down the number and give them a quick call.

Hello, American Dieting and Dental, may I help you?

Yes, I would like to purchase your full plan, including all insurance and the complete set of gastric balloons.

OK, sir. First, can I ask where you heard about our products?

From Robbie the Robot. He told me all about it. He said he recommends it to all his friends. He said the wife hedged a bit, but now his whole family is fully covered, for only pennies a day.

Robbie? We don’t have anyone by that name working here, sir.

Yah, it was the robot. He calls me several times a week, just to chat. I figure he has the inside scoop on the plan and all.

OK, that’s fine, sir. [He yells something inaudible across the room, and is answered by someone else, inaudibly]. Maybe we should just start with your credit card number. Would you like to read me that, sir?

No prob. It’s Visa, 4321 0987 6543 2109

And the expiration date?

Lessee, that would be 30, 4, 15.

It expires in 2015?

Yep, sure does.

And that’s March 30, as the date?

March 30, bingo.

Sir, I’m not getting anything with that number. Can you read it again?

No problemo. It’s Diner’s Club, 3210 9876 5432 1098, exp. 32, 13, 70.

Uh, Sir, there’s no date 32, 13, 70.

Sorry, I meant “star date.” Star date 33, 13, 90.


Dial, dial, dial. Hi, I would like to I would like to purchase your full plan, including all insurance, the complete set of gastric balloons, and the George Foreman rotisserie steak knives.

Look, buddy, I know it is you. Your telephone number is right here on my screen.

Oh, that’s good. You must have my address, too. So send all that stuff overnight express Fedex. Only the best for me and Robbie. And tip yourself 25% while your at it. What was your name?

I’m not telling you my name.

That’s OK, I have it right here on my screen. I won’t say it outloud because I don’t want our other special agents to hear it. The amount of coffee they drink, sometimes they get the targets mixed up.

What? Look, quit calling me or I am going to contact the police.

The police? Hey, if you talk to sargeant CrispyCreme, tell him I filed a freedom-of-information request on those waffles. I am standing vigilant against any and all forms of communism, which is why I need those gastric balloons…


Dial, dial, dial. Hi, I would like to purchase your full plan, including all insurance, the complete set of gastric balloons, the George Foreman rotisserie steak knives, and the round-trip dinner for eight to the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower, courtesy American Airlines.

Look, sir, I will make you a deal: you quit calling and I take your number out of the computer.


In a pile
Upon a log
Over the water
Third from the bottom
Secreting my own hard shell

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