Years ago I was at work and I got a call.
“I hate you.” “Because you are Mormon.” Ok, I thought. You really needed to call me and tell me that?
“I can’t pay you.” Ok. And you felt the need to call me at work and tell me this why?
“But I need you to help me and I didn’t want any false impressions to start off with.“
Was thinking about that this morning.
What was the strangest phone call you’ve received?
Not to be a Debbie Downer but the most memorable phone call I ever received was on my mission (Argentina) two weeks before my end date. The call was from my dad notifying me that my best friend had died in a car accident the previous night. I was so full of duty and obligation that it didn’t really occur to me that I should have left my mission early and gone home for his funeral. I didn’t even think that was really an option and I’ve always regretted it. Heck, I was already on month 21 of an 18-month mission call. Some phone calls you just never forget.
My favorite phone call was a political call, about 20+ years ago when things weren’t quite so heated and I still had a subscription to a paper newspaper. I answered the phone and the caller identified herself as calling with a political campaign for someone I’d never heard of. I thought I would do my civic duty and allow myself to be educated about the candidates. The call went like this:
Caller: I want to encourage you to vote for [candidate] because [really good reason].
Me: Is he the incumbent?
Caller: No ma’am, he’s a Republican.
Me: I mean, is he already in office and running for re-election?
Caller: Just a minute and I’ll check
Caller: Yes ma’am, he is the incumbent. Can we count on your vote?
During the late stages of the Nixon administration, I was in the Coast Guard in North Carolina. A Utah woman, after appearing on a national early morning news/talk show, showed up in our office saying she planned to cross the ocean in a Grumman canoe (fitted with outriggers). Since I was from Utah, the commanding officer had me sit in for the conversation. She said she had practiced for the trip by canoeing on Utah Lake. The boss asked if she understood celestial navigation, she replied “no.” He strongly discouraged her from attempting the trip. A local man was going to join her. She decided to try anyway. Coast Guard lawyers instructed us to have no further engagements with her.
Just before she was ready launch, the senior officers had gone home early, so I was in charge of the office. I got a telephone call. The woman on the line ask me to hold for Senator Sam Erving (D-NC), the grandfatherly star of the Watergate Hearings. Senator Sam asked us to stop the Utah woman from launching. I told him that we didn’t have the authority to stop her and we’d been instructed not to follow her. He was very polite, and accepted my response.
To this date, I have no idea if there were any religious motives behind the absurd adventure. Anyway, the pair launched and after a day or two, a local commercial fisherman hauled their back to port, both canoeists were seasick. The woman eventually relaunched, this time alone. Her partner had bailed out (pun intended). Again after a short time at sea, she was hauled back to port.
My strangest phone call happened many years ago—before cell phones.
My first pregnancy ended early as a miscarriage.
The morning following the miscarriage, I received a phone call.
The caller stated my name and asked if that was who he was talking to. I said “yes.” He then proceeded to tell me that he had my husband. and called him by name.. I was shocked. What? I was confused. I was scared.
I said responded —my husband was at work. No, if you want to see him you will need to follow my instructions. I was freakin out. What? what do you want?
The caller wanted me to describe in detail what I was wearing. I started telling him what I was wearing.
Then it became obvious. The caller was just a sicko pervert. I hung up and quickly called my husband’s work number. He answered.
I was right. Never again would I list my/our names in the white pages or any public directory.
Certainly, my most memorable phone call came on an early morning in May 2001. My wife answered, and I could tell by the look on her face something was up. “Richard, this is Joyce at the transplant center in Omaha. We have a liver for you. You need to be here within six hours.” We were mostly packed and ready, drove from KC northward, and made it in time. But the transplant failed and my other organs began shutting down, which meant I had a week before I’d die if a second liver couldn’t be found. Fortunately, a second transplant came three days later. More than two decades of blessings later, I’m still here healthier than ever.
Guess I could have posted this a couple days ago on the post about miracles, too.
When I was a kid, I answered a call from a guy in prison. I was at an age where I liked to be the one to answer the kitchen phone when it rang but apparently not quite qualified for the job yet because when the caller ID displayed “INMATE PHONE” my brain had no idea what to do with that. Somehow I interpreted it as someone calling from a college dorm SMDH.
The inmate in question had called the wrong number. He told me he was trying to reach “this female. Jessica.” But I guess he only got one phone call per day or something because he didn’t seem eager to hang up. Eventually my brother figured out what was going on and hung it up for me.
My mom in the 80’s once got a call in the middle of the night from some woman telling my mom that they had her son and she needed to leave $50,000 in a baby bassinet on the lawn in front of the Utah Capitol building the next day (I grew up in SLC). My mom had three boys and I was the youngest. $50K would have been quite a bit of money in the 80’s. My parents built their home in the 70’s for $30K for example. This was before we had a cordless phone so she just listened and said ok, then when they hung up she checked in on all of us. Three for three in the house, safe and sound.
The next morning she worried that they had the wrong number and some other parent didn’t get this very important ransom call, but I think in the end she didn’t call the police and we just moved on with our lives. Still to this day, we have no idea if this was a crank call.
Growing up pre Caller ID, our landline home phone number was XXX-XXX-4355. If you looked at the letters for 4355 it could spell out “HELL.” So we would get calls often with the caller saying, ” Is this XXX-HELL?”
Being a good Mormon boy this bothered me. But eventually I became a sassy pre-teen so I would simply reply without hesitation, “Hell, yes it is! This is Satan speaking, how may I tempt you?”
Stupid story, but you asked for it Mr. Marsh.
I can’t remember a crazy call I’ve gotten but I’ve probably made some. One time I was lost trying to drive home very late at night and called my husband, as soon as he picked up I started yelling and crying at him about how I was lost and how mad I was that my GPS wasn’t working (this was in Garmin gps days) and demanding that he tell me how to get home. Finally he said “who is this” and I realized it was an old classmate of mine with the same first name as my husband I’d called by accident. I hung up.
@Lois, I received an identical phone call. However, there were several other circumstances that made it particularly harrowing. I was not normally at home during that time of the day, so someone calling me by name meant they knew I was there. That day my husband was also out of his usual schedule taking our disabled son to a therapy appointment that was my usual duty. As you said, pre-cellphone it was impossible to verify.
The most surprising call I’ve received was someone telling me that my name was drawn in a raffle that I didn’t recall entering and that I’d won a 2 week luxury trip to New Zealand and Australia. The caller repeated often that if I couldn’t make it they could find someone to replace me. It was a true winning, I went with my teenaged son, and it was a life changing experience initiating many international travels.