The next day, my daughter had something for outstanding engineering graduates, and then we had to drive up to Phoenix, where my son, who had won the conference championship in the discus, was participating in the state meet.
I mention this stuff not so much because I like to brag--which I obviously do--but rather to piss off this one guy who writes me the angriest letters full of vulgar references to my wife and kids. My kids' accomplishments apparently burn this guy like holy water splashed on The Devil.
Oh yeah, Letter Writer, my daughter was awarded a full scholarship to attend graduate school this fall at Cornell, which is the top engineering school in the Ivy League. You're going to have to invent a whole new list of cuss words to deal with that.
Anyway, during the busy week, I almost forgot to write my column. (I can hear the sighs of disgust at my use of the word "almost.") Sure enough, when I sat down to do it, the phone rang. It was somebody from one of the phone companies.
The woman first asked for my wife, then asked if I was able to make decisions concerning phone service. I told her that I've been successfully married for 25 years, so I don't make decisions about anything. She said she'd call back later and then said that if I had any questions, I should call (800) 235-something.
So I called that number, and when a woman answered, I asked her what two countries start with the letter "A" but don't end with the letter "A." She explained that I had called the phone company, and I pointed out that I had been told to call the number if I had any questions. I said goodbye without giving her the answers (which appear at the end of the column).
Then, on a roll and remembering something I had seen on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago, I called the 800 number for customer service for my computer, and the guy who answered identified himself as "Brandon."
I said, "Brandon, is your real name Rajneeshpoor?"
Taken aback, he uttered, "No, why do you ask?"
"Well, the other day when I called this number, I spoke to somebody named Rajneeshpoor or something like that. Is he there?"
"Sir, I don't believe that there is anybody here with that name," he said, with the slightest hint of quasi-British exasperation sneaking in.
"Hey, Brandon, are you going to vote for President Bush in November? I mean, in a roundabout way, he helped get you your job. Speaking of politics, what do you think of the fact that the new prime minister of India was born in Italy? That kinda sucks, doesn't it?"
He paused for quite a while, then slowly said, "Sir, how can I help you concerning your computer?"
"Well," I said, "I have a Dell, and on the monitor case, the 'E' is slanted to the left. Is it defective or something?"
"No, sir," he said, "that is just part of the logo design."
"Then why is Pakistan so much better than India in cricket?" I blurted. "Y'all have like four times as many people as they do."
I was going to tell him that I was just joking in a boorish, American manner and that I hoped I hadn't offended him in any way, but then somebody rang the doorbell several times, so I told Brandon I'd call him back. I mean, how many Brandons can there be in that country?
When I got to the door, there were several conservatively dressed individuals handing out religious literature. I usually scare those people away by saying that I can't talk right now because I'm sacrificing a goat out back. But now I have fresh ammo.
I asked them, "Do y'all listen to Prince now? The Musicology CD is good."
They gave me a look, so I explained: "Prince is with you guys now. You should listen to his music. But don't listen to his early stuff; you'll go insane. Plus, I saw him and his wife in a picture. If she's a mail-order bride, it must be from the catalog you keep under the counter for the special clients. I mean, she looks exotic and all, but she's obviously way older than 14."
They pretty much ran away, and I got back to my column.
I need a vacation ... like maybe in Afghanistan or Azerbaijan.