Phone pranking technology wasted on me

A couple of weeks ago we were targeted at work with prank calls. They were pretty well done and someone got some good laughs at our expense. It was harmless. And funny.

When I was a kid my friend Bruce and my brother’s friend Jeff were especially skilled at prank calls. Jeff was not only good at keeping a straight face, he had some of his victims convinced the call was legit. There was an old show called “Dialing for Dollars” in which the host would call someone randomly and if they answered the phone, and I think a couple of quiz questions, they would win prizes. Jeff did that to a family in the same Little League and the woman told mutual friends about her jackpot.

I, on the other hand, was terrible. When I tried doing something as simple as asking the Whitehead family if it was the Blackhead family I couldn’t get a word out with splitting my guts and doubling over. It was very painful for me. I had great ideas, too, but I couldn’t handle the delivery.

Now a kid like I was can use to handle the joke telling. It’s a little tricky, because you only get two free calls a day, but if you call someone you know will answer then it works out just fine.

While we were targeted I took one of the calls. A woman asked if I was bringing her toilet paper. I knew we were getting played so I hung up. I didn’t realize that the call was prerecorded. Genius.

So I’ve been trying to prank my brothers, using the phone number we grew up with as the spoof caller ID number. To date neither brother has picked up the phone on time. This morning I tried again and thought I had finally found success. Someone picked up.

When the call ended I heard the recording and it was clear I hadn’t dialed my brother. I just pranked some confused woman in Utah wondering why someone was calling her telling her that her daughter had kicked his dog. He even told her to “Shut up.”

My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and without my glasses it’s hard to read the numbers on my phone.

So the awesome technology of prerecorded phone pranks, something that can help me finally pull off a successful phone prank and heal a four-decade-old wound is wasted because I need glass to read my phone.

No job beneath me. I know that now.

I love this speech, especially the first and third points. I can’t say much about Chris Asthon Kutcher’s thoughts on “sexy.” This video has gone everywhere by now, so its presence here doesn’t make this site special. I can only add my own history and thoughts about that.

Kutcher said he was no better than any job. I wonder if he thought that when he had those jobs. As for me, I’ve been an ingrate plenty.

Kutcher said he never quit a job before getting his next one. That’s admirable, and not true for me. When I was single it often seemed like the decent thing to do. I also got fired a couple of times. I was irresponsible. My learning curve was different than his. I grew up later.

Kutcher said opportunity often looks like hard work. I agree. It’s why I do this blog, and especially why I do the podcast. I can’t testify that I will hit it big with the effort. I just know that without it I won’t. The fact that I love doing it makes it worth doing even if it doesn’t pay off big.

What I can say about all my jobs, whether I loved them or hated them and regardless of how well I did at them, is that they helped make me who I am. And so even if I wasn’t grateful for them then, I am grateful for them now.

Paperboy — 6 months
Lawn mower — Over several years
Picking up construction debris — a few days
Saturday church custodian — a couple of months
Grocery bagger and night crew — 2 years and five months
Construction — 8 months
Appointment setter — 3 months
Garbage bag seller — 3 months
Bowling alley — 6 months
College newspaper editor — 1 year, 4 months
Intern — 8 months
Restaurant — 1 month
Computer magazine editor — 1 year, 9 months
Sales — 3 months
Movie set custodian — 2 weeks
Seminar roadie — 1 year 10 months
Corporate editor — 3 years
Trade show rep — 2 days
Freelance ad writer — 8 months
Dishwasher — 1 day
Training coordinator and trainer — 16 months
Temp secretarial jobs — several days one or two at a time over several years
Business coach — 8 months
Mortgage loan officer — 4 months
Movie extra — 2 days
Reporter — 14 years
Corn seller —

My next gig over the year was mowing lawns. Then I got hired to pick up construction debris on work sites. Then there was the Saturday gig as a church janitor, followed by the more than two years I worked at a grocery store as a bagger and then on the night crew, the longest time I spent at any one company until my current position.

At 19 I went on a church mission, returning home to a recession and finding out that jobs at the grocery store were unavailable. So I got a construction job helping out the heating and air conditioning guys. During college I set appointments for guys selling a mortgage scheme, then sold garbage bags for the Jaycees. For several months I worked at the BYU bowling alley before I started getting paid to do journalism for the college newspaper. The first internship in D.C. paid nothing and then I returned home to do sheet metal in home construction. I returned to college journalism and did a reporting internship that paid a stipend. I worked at a bookstore during that.

After graduation the job market was tough. I worked in a restaurant for a while before getting hired as an editor for a computer publication. I got canned there before hitting the two-year mark. I tried sales and was terrible and then worked for a company traveling every weekend for seminars where we sold books and tapes on how to make money. I edited and wrote for a couple of failed startups, did some freelance ad writing, worked as an editor for a book publisher, coordinated training groups and led trainings, did marketing for a mortgage company, coached people who bought books and tapes, sold mortgages and returned to training work. In between all those jobs there were day jobs doing things like answering phones for a school district on the first day of school when so many parents were confused about the changed bus routes. I washed dishes. I pushed a broom on a movie set and later was an extra in a movie.