My Worst Call of the Day

From the dozens of idiotic calls I take each day as a customer service representative, I humbly submit the winner.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The End is Near . . . Isn't It?

Today’s worst caller was so painfully deluded that he’s more to be pitied than scorned. However, my dozen or so loyal readers have come to expect a certain, shall we say, hard-heartedness from me, and I’m not one to disappoint my fans. So I’ll dispense with the pity and serve up a generous helping of fresh-baked scorn with a side order of cool disdain.

The conversation began typically enough, with the caller informing me that his power was about to be shut off. “I’m not sure I’m going to pay my bill, though,” he added casually. “I don’t think I’ll need my electric for much longer.” And, fool that I am, I asked him why this was.

“Well,” he replied, “have you ever heard of eschatology?” His voice was bubbling with the kind of glassy-eyed enthusiasm usually reserved for the hosts of infomercials, Amway distributors, and Mormons. Feeling a fresh headache being born inside my skull, I murmured that I had not. “Eschatology,” he lectured, “is the study of the ‘End Times,’ from the book of Revelation, in the Bible.” (As opposed to the book of Revelation in, say, The Joy of Cooking?)

“Mm-hmm,” I said noncommittally, hoping he’d get to the point of all this.

“The ‘End Times’ are near, I can tell you that,” he said with authority, “and the Pope’s death is a sign. It’s just a matter of days at this point before ‘The Rapture’ occurs.”

“And,” I replied, trying to mask the ridicule in my voice, “this is why you’re not concerned about your power being shut off? And if so, I’m not sure why you contacted my agency if you didn’t need assistance.” The caller paused a moment, then conceded that he might need a couple days’ extension to pay his bill, just in case the coming apocalypse didn’t proceed on schedule.

So I helped the caller get his extension from the electric company, then bid him bon voyage on his imminent departure. After I hung up, I began thinking about his talk of “The Rapture” and “End Times,” and it filled me with a warm, tingling feeling. If what he said were true, the number of inane phone calls I receive each day would plummet as he and his ilk rose heavenward. Let us pray.

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