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"We are unable to come to the phone right now. At the tone, please leave your name, number, and Master Card, Visa, or American Express account number and we'll get back to, pending credit approval."
"You have reached the <city>,<state> Strategic Air Command Nuclear Missle Storage Facility. We are unable to come to the phone right now. At the tone, please leave you name, number and target or list of targets and we'll launch as soon as we can. And have a nice day."
"Hello. This is Chris. John and Mike aren't here right now, but if you leave a message, they'll get back to you as soon as they can."
[imitating Ensign Chekov]
"Oh, sair...it was *Khan*! He made us say things...do things...he kept us from answering the phone! But Keptin was strong, and if you leave your name and number, Keptin will get back to you as soon as he can!" <BEEP>
[imitating Mr. Rogers]
"Hello. I'm in the Magic Kingdom right now, so I can't come to the phone. Can you leave your name and number when you hear the sound of the tone? Sure...I knew you could." <BEEP>
Steve: Hello. Steve and Matt aren't here right now but if...
Matt: Steve, what are you doing?
Steve: I'm leaving a phone message since we aren't here.
Matt: But you left the last one -- it's my turn.
Steve: No, I'm sure it's my turn.
Matt: No, you're incorrect. It's definitely my turn.
Steve: You fool. I know it's ... wait ... Matt ... what are you doing with that frying pan?!?
BONK [really loud thud]
Matt: Steve is out right now, so please leave your name and number.
"Hello. I'm David's answering machine. What are you?"
"This is (#include phone.addr). We are not ... excuse me a moment, please. Put your sister down. PUT YOUR SISTER DOWN! (sound of window breaking) Great! What a mess. I'll have to get back to you later."
"Finally get an answering machine. Now how does this thing work?
Press record button, I did that, and the light should be on. I wonder why it's not working right. Hmmmm, I wonder what this button does......"
A friend of mine at school has this message, read by three people while the STAR TREK theme plays in the background.
1: Room 17, the final frontier.
2: These are the messages of Chad's answering machine. Its 2 semester mission: to seek out your name and your telepohne number.
3: To boldly inform you to wait for the tone.
(Annoying flute music in background) Good day, Jim. Your contact, [insert name], is not available right now. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to leave your name, number, and a brief message at the tone. This tape will self-destruct in thirty seconds. Good Luck, Jim.
"Steve is reassembling Elvis' brain and can't come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name ...", etc.
"Steve has been captured by a flying saucer and can't come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name, phone number, and a message I'll have him call you back as soon as he gets away. Read all about it in next week's National Enquirer."
In the background can be heard Gregorian Chant or some other church music <In a soft voice> Good Day My child, you have reached {name} dial a confession. At the tone if you will leave your name, number and short confession I will get back to you with your pennance. Thank you and may God go with you. <Beep>
Hi this is <name>. I'm sorry I can't answer the phone right now. Leave a message and then wait by the phone until I call you back.
A friend was at a mutal friend's sister's house, and when she went out for beer, he changed her answering machine message. In a loud, deep, gravely, horror-film voice he recorded, "HI, THIS IS KATHY, I'M NOT MYSELF RIGHT NOW. IF YOU LEAVE YOUR NAME AND NUMBER, I'LL GET BACK TO YOU WHEN I'M FEELING BETTER."
I worked for a bit in the coastguard in Wales and I used to send weather reports to other bases, using a sort of antique FAX machine. I would call first on a special telephone and then send the data. They used to answer the phone with:
" Epicentre of the Universe, God speaking."
" Hartland home for lost whores." (that was Hartland CG)
" Da, zis iz Ivan: do you have zee secret information, Boris?"
" Pentagon command: transmit destruct sequence (pause) sequence correct:
T minus one minute and counting"
And then there was one phone we didn't use, with a number one off that of the local take-out. With my, non-British, accent I had some great fun with that phone.
"Starship Enterprise, Uhura here, can you hold please? -- Captain, there is a transmission coming in on hailing frequency seven, do you want it on screen?" (silence...click)
"Vancouver coastguard, may I help you." British long distance rates are phenomenonal and I had this poor dude sputtering with horror that he had managed to make a long distance call by dialing five digits.
This is one of my old ones that got a lot of laughs:
<Phone Rings>
Noisy pick-up of phone
Uh...<wisperingly> Hello?
Hi, I 'm a burgular and I was just about to steal Troy's answering machine. If you give me your name and number I'll..uh, I'll post it on the 'frige where he'll see it. Uh.. by the way, where did you say you live?
But right now I'm using "This is a boring answering machine message. Leave a message anyway." because I'm sick of people ringing the phone at 10am just so they can hear the clever messages I usually have, and then hanging up without even leaving a "like your message" message. Feh!
[Must have good Australian accent]
G'day mate. Can't come to the phone now because I'm a bit tied up with this crocodile. Just leave a message, and I'll get back to you.
This is the Literacy Self Test Hotline. After the tone, leave your name and number and recite a sentence using today's vocabulary word. Today's word is supercilious ...}
Kemosabe no in tipi now. You leave'um message after little smoke signal, and Kemosabe get back for pow-wow real fast.
Also, on the subject of answering machins, my favorite tape was: "This is Jeff, you're not in now so I'll leave a message." Really confused people.
A bubble in the space-time continuum has connected your line to a channeler in the 23rd Century. Any message you leave will be broadcast into the future....
Hello. I can't come to the phone now because--HEY, GEORGE! DON'T STAND ON THAT--goddam. ...because I've invited George and Barbara Bush over <loud music cuts in>...BARBARA! HEY! DON'T FUCK WITH THAT!...over for dinner. After the tone...BARBARA, CALL YOUR DOG...MILLIE! DOWN GIRL! ...shit...Leave a message after the tone...HEY, FUCKHEAD...<beep>
Hello. Lindsey's not home now--this is his domestic droid speaking. I'm not programmed to answer the phone, so just leave a message, and Lindsey will get back to you as soon as possible.
My wife and I can't come to the phone right now, but if you'll leave your name and number we'll get back to you as soon as we're finished.
Ring, Ring:
The number you have xxx-xxxx (your number) has been changed, the new number is xxx-xxxx (again, your number). CULATA!
"Hello, and welcome to Answering Machines of the Rich and Famous! (your name here) can't come to the phone right now, because he's spending the week in his beautiful summer home on the French Riviera..."
One day I had a borrowed Casio sampler toy and used it to create a rather interesting one:
Hello. You have reached Tooooommmmmm Tom Tm! Tom and MaMaMaMarMMMMaark's room. Tom is studying ssttuuddyyiinngg sssssssssssss and MaMark isn'isn'isn'isn't here. isn't here. P-P-Pleas! leave a messssssssage. Goodbye. 'bye! bye!bbyebybyyeyeyebbye {byes repeating at all different pitches}
Last year my roommate had a machine but he hated to make the outgoing message. Stage fright, I guess. So I usually made them. One that we usually used during exam time was:
{background music: Billy Joel's _Pressure_ very loud}
Hello. You have reached Tom and Mark's room. We're a little busy now...
{ BJ screams PRESSURE!!! }
So, leave a message and we'll get back to you someday after (exam end date)
{ BJ: ONE TWO THREE FOUR PRESSURE!!! followed by a very out-of-tune BEEP! }
My favorite message that I ever had was the *real* message I recorded off 1-800-CALL-SPY, the U.S. army snitching network. Try it, its a great recording (call after 5 pm for the message).
[Give it try! -pZ]
In the background can be heard springs creaking and various moans.
<Husky, Soft female voice is best> Hi,... You've just reached {name} pleasure palace. We're all busy as I'm sure you can tell but when we're done... we'll get back to you in whatever way we can. <Beep>
You wouldn't believe how much explaining my mother wanted on that one...
[b.g. music is frantic, violin oriented]
"hello. you have reached xxx-xxxx. we are currently unable to answer because we are either chasing, or being chased by, bats. please leave a message..." etc.
[the quiet, eerie vocal part of 'hello, earth' by kate bush]
(after about 30 seconds): "hello. you have reached xxx-xxxx. we can't come to the phone right now because we're at vespers. please leave a message..." etc. (30 more seconds of music before the beep.)
(Spoken in a granny voice)
"Way back inna winner of fifty-two, we didn' have fanshy gadjets like no ansherin' machine. You jusht had to call and call until shummbody got home. Now, shum people, dey shay dey don' like 'em, but I shay it'll shave you a lotta trouble if you jusht leave a meshage. Thanksh a lot."
Must be spoken in a drawl.
Well, this isn't strictly from an answering machine, but...
>From Calvin and Hobbes:
(phone rings) (you answer) Hello, this is <...> speaking. I'd like a large pizza with extra anchovies. (other person) What? (you reply) Oh, sorry, I must have a wrong number. (hang up)
Make everyone's day a little more surreal.
"I'm home right now . . . I'm just screening my calls. So just start talking and if you're someone I want to speak to I'll pick up the phone. Otherwise, well, what can I say?
In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife.
[sound effect: Heeeeee-YAH!, smashing box of kleenex]
But this method doesn't work with a telephone call...
[sound effect: dial tone]
Introducing the all-new GINSU answering machine! It cuts, it chops, it slices, it dices your incoming calls! How much would you pay? Don't answer, because if you leave your name and number when you hear the tone, we'll throw in a return phone call ABSOLUTELY FREE!
"Hi, you have reached .... Please leave your name, phone number and a message and if we like it we will return your call".
However, the most effective one I have had so far can be used only one day per year: "This is David. I'm not using the phone over Yom Kippur, so please leave a message or call back after the holiday." No one wants to admit not having realized it was Yom Kippur or not knowing I would pick one holiday from the whole calendar on which to get observant, so everyone hangs up and leaves me no bad news or requests for favors.
"This is David. Talk."
"Hi. This is David. I've shut the ringers off on my phones and taken a sedative. As soon as I finish this recording I'm going to bed indefinitely. When I wake up I'll play my messages. Please leave one."
[with a kazoo band playing "Thus Spake Zarathustra" in the background...] "Thinking you were making an ordinary phone call, you have instead reached..." [YA-DAAAAAAAAA!] "...the ANSWERING MACHINE! Leave your name and number, and we will get back to you as soon as we can."
"Hello, this is Dr. Pangloss. If this were the best of all possible worlds, I could come to the phone right now, but I can't, so if you could leave your name and number..."
"Hello?" <pause for a few seconds> "Sorry, he's not here right now, but if you leave a message, he'll get back to you."
(woman taped off a "phone sex" service)
WOMAN : (seductively) Hi. I'm Linda. You know, it can be really lonely when you're a fashion model. Sometimes I just have to ...
YOU : (interupting) Oh cmon, Linda, give me the damn phone.. (then ask for a message)
Just after the earthquake a friend of mine put on his answering machine:
"Hi, this is Jeff. We can't get to the phone right now because we were killed in the Earthquake. Tragic, isn't it? But, leave a message anyway, someone is sure to get it eventually." BEEP
My favorite post quake message:
"Hi, we're not in cause we're out LOOTING! Leave a message and we'll call you back and tell you what we got."
"Hello, I'm not hear right now. In fact, I'm out getting a new parakeet. If you leave a message after the beep, I'll be sure to get back to you. Oh, and by the way, a word of advice; never try to clean a parakeet cage with a vacuum cleaner."
Ring...click....(sound of loud music in background)...Hello? - just a second while I turn the stereo off (sound of person running to click off music, which gets quiet. sound of person running back to phone) OK, sorry about that, hi there, who's this...well hi!... uh huh...yeah...well listen you're talking to a machine, so please leave a message and I'll call you back.
(this ran for a while until a friend threatened to kill us after she said she had a 2 minute conversation with the machine.)
"Hello, this is Jim. Unfortunately I can't answer the phone right now because I've just come back from the Mirror Worlds and I'm still made up of antimatter, so if I were to pick up the phone right now, the resulting energy release would make Hiroshima look like a wet firecracker. So leave a message at the tone and I'll get back to you as soon as my component particles have been restored to their normal charges."
"Speak, worm!" <beep>
Works best if done in a Darth Vader voice.
"You know what to do at the tone." <beep>
"Hello?" <beep>
This confuses anyone who doesn't know you.
"Hello, I'm not here." <beep>
A friend of mine used this one last summer. I always answered it with
"Okay, that's all I wanted to know."
Hi!! You've reached Janet and Chris's room. We're not in right now. If this is our parents, we're at the library studying. Yeah, yeah, that's it, that's the ticket. If this is John (Chris's boyfriend), Chris is out with the girls at the party. Yeah, that's it. If this is any one else, we're at a party and you're not. Yeah, a party with the president. Yeah and the .... pope. Yeah that's it. <beep>
(in an Italian mafia-style tone:)
"Hello. I can't come to the phone right now. Me and Guido are trying to stuff a body in the trunk. I think we're going to have to size it a little... <aside> HEY GUIDO! GET THE CHAINSAW! Anyways, leave your name and a message. If I like it, you'll hear from me. If not, _you'll_hear_ from_Guido! ( a little laughter )... "
(To the tune of "Heartbreak Hotel" with appropriate instrumental accompaniment)
I just left home baby
I'll be out fer a spell
and if you don't leave a message baby
you can go to <BEEP>
Hello, this is <insert your name here>. I'm home right now, and in a few moments, I'll have a decision to make.
[Theme from "Indiana Jones" in the background.]
You've reached the residence of John and Tom. We can't come to the phone right now, because we're cleaning the refrigerator. Please leave your name and number, and we'll get back to you.
[Theme from "Indiana Jones" continues until the beep.]
Hi! John's answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I'll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets.
One of my favorites had this very exciting scary music, along with a kitten crying in the background, and the voice goes: The machine answering this message is connected to a 5000 volt power supply, and a relay which is wired to this small kitten. If you hang up before you leave a message, it will complete the circuit and will fry the kitty. The choice is YOURS.... BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP
Thank you for calling the Metropolitan Church of the Holy Bible. Today's commandment is Number 6, Thou shalt not... er... bear a... er... shalt not witness thy... uh... neighbor's ass, oh, I mean, false... er... shalt not commit a bear... dern...
How do you leave a message on this thing? I can't understand the instructions. Hello. Testing 1 2 3. I wonder what happens if I touch this... YOW!!
I can't come to the phone now, so if, well, actually, I CAN come to the phone now, I mean, like, I'm at the phone NOW, recording this message, but I'm doing this NOW, while you're listening to it LATER, except for you I guess it's NOW, like, when you're listening to it... I mean, like, wait, gosh. This is so confusing.
I can't come to the phone now, so... hey -- that's a nice phone you have there. Hey sugar, you call this number often? I bet you have answering machines bothering you all the time... yes indeedy. Why don't you give me a call sometime and we can listen to some old recordings... I might even play my beep for you...
Don't you do it! Don't you dare! I don't want to hear it! Don't you beep! If you beep, I'll... don't even think about it!... Don't...!
After the tone, leave your name, number, and tell where you left the money. I'll get back to you as soon as it's safe for you to come out of hiding.
Prepare for alpha test of Beep Software revision 1.05. Counting down to test: 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...
As the drugs take hold, you feel you are losing your grip on reality. You begin to hallucinate. You see a telephone... the telephone is next to an answering machine... you hear a faint click and a light flashes on the answering machine... you hear a beep...
You're growing tired. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You feel very sleepy now. You are gradually losing your willpower and your ability to resist suggestions. When you hear the tone you will feel helplessly compelled to leave your name, number, and a message.
No! NO! Not THAT! Anything but that! Not the beep! No! Please! Not the beep! Anything but the beep! AAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE!
This is a test. This is a test of the Answering Machine Broadcast System. This is only a test.
Next on Public Radio 91 we'll be hearing music of Antonin Dvorak. This is the Beep Serenade in C-Sharp Minor, Opus 72...
[Sung to the tune of "Ride of the Valkyries"]
Leave a message... leave a message... etc.
78 Thanks for calling Dial-A-Shrink. I can't come to the phone right now, so after the tone, please leave your name and number, then talk briefly about your childhood and tell me what comes to mind when you hear the following words: orange... mother... unicorn... penis. I'll get back to you with my diagnosis as soon as possible.
[For Shakespeare lovers only]
So long as phones can ring and eyes can see,
So leave a message, and I'll get back to thee.
[VOICE 1] Answer the phone, please, Hal.
[VOICE 2] I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that.
I can't come to the phone right now because I'm down in the basement printing up a fresh new batch of 20 dollar bills. If you need any money, or if you just want to check out my handiwork, please leave your name, number, and how much cash you need after the tone. If you're from the Department of the Treasury, please ignore this message.
Thank you for calling the Confessional Hotline. Father Durway's not here right now, but if you'll leave your name, number, and confession at the tone, he'll get back to you with absolution as soon as possible. And remember, confession doesn't count unless you confess all of your sins in vivid, graphic detail!
Andy Warhol said that one day everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Well, your 15 minutes was last week, but since you weren't ready, we gave it to Vanna White. Sorry.
C'mon... you can do it... just a little one. That's the way... just a little beep, just a little one. C'mon... good boy... here we go... like this -- beeeeep, just a little one, beeeeeeeeeep, c'mon... There you go!
I can't come to the phone now because I have amnesia and I feel stupid talking to people I don't remember. I'd appreciate it if you could help me out by leaving my name and telling me something about myself. Thanks.
I can't come to the phone now because alien beings are eating my brain. Leave a message anyway, and after the alien beings assume my shape, one of them will get back to you.
Thanks for calling Dial-An-Asshole. Right now, all our assholes are busy. After the tone, leave your name and number, and we'll have an asshole return your call as soon as possible.
Ok, One more time...
This is our answering machine...
This is the message on our answering machine...
...Any questions?
Hi, can I speak to Mark?...Oh, there isn't?...I'm sorry, I must have dialed the wrong number.
90 <beep, beep, beep>
The number you have reached,
Seven. Six. Seven. One. Two. Three. Four.
[Use your number here.]
has not been disconnected and is still in service. Please leave a message at the sound of the tone.
HANS: This is Hans
FRANZ: And this is Franz, and we just want to...
BOTH: Pump (CLAP) you up
HANS: But we are not at home, you know
FRANZ: Ya, we are gone
HANS: If you want us to...
BOTH: Pump (CLAP) you up
HANS: You will leave a message after the beep
FRANZ: If you don't leave a message, then you are Girlyman.
HANS: Ya, Girlyman. And we don't talk to Girlyman, you know
FRANZ: So leave a message and we will call to..
BOTH: Pump (CLAP) you up
"Hello! This is 1-800-PRESLEY -- Yes! 1-800-PRESLEY!
They say the King died 10 years ago, but we know he's still out there somewhere. So . . . leave your name and number and tell us where *YOU* saw Elvis!"
"Hi, you've reached 1-900-CALL-BREN, my personal message line where you can talk to me, Bren. I'll tell you all about how I'm suffering in between sports seasons and about my part time hobby of being a power forward for the Portland Trailblazers. I'll tell my deepest secrets, such as my desire to be kidnapped by short blonde sorority girls wearing short jean skirts, and you can decide whether or not I'm wearing pants. Selected callers will get to talk to me live. Since you're not one of them, leave your own personal secret at the beep. "
In a vaguely phoneco-operator voice: "I'm sorry, you have reached an imaginary number. Would you please rotate your telephone by ninety degrees and try your call again."
A few people even got the joke...
"You have just dialed into the North American Air Defense Contract Center. Stand by at the tone to give coordinates and destination of incoming bogey. TNR Surveillance will scramble. If you do not respond, this unit will assume incoming, non-important."
"Sherwood forest, which dear do you want?"
"Lucifer speaking, who in the hell do you want?"
"Heaven, God speaking."
"Bridge, Kirk here."
"City Morgue, you kill 'em, we chill 'em; You stab 'em, we slab 'em!"
"Thank you for calling Soviet Embassy. No KG... Er, no diplomats are able to answer phone, so at sound of capitalist tone, leave name, telephone number, and short description of secrets you wish to sell."
"I've set up my answering machine so that when anyone calls, they here a busy signal."
If you are a burgler, then we are probably at home but can't come to the phone right now
Otherwise, we probably aren't at home.
The number you've dialed is purely imaginary, multiply by i and dial again!
This is you-know who.
We are you-know-where.
Leave your you-know-what you-know-when.
" I'm Morley Safer."
"I'm Harry Reasoner."
"I'm ........
"And I'm" <the guy whose answering machine it was>
" We're not home; leave a message."
He had taped the audio of the beginning of 60 minutes; it sounded very funny.
"Greetings. You've reached Ghengis Kahn's Pornographic Films Unlimited. Fabian, Pat, Rex and Mike are still conducting screen tests with potential leading ladies to star opposite the late John Holmes in our upcoming feature film "It's Not the Size That Counts but Whether or Not You're Alive to Use It." If you're interested in a screen test, or even if you're not, please leave us your name, age, phone number, measurements, cup size, a brief summary of your work experience, both off and on the screen, and a brief summary of your favorite fantasy involving four men, a pair of handcuffs, and a tub of Cool Whip. Thank you for calling."
Another one I've done more than once is to slowly increase the pitch and speed of my voice while recording the message to make it sound like the machine is broken:
(start, low pitch, slow)
"Hhhhheeelllllloooooo thheeeerrrrrrre evvvvveerrrryyyboooodyyyy....
(middle, normal)
..home of Veronica, Jaw-Chyi, Mark and Mike. Nobody's home...
(later, high pitch, fast)
(end, incomprehensible chipmunk gibberish)
This is not an answering machine -- this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling, and a number where I can reach you, and I'll think about returning your call.
"My name is Inigo Montonya."
"You killed my father."
"Leave your name and number, and prepare to die."
My favorite that I have heard as an answering machine message is also from this movie. My friend recorded the section that goes something like:
"I'm writing the definative work on pain, and I would like you to tell me how the machine makes you feel. Remember, be honest. This is for posterity."
The message I currently have on my recorder is the output from my Amiga's speech sythesizer. It's set up as a dialog between two distict, but recognizably artificial voices. I thought it sort of mediocre myself, but have gotten quite a number of amused comments about it.
1> Hello, there are no real people here to answer the phone right now.
2> Yeah, nobody but us machines!
1> Right, just us machines, but don't hang up! If you like, you can leave your name and telephone number...
2> ...and a message! You forgot about the message!
1> Right. Leave your name, telephone number, and a brief message after you hear the beep, and we will keep track of this stuff until the real people get back.
2> ...unless of course, sombody pulls out our plug!
I taped theoperator saying "we're sorry. The number you have reached has been disconnected or is no longer is service..."
From Halloween this year:
(Ominous electronic background music.)
Hi, this is Jim. In honor of Halloween, I'm about to perform an unspeakable pagan ritual. So please leave a message. Oh, unless you're a virgin, in which case, why don't you stop by? SINT MIHI DEI ACHERONTIS PROPITII...
(French monologue in the background)
Around the world today, millions still speak French as either a first or second language. But with your continued support and help, we can wipe out French in our lifetime. Please leave a message in English at the tone, and remember, if someone tries to speak French to you, just say, "non".
Hi, this is Jim. Welcome to my Fun Phone Line, where you can talk to my answering machine for only $.95 per minute! Please leave your credit card number at the tone...
Hi, this is Jim. Thanks for calling during my spring pledge drive. A basic membership is only $30, and a $60 pledge gets you an "I love Jim Shea" T-shirt. Please wait for the tone, and thank you for your pledge.
(click) "You have reached the CPX-2000 Voice Blackmail System. Your voice patterns are now being digitally encoded and stored for later use. Once this is done, our computers will be able to use the sound of _your_ voice for literally thousands of illegal and immoral purposes. There is no charge for this initial consultation, however our staff of professional extortionists will be contacting you in the near future to further explain the benefits of our service, and to arrange for your schedule of payment. Remember to speak clearly at the sound of the tone. Thank you." (BEEEEEEEEEEEP)
Message: Hi this is Craig's car phone. Craig's at home now, so you can try calling him there or leave a message after the beep.
Caller's message: Hmmm. Car phone!?! I'll call back later when your out. -Koris Goudonov
Every now and then we are all pestered by these high-tech telemarketing companies where the sales pitch is usually disguised as a survey of some kind.
The despicable thing about these things is that they won't leave you alone. If you hang up, they will just call back again.
One day my wife got a call from one of these computer systems, and her answering machine answered. The conversation that followed was hilarious, as it consisted of two machines talking to each other without having the slightest idea about what each other was saying. The conversation wound up in an endless loop, as follows:
[ANSWERING MACHINE] "...At the tone, please give your message. BEEEEEP."
[PHONE] "Hello. This is [company_name], and we are taking a telephone survey ... when I ask a question, wait for the beep, then please speak plainly. I will repeat your answer back to you, and verify it. First, what is your phone number? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP."
(The answering machine, upon hearing the beep, got confused and thought
it was a play-back command, and generated another beep in response.)
[PHONE] "Thank you! Your phone number was 443-28347-47756-377764-22222. Is that correct? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP."
[PHONE] "Thank you! Do you have any children? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP."
[PHONE] Thank you! What is the age of your first child? BEEEEEEEEEEP."
[PHONE] "Your first child is 1,222 years old. Is that correct? BEEEEEP."
[--------------- BEGIN ENDLESS LOOP ----------------]
[PHONE] "Thank you! Do you have any more children? BEEEEEEP."
[PHONE] "Thank you! What is this child's age? BEEEP."
[PHONE] "This child is 4,233 years old. Is that correct? BEEEEP."
[---------------------END LOOP -----------------------]
My wife, upon noticing that the answering machine had been going for over half an hour, turned up the volume to find out what was going on. When she discovered this endless loop (by now she had over 200 children, all over 1,000 years old), she switched off the answering machine. The computer never called again.
I had a friend who liked to play with the phones. He got his girlfriend to sound like an operator and make a tape saying:
"I'm sorry, the number that has dialed you is not in service. Will you please hang up and let it dial again...<crackle> I'm sorry, the..."
He had a lot of fun calling people up and playing it.
I once answered the phone as follows. " San Luis Obispo Police, Sergeant McCallahan here, may I help you?" After about five seconds of dead air, I heard a click. About five minutes later, the phone rang again. This time my roomate answered. It was the same person that had called a few minutes earlier. It turned out that the long delay between calls was due to the fact that he had to mooch a quarter for his next call. He was at a public phone booth and had used his last quarter to call us. I don't think he talked civil to me for a week...
My grandmother had been bothered by calls coming in after midnight, waking her, and forcing her out of bed and across the house to answer. Invariably, they were from the same man, seemingly slightly intoxicated, with bar-crowd noises in the background. He wanted to speak to Peggy, whoever that was, and my grand mother would tell him there was no Peggy living there, and that he must have the wrong number. But he wouldn't believe her, and kept insisting, begging, pleading, etc. to talk to Peggy. My Grandmother would have to just hang up finally. This went on for a few days, and late one night, when the phone rang, my Grandfather held back his wife, and said, "I'll take care of this", and got out of bed to answer the phone. The ensuing conversation was short and quick, and went something like this:
"Hello, Can I speak to Peggy?"
"No, I'm sorry, she can't come to the phone right now-- she's nursing the baby."
Here's my favorite, for calling large offices and idiots-in-general: "Hello, is this the person to whom I am speaking?"
My solution is upon realizing that I'm talking with a "telemarketing representative", I ask: "Are you a telemarketer?" The answer (suprisingly) is usually yes. I then go into a sales pitch to sell a (nonexistant) telephone ear-cusion.
I insist that every telemarketer must have one for safety and comfort. Eventually, they'll forget to try selling me anything.
A recent posting by Duke McMullan requested ways to repel telephone solicitors. My friend Pepe Tres from Texas told me this one and gave permission to post it:
"My time is billed at $125 per hour. To continue this conversation, I must have your MasterCard or Visa number, card type and date of expiration."
Pepe says it usually leaves them speechless. One guy replied, "Hey, that's good; I'll have to remember it." Once a supervisor of telephone solicitors called back and asked him if he was "some kind of high-powered lawyer."
Everybody gets and dials wrong numbers. It's good to be nice about it. What goes around comes around, right? so, I try to reassure the apologetic and embarrassed wrong dialers that will actually converse once the error is discovered, with it going something like this:
caller w. wrong number: "Gee, I'm sorry..."
me: "That's OK, I was going to pick up the phone anyway.."
How about the 'Fraudian Slip Answer'? Like this:
<Whoever> here. What can I do to-----I MEAN-----FOR you?
Try the following next time the phone rings:
You (when you answer): Hello, is Jimmy there?
Caller: No, I'm afraid you have a wrong number.
You: Oh. Sorry.
Caller: No problem... (click)
(Use a strong east Indian accent) Hello, you have reached the existential hotline of (...). I am currently meditating, but if you leave your name and which lifeline you are currently inhabiting at the sound of the Om, I will send good karma waves and contact you when the stars align properly. Oooooommmmmmmmmmmmm...
(heavy panting and breathing in the background), Oh! Sorry, I can't come (Oh! Yes! Do it to me) to the (Oh!) phone right now (pant pant), leave your name and number at the (scream) (I'm gonna come!!!!!) orgasm.
(1) "Hello, this is Ron. (pause) Hello? Hello!!? Nah, just kidding. This is an answering machine. (etc.)"
(2) "Hello, this is Ron. I'm not home right now, but I can take a message. Hang on a second while I get a pencil." (background noise - open a drawer and shuffle stuff around.) "OK, what would you like me to tell me?"
Also, something you might do after you've had the machine for a few months is start answering in person with "Hello, this is a live voice." (Variation on a theme by "The Cosby Show".) Or you could try answering your own phone with "Hello, is Ron there?"
I actually did this once when a call came in at an inopportune moment: I picked up the phone, said "Hi, this is Chris. I can't come to the phone right now, so please leave a message after the tone. -EEEEE-" -- that last being a tone-like sound - and the caller proceeded to leave name, phone number, and message, and hang up. I went back to what I'd been doing.
Before I bought an answering machine, I thought I didn't need one. Then I started thinking up possible messages, and before long I had bought an answering machine just so I could put my messages on it. Here they are. There are plenty of them...
Hello, this is the Brown residence. We're in the middle of a family fight right now. Leave your name and number at the beep and whoever wins will call you right back.
Don't you do it! Don't you dare! I don't want to hear it! Don't you beep! If you beep, I'll... don't even think about it!... Don't...!
Hello. This is Nonoxynol-9, the persona and private telephone number of Mikhail Vladivostok Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of the glorious Communist Party of the Union of Sovjet Socialist Republics, Commander-In-Chief of the Combined Armies of the Proletariat Peoples of Russia, First Citizen of the Order of Lenin, Supreme Patron of the Soviet Institute of Literature and Domestic Sciences, President of the Soviet People's Council of Peace and Happiness and Captain of the Kremlin B Squash Team. But hey, call me Mike.
The President is not in his office at this time. Please leave your name, phone number, the name of the country you wish to invade, and the secret password.
We're sorry. You have reached an imaginary number. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again. 135
is is Joe speaking. I'm home right now, and in a moment, I'll have a decision to make. Leave your name and number and I'll be thinking about it...
Hi! You have reached 234-1243. This is an answering machine. This is the Nineties. You know what to do.
I'm not at home today, and I might not be home tomorrow. So please leave a message after the tone. I didn't take a shower today, and I might not take one tomorrow. So if you don't leave a message after the tone, you might have to deal with me in person.
Hi! I can't answer the phone right now. Bob, that's my pet parakeet, just swallowed a cherry bomb. It wasn't lit, but I've got to get him to the bathroom. Uh-oh! (Sound of a paper bag exploding.)
(After a power outage:) Hi, this is Ralph. The good news is that my power is back on. The bad news for you is, so is my answering machine. So, leave a message.
Hello, this is Death. I am not in right now, but if you leave your name and number, I'll be right with you.
Hello, this is KVKE, you're on the air.
Hello, this is Ron's toaster. Ron's new answering machine is in the shop for repairs, so please leave your message when the toast is done.... (Cachunk!)
You've reached the S&M hotline. All our operators are tied up right now, so if you leave a name, number, a list of transgressions, and bark like a dog, we'll get right back to you with your penance.
Thank you for calling Robert's House of Love. All of our customer service representatives are, er... busy servicing customers, so at the sound of the erotic tone, leave your name, number, and a short description of whatever turns you on...
You know what I hate about answering machine messages? They go on and on, wasting your time. I mean, all they really need to say is, "We aren't in, leave a message." That's why I've decided to keep mine simple and short. I pledge to you, my caller, that you will never have to suffer through another long answering machine message when you call me...
Hi, dudes, this is 229-3053, the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles' secret underground hideaway. I'm afraid we're all out just now on a desperate mission to save the Planet from boring answering machine messages, but if you know what The Shredder has done to April O'Neill, or if you know where he is, or if you can think of a decent pizza recipe, just leave your name and number and we'll ring you right back. But don't say anything yet! Enemy agents may be listening. When the computer has checked they're not eavesdropping, it will make a bleeping noise and you can speak freely.
These words are lovely dark and deep
But I've got promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep
So leave a message at the beep.
Now I lay me down to sleep;
Leave a message at the beep.
If I die before I wake,
Remember to erase the tape.
Dial some number at random. Ask: "May I speak to Kevin? Oh, wrong number? Could you please tell him that his pizza is ready?". Hang up.
Dial the same number again 15 minutes later. In a different voice: "May I speak to Kevin? Oh, wrong number? Could you please tell him that John called?". Hang up.
Repeat 10 times. On the eleventh: "Hi, this is Kevin. Did I get any messages?"
Dial a number. "Hello, this is your local telephone station speaking. We are sorry to tell you but we are having a terrible fire here at the station. The fire cannot be controlled, it is spreading over telephone cables and will reach your house in 5 minutes. So, if you don't want to burn down your house, hurry up and take your telephone receiver and throw it into a bucket of cold water!"
Sometimes it works, and people do throw their receivers into water. It is especially amusing to play this joke on the people whom you intend to visit later in the day. That way you can come and inspect the damage.
"Hello, this is your local Zoo speaking. Do you like animals? We are experiencing severe problems with hot water. Would you be so kind as to allow us to bring our elephants over to your bathroom for a shower?"
The most common response: "Well, sure, but my neighbour's bathroom is bigger and better equipped to handle elephants."
When you knock on somebody's door and they ask "Who is there?", a good reply is "And who is THERE?"
Hello, this is Lee Iacoca. Today we are soliciting money for the United Negro College Fund, because a mind is a terrible thing... and they should be stopped before they hurt somebody. So please leave your credit card number after the beep. Thank you for your help.
I don't want to bore you with metaphysics, but how do you know this is an answering machine, maybe its a dream or maybe its an illusion and you don't really exist. One way to find out, leave a message and if its reality I will call you back.

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