Walter Matthau, as a crusty Supreme Court Justice in First Monday in October: “The telephone has no Constitutional right to be answered.”

In keeping with this ruling, I tend to avoid picking up the landline: Caller ID is now ten bucks a month, but the combination of it and this handy device, despite the expense, is definitely preferable to listening to someone trying to separate me from the rest of my dollars. And yes, that includes organizations I support otherwise:

A few seconds after Jared picked up the phone, he gestured wildly to me to come over and listen to the craziness and hilarity he was hearing. A woman with a heavy hickish Texan accent had introduced herself as a representative of the NRA and asked him if he was willing to listen to a short recording. Of course he said yes. We were both intrigued at that point. I sat quietly, listening and giggling to myself, all the while making dramatic LMAO gestures to Jared and letting him do all the talking.

The 2-3 minute recording was basically a scare-fest about how we, as fine upstanding gun-totin’ Amerucuns, should be terrified that some sort of shady conspiracy business is going on right now whereby 3rd world Mexican dictators (or dictators of some other countries — I don’t remember which ones) are trying to control United States gun policy. Lest that not be enough to make you shake in yer cowboy boots, that gun-hating she-devil Hillary Clinton is also personally going to come to your house and take away your guns.

Dictators, I reckon, are dictators, First World or Third; neither the location nor the accent matters a whole heck of a lot.

Still, it’s not like the NRA doesn’t have other, less annoying outreach methods. In fact, since I’m an actual member, I suspect I might be subjected to even more of them.


  1. Mark Alger »

    5 September 2009 · 8:00 am

    So why listen? As soon as the spiel is identified as being unwanted, say, “No thank you!” and hang up. After all, they’re being rude by intruding on your home life, why should they be entitled to reciprocal politesse?


  2. fillyjonk »

    5 September 2009 · 8:47 am

    Several nights this week I have been startled by the phone ringing just a few minutes shy of 9 pm (which is apparently is the deadline beyond which they cannot call you). Not having caller ID (I know, I need to get it, but I’d still have to get up and walk to the damn phone to see who it was) and having had a relative with a health scare last week, I pick it up.

    Both times it’s someone calling “on behalf of” some other group – meaning even if I gave money, the group in question might get 50% of it – and they were groups I’d never heard of. So I just gently set the phone down. No “no thank you,” no “Please don’t call again” (because that trick NEVER works).

    If they keep up, I may not set the receiver down quite so gently in the future.

  3. McGehee »

    5 September 2009 · 9:18 am

    We use Vonage for our putative landline, so I can ignore that phone when it rings, and then go to Vonage.com a few minutes later to see who called. And if the screener thing doesn’t let it ring, Vonage sends my wife an e-mail if they leave a message.

    I wouldn’t mind if Vonage had more competitors to drive their rates down…

  4. CGHill »

    5 September 2009 · 11:13 am

    In defense of the NRA, they do at least have their actual name on the Caller ID splash, unlike damn near everybody else who calls here trying to sell me something.

  5. Brian J. »

    5 September 2009 · 11:16 am

    NRA never calls me. Perhaps it’s because I am a member. So my annual dues, in addition to protecting me from becoming the citizen of a banana republic despotism, might just keep me from being pestered to join.

  6. CGHill »

    5 September 2009 · 11:22 am

    They definitely call me, and I’ve been a member for several years. Maybe they’re using an old phone-number database that has someone else associated with this number, which I didn’t obtain until moving to the palatial estate at Surlywood. (By then, numbers were portable: I could have kept the old one, but I figured too many people already knew it.)

  7. GraceKathryn »

    5 September 2009 · 6:17 pm

    The answer to “why listen?” in this particular case was for humor value. It was one of the funniest calls I’ve received in a long time. I’ll generally listen to anyone’s spiel if I think it’s going to make me laugh, and this one certainly did, in abundance.

    Whenever other other political organizations call me, whether I agree with them beforehand or not, I’ll usually listen to their spiel as well if my time allows… just for personal educational sake. I really think it’s a bad idea to stick one’s head in the sand to all opposing viewpoints to one’s own.

  8. McGehee »

    6 September 2009 · 10:54 am

    It has not been my experience that political cold-calls represent actual viewpoints so much as empty rhetoric designed to motivate the base.

    And in the case of that NRA call, the script isn’t always even written by someone who respects that base.

    Give the scriptwriter ten points of stupid for the script, and the NRA fifteen for paying the scriptwriter.

    And anybody who contributes to the NRA as a result of that call, twenty.

    –McGehee, NRA Life Member

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