Wednesday, December 17, 2014 • 06:23
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Calling my father's house


February 26, 2014
It is said that Americans can tolerate almost anything except standing in line. It is evident, too, that we have made progress in eliminating queues because of the ability to acquire airline boarding passes on-line, make appointments at the DMV, use the ATM to avoid bank tellers, and so on.

This is all well and good but I want more. I'm tired of lengthy waits on the telephone and hearing messages and punching buttons. It's exasperating.

Call almost any government agency, most medical offices, your cell phone provider, all hospitals (but not 911), the gas and electric company, Social Security and Medicare, your cable TV company, ad infinitum, and often you receive a litany of messages which are now familiar and annoying.

First you are told your call will be processed in the order received. Golly, I didn't know that. I was certain I could jump the line today. Then "sorry, we have an unusually high volume of calls." Yeah, this day and every day, so how about admitting you have a shortage of people to service the calls. After that you have to press 1 for Swahili, 2 for Tagalog, followed by this caveat: "Your call is very important to us." Well, maybe.

Sometime during the hold time you will be ask if you want to take a satisfaction service. I never hit that button because I absolutely know what my satisfaction level will be after reaching a real person and not a recorded message in anywhere from five to 10 minutes – if lucky.

Lately the ploy is to grant you the option of leaving your call back number. Few say the call will be returned after lunch, or just after the next of 15-minute personal time break. These used to be known as cigarette breaks. You can't say that anymore.

They invariably close with this: "We are sorry for the inconvenience." Giggle, giggle. But even if you get connected in 30 seconds, although rare, the person is required to say he or she is sorry for the wait. It's in the training manual, I think.

At any rate, this got me to thinking what if God decided to install a Voice Mail system for all incoming calls. Imagine hearing this:

Thank you for calling My Father's House.

Please select one of the following options: Press 1 for requests, press 2 for Thanksgiving, press 3 for complaints, press 4 for all other inquiries.

After a short lapse for quiet time comes this: I'm sorry, all of our angels are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer request is important to us and this call will be answered in the order received, so please stay on the line.

Of course, you need to be specific on who you are seeking, so if you would like to speak to God, press 1; for Jesus, press 2; for the Holy Spirit, press 3. If you would like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are holding, please press 4.

There's more, of course, because God is always at your service.

To find out if a loved one has been assigned to Heaven, Press 5, enter his or her Social Security number, then press the pound key. If you have a negative response, try area code 666. For reservations at ''My Father's House'' please enter J-O-H-N followed by 3-1-6.

For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth and where Noah's Ark is, please wait until you arrive here.

Then the finale: Our computers show that you have already made a prayer request today. Please hang up and try again tomorrow. The office is closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday. Please keep praying and call again Monday after 9 a.m. If you need emergency assistance when this office is closed, contact your local pastor.

At least you are safe from having to produce a User Name and a Password, a la the internet. God already knows your name and he doesn't need a password because he knows your heart. He is interested in a meaningful relationship, however.

In retrospect, maybe a phone call isn't really necessary. Praying will do just fine.

SO LET'S MOVE ON to another subject, like sizing up famous large newspapers. In my files of useless trivia (not to me, however) I found this:

• The Wall Street Journal is read by people who run the country.

• The Washington Post is read by people who think they should run the country.

• The L.A. Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave L.A. to do it.

• The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

• The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and think they did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

• The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who is running the country and don't really care as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

• The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they are Democrats.

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