I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone lately, speaking to people from various walks of life who work for various companies or places I’d like to write stories about. You can’t just walk into a place that looks interesting and write a story about it anymore — you have to get permission and sign forms and basically promise to only write about unicorns and rainbows. It’s silly, it’s maddening, but that’s how it is, so I play along and spend hours on the phone, or days waiting for emails, until I either get the forms I need or get sick of participating in the entire circus and write a snarky little poke without the benefit of actually naming the company I’m snarking about. Look, at least I’m trying.
I’ve spoken to some really nice people, people I can’t believe actually spend their working life forcing other people to sign forms and wait around for permission to exercise their First Amendment rights. I doubt very seriously if any legal action could be taken against me, personally, for not playing the corporate games. Mostly because I own a set of toenail clippers and a pair of cowboy boots, and that’s about it. If anyone sued me, they’d be practicing. No, they wouldn’t sue me, they’d go after the signers of my paychecks. I have it on good authority that Randall-Reilly owns two sets of toenail clippers and six pairs of boots, so they’re much more likely to take the hit for my indiscretion.
So as I play along in this weird game of weirdness, I have a lot of opportunity to joke around with people from corporate offices. And by joke around I mean, I say things I think are funny and they hang up on me. (Note to self: it’s still too soon to make Paula Deen jokes. Stop it.) Also, very young people have absolutely no reference for about half of my jokes. Even Elvis references are sometimes ignored, or not recognized at all. I’m old and my comedy is old, and if you’re not at least 35 years old, you probably won’t get half of what I joke about.
I was transferred to an assistant, so they could get my mailing information to send me a bunch of legal doo-doo to wade through. A nine-year-old picked up the phone (I swear, she sounded nine) and quite perkily began the process of taking my vital information. She was extremely engaging and helpful, I can’t say enough about her general disposition.
“Mrs. Parker, that just about covers all the info I need. Would you like me to include some coffee coupons in your press package?”
“Is the Pope Catholic?”
“Uh, I’m not sure. I thought the new Pope was German.”
“Indeed he is. Yes, please include the coupons.”
I refrained from requesting an icepick so I could shove it deep into my nasal cavity and forget she ever said what she just said. Either I need new material, or the world needs to get a little more involved in something other than forms and legal bird crap. I vote for the latter.