Answering the phone is an art form.
Ranging from cheerful.
My personal favourite.
Not so popular.
Then there’s: Clever.
How you answer the phone says a lot about you.
Maybe not in actual words, but the meaning’s pretty clear . . .
Hello!! L (What d’ya want!? I’m having the worst, terrible, awful, no-good day. And you just made it worse!)
Or: Hello!! JJ (I’ve been running through soft fields of primroses and I’m so happy, I just want to share, share, share!)
See what I mean?
In the Stringam household, telephone answering was very often . . . creative.
My brother, George, being the king.
Case in point:
The phone rang.
I should probably explain, here, that these were the days of the rotary phone (google it). There were no such things as call display, call waiting, or even answering machines (Except, maybe in the CIA or FBI or CSIS).
So there was absolutely no way to know who was calling.
Also, an actual electrical cord attached the single home phone to the wall and yet another cord attached the receiver to the phone.
It was entirely possible to get completely wrapped up in you call.
So to speak.
Moving on . . .
My brother, George, he of the creative phone answering technique, was closest.
He picked it up.
“This is the devil! Who in hell do you want?”
Whereupon (good word) my mother smacked George.
Now, normally, when my brother answered the phone, the person on the other end of the line would laugh and say something equally inappropriate and the conversation would continue.
On this particular occasion, all George heard was a mighty ‘click’ as the phone at the other end of the line was forcibly returned to its cradle.
He shrugged and hung up.
The phone rang again.
Again, George picked it up.
“This is the devil! Who in . . .” you get the rest.
There was a short, breathless pause, then, “It that you, George?!!! :( :( :(”
I put in the little frowny faces to convey . . . displeasure.
Because the caller was my paternal Grandmother.
And she didn’t think my brother was funny.
Sheepishly, George admitted it. “Yes,” he said.
“Let me talk to your father! :( :( :(”
Notice the continuing frowny faces.
Ahem . . .
George handed the phone to Dad and headed for the nearest far-away place.
Dad received a lecture from his eighty-five-year-old mother, which he dutifully passed on to the culprit.
I’d like to tell you that the creative answering ended there.
That from then on, all calls were answered with respect and decorum.
I’d be lying.