Sunday, November 29, 2009

excuse me...

My sophomore year at University some phone company executive had the bright idea to give every student on campus a free, fifty dollar phone card. The catch was that you had to use it within the first week of school, and once you activated it you had only twenty-four hours to use the whole thing. I suppose they were thinking that it got their name in front of all of us and most people wouldn't use more than a few minutes, anyways.

Their marketing department didn't account for Six-Lower, a dorm full of ingenious troublemakers. We figured that we could use the interwebs to find the country codes for places all over the world. We also figured that a whole lot of students weren't bothering to collect the cards from their mailboxes, much less use them - so with a deft little twiggle of a kitchen knife we might or might not have relieved a few mailboxes of this extra bit of recycling.

Thus began a three-day marathon of prank calls to the friendly peoples of Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand and Botswana.

Now, I can assure you that while calling a random local number and asking whomever picks up if their refrigerator is running is, in fact, lame - there is a whole lot of comedic gold to be mined by asking the same question of the good citizens of Sri Lanka. The accents, for one, add a lot of flavor to the joke, and it helps that it isn't really part of the cultural heritage over there to be told that you'd better hurry up and catch it.

It wasn't all just inane jokes, though. The Six-Lower prank call protocol dictated that a healthy percentage of your calls had to be purely social, so we spent many a good few minutes asking random strangers all sorts of intriguing questions about their lives and opinions - such as where to get a good cinnamon bun in Edinburgh, or whether it seemed wise for the Spice Girls to be wearing high heels and leather pants while dancing around on the uneven desert floor.

I don't know why I forgot that story completely until last week. I mean, it's a pretty funny story - the sort I tend to tell over and over until someone informs me that, yes, this is the tenth time I've repeated it to them. Perhaps it's because it has me violating federal regulations and stealing from mailboxes - perhaps I just don't want to think of myself in that way: breaking rules and bothering strangers.

If that's the case, then it could be that all the truth-telling I have been trying to do of late will be opening up vast new anecdotal comedic vistas.

Or maybe jail cells.

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