You know those scammer calls about your Windows computer having a problem, with the kind technician with a thick accent who has sought you out to fix the issue if you will only give him your personal information? Yeah. I knew you would be familiar with these selfless folks who only want to help you from their Windows computer headquarters, all 10,000 of them sharing one office cubicle.
A couple of months ago, we were getting these calls a couple times a week, from several different numbers. I didn't always pick up, unless the area code looked similar to one that Genius might have been near, in which case I answered, just in case it was an emergency. The last call I remember answering, I told the guy, "This is a SCAM! You do not know anything about my computer, SO STOP CALLING ME!" A little wordy, I admit, but I think I got my point across. No more calls.
Until Saturday morning at 9:20. I was sitting in the La-Z-Boy, with the phone right beside me. I never know when I've been selected to win a free vacation. It's more exciting than those times I've been targeted by the IRS filing a lawsuit, and sending local law enforcement to arrest me. So I answered.
It was about my Windows computer. Again, I said, "This is a SCAM! Do not call me again!" Then I hung up. Sometimes, I just lay the phone down to take up their time. But since I had already answered, (dagnabbit!), giving them the satisfaction of knowing this was a working number, I just let them know I was onto them, and cut the connection.
I told The Pony, "I think next time I'll scream. To give them a surprise. I used to have a friend who kept a coach's whistle by the phone, and blew it when she got a crank call." Not the metal kind of coach's whistle with a wooden ball inside. Like for calling in elementary kids from recess. The plastic kind of coach's whistle with nothing inside. The shrill kind. Like a referee whistle. The Pony had no comment on my plans. As one who does not care about people, it makes no nevermind to him if a scammer a continent away has his eardrum perforated by Val's shenanigans.
I made a trip to town. Supervised The Pony in baking an Oreo cake for a how-to speech. Sat down to rest my flu-shot knee in the La-Z-Boy again. And got another call at 1:00. From a different number. The Pony was lounging on the long couch waiting for his cake to cool.
"I don't know this number. It's different from this morning. But I'm answering." The Pony made no move to acknowledge my comment, but only kept poking at his laptop.
"This is Mike calling about a problem with your Windows computer--"
"EEEEEEEEEEEEE!" I screamed as loud as I could into the phone. "THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY COMPUTER!" I'm not sure Mike heard the second part. There goes my Oscar for such a moving performance.
The click on the receiver was quite satisfying. I glanced at The Pony, expecting a thumbs-up, perhaps, or a snicker. But he was as wild-eyed as a spooked racehorse on the way to the gate.
"What's wrong? Didn't you like how I handled that call?"
"No. No I didn't. Just...no."
"I even told you this morning that I was going to scream the next time. And you knew I didn't recognize the number."
"Yeah. But I can't believe you screamed into the phone. Don't ever do that again."
"I will. If I'm tricked into answering, and it's the Windows computer guy."
One of these days, they're going to take me off their list.