Sunday, December 04, 2011


As part of my job I am required to make daily confirmation calls for appointments.  As such I get to hear an absurd number of voice mail messages.  Most of them are pretty standard but some of them stand out.  Allow me to share.

Hi, this is Mary.  I'm REALLY sorry I'm not available.  I promise to call you back as soon as I can if you leave me a message.
On the surface it seems pretty standard but the apologetic tone and earnest promise make me wonder why she seems to have such a guilt complex about phone messages.

Hi, this is Jack and Jill, we're probably home but just screening our calls in case we don't want to talk to you.  You can leave a message but if we don't return it you probably shouldn't bother calling back...ever.
Alrighty then, so much for social conventions.  On a positive note, it's one less person I have to call, right?

Hi, this is Jane.  You may not like leaving messages but I like hang-ups even less so just leave me a message when it beeps.
What if I have a hang-up about leaving messages?

I like smiling.  It's my favorite.  What's your favorite?
Literally, that's all the voice mail says.  No identification.  No request for a message.  It tempts me to respond with, "My favorite is when grown people sound like they have brains in their skulls instead of like they were abducted by some weird airport dwelling cult."

Revelation 3:20 says Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with with me.  Please don't miss this opportunity to accept Christ's invitation...etc, etc...(insert mini sermon you think may use up whatever space is on voicemail) . Please leave a message and consider reading God's message in the Bible.
Father, forgive me for the violent thoughts I had waiting to be able to leave my message.

This is Susan, I can't come to the phone right now but if you leave a message with your name and number I'll return your call as soon as possible.  I bid you a good day and good thoughts.
Good thoughts?  Good idea.  I needed the reminder.

At one point during my call list I wondered aloud how many minutes of my life have been spent waiting for the beep.  Ironically, we had a very math oriented patient in the waiting room who overheard me and decided this was a question he had to answer.  According to him I spend between 45-60 minutes a week waiting for the beep.  I think I preferred when it was a rhetorical question.


silly rabbit said...

Ha. Well they are creative. My middle son has one that is only the sound of him yelling "Aaaaaaaagggghhhh!"

Craig said...

What I find borderline amusing is the earnestness that people invest in their voicemail greetings, like this is some highly significant form of self-definition (which probably accounts for the 'voicemail preacher'). . .

I'd be tempted to leave a message with the aggressively self-proclaimed screeners, urging them to contact dear-departed Uncle Cuthbert's estate ASAP about the $10-million. . .

What's wrong with, "Hi, you've reached the OurNames. Please leave a message"?

Beach Bum said...

You can leave a message but if we don't return it you probably shouldn't bother calling back...ever.

Did something like once, it was a very peaceful two weeks, until one of my in-laws complained.

Bijoux said...

At least it keeps you entertained??

Suldog said...

We used to leave creative messages (we actually once had an ongoing saga called "16-Second Soap Opera", which we changed every day or two. That was how long our old machine gave us to record a message. We actually wanted people to call often for the continuing storyline, and since the phone was in a bedroom, and we were usually in the living room, and we didn't answer the phone, anyway, we figured this gave them value for their time.) but once MY WIFE started job hunting and receiving calls from prospective employers, we decided it was time to leave a short boring message instead of a short entertaining one, and it's been that way ever since.

Cricket said...

Heh, heh. Sorry for being such a blog lame-o, btw. I know it's been like forever.

I can relate to the math guy. I once kept count and did the average: my children say "Dad?" approximately once every 90 seconds when they're both home. Really.

As far as phone messages go, two stories: in college, my exchange was, quite seriously, 666. So my message was, in a demonic voice:

The number of the beast is 666... 9487. Please leave a message after the tone.

Second, my favorite ever was on a friend's machine in hs, left by his very cool but slightly odd artist dad:

(extremely bored voice)

Hello, hello... nobody can and/or wants to come to the phone right now. But if you're as delighted as Jay, Margo, Jean and Al to escape some tacky social obligation simply by leaving a recorded regret, please feel free to do similarly afterle beep.

No, that wasn't a typo. The last two words were delivered in his best French accent.

Craver Vii said...

My voice mail messages are straightforward and boring, but for kicks, I often answer the home phone in Spanish.

secret agent woman said...

Mine has "You have reached 555-5555, leave a message and I'll call you back." That's it.

I HATE being forced to listen to sermons or someone's music (although song choice is sometimes diagnostic).

Hilary said...

Too funny.. I think your "favorite" is my favourite. I've heard a lot of humorous recorded messages over the years... not a single one which I can remember at the moment.

Chickadee said...

LOLOL. There are some real creative people out there...I hate the people who use music in their messages because the music is usually too loud and warbled.