A very nice surgical physician’s assistant grabbed the couple of cysts I had mentioned. Easy peasy. He mostly shaved my chest and numbed me up with a quick acting, long lasting ‘caine-based anesthetic. Made a couple of cuts. Popped the cyst sacs out intact. Dug around in the bigger one to pull out all the scar tissue and cauterized the grave. Pulled the tissue together so there wouldn’t be too much depression. And did two layers of stitches. There are about 15 stitches all together.

The whole procedure was absolutely painless. And the dermatology practice will bill for just one procedure including the initial consultation, the excision, and even the return visit to remove the 27 miles of stitches. As an aside, people who can tie stitches awe me. I’m good with fine handwork. I can tie up a dinghy or a destroyer. I have no trouble with a reef knot. I have never mastered the surgeon’s knot in 4-0 silk.

They will also send the cysts themselves in for lab analysis. That will cost extra.

The phone call with the results won’t cost extra but it may not be painless.

When Nurse Nancy said she would call me, I reiterated that she could leave a detailed message on my voicemail. See, I know that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires privacy so you have to fill out a form in quintuplicate and seal it with the blood of a goat to allow a doc to leave you a message.

I had already given them the blood of the goat.

“Well, maybe I can,” she said.


“Does your message identify you?”

Of course it does but apparently some people don’t.

“Lots of people leave the wrong number. Sometimes I don’t dial correctly. If I can’t tell for sure it is your voicemail, I can’t leave the message,” she said.

Geico called my cellphone and left a message for [name deleted] that their insurance wasn’t bound yet because they had not supplied enough information.

I don’t know if the poor schlub gave them the wrong number or if the Geico rep misdialed but not even my “Hi this is Dick Harper. Don’t leave a message and particularly don’t leave one for [name deleted]” outgoing message deterred them.


Then there is the famed, federal Telemarketers’ Sourcebook (the FCC calls it the “Do Not Call” registry but we know they’re “here to help”). The first phone call in history happened on a nippy March day in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell rang up Mr. Watson. “Come here. I want to see you,” he said. The second phone call in history happened later that chilly when a telemarketer called for “Mr. Fell” and offered to sell a genuine medicinal oil. The third phone call in history happened when Mr. Bell asked the Feds for help.

128 years later, a law made it illegal for telemarketers to call people on their list. Uh huh.

I get a lot of calls from “Consumer Svcs,” and “extended warranty” robocallers, and “Skycare,” and more. One enterprising phisherman even “spoofed” Swanton Lumber’s number. I do a fair amount of business with Swanton Lumber, so I answered that one. Snake oil.

The law doesn’t deter them. They just keep calling.

My outgoing voicemail message doesn’t deter them. They just keep calling.

My stadium air horn hasn’t deterred them. They just hire another, not-yet deaf, crook and just keep calling.

There are a number of hinky solutions such as anonymous call rejection, priority rings, and complete call blocking from your phone company to smart phone apps that do the same. My cordless phone has call block built in. All I do is scroll back through the Caller ID screen, select the offender, and save that number to the blocked list. Most amazing of all is that the phone turns off the call to my entire system so all the phones in the house stop ringing. I have no idea how that works. Black magic, I’m thinking.

People.Just.Don’t.Listen. but thanks to my phone’s extraordinary “Call Block” feature, I don’t have to listen either.


2 thoughts on “Voicemail

  1. I know the drill, Herr Blogmeister. My doctor’s office calls to remind me of appointments. It is a computer generated voice mail, and they do not require a verification of identity — but only with if I have an affidavit on file that allows them to do so.

    I recently gave up my answering service (AT&T Call Notes), and it was the worse mistake I ever made. I never realized how many steps that small monthly fee saved me.

    Now I get calls where a man’s urgent voice says, “Don’t hang up!” I hang up.

    AARP called last Saturday morning asking me to by car insurance through Hartford. A computer generated female voice from my pharmacy called Saturday afternoon saying that my Viagra prescription needed renewing. She sounded like Dr. Melfi on The Sopranos.

    Yesterday morning at 4:15 ayem my phone rang, and I answered it just in case one of my kids had an emergency. It was a Hispanic man who called me Lupe and sounded like he was standing outside of an all night gentleman’s club in the rain. I hung up and left the phone in two pieces.

    Today is the first day of the week, and I already got a taped call from a congressman in North Carolina asking me to contribute so he can defeat the liberals. Sounds like a worthy cause, so mebbe I’ll rehook with Call Notes.

    — George

  2. A couple months back wife said that if I hit “#” repeatedly right after picking up the reciever the signal would foul the caller’s ear and electronics at the caller end. I did it several times and junk calls have stopped ringing my land line. Word musta got around. Try it.

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