You know those moments when you realize you have become your mother? Or if you are a guy, the moment you turn into your father? As we age, we all have them. Whether it’s in a parenting moment, or commenting on “young people these days” there comes a time when we all become our parents. Well, today I took it one step further and realized that today I became my grandmother.
Now, I did not have a traditional grandma. My grandmother didn’t sew, cook, knit or do any other traditional grandmotherly things. She swore like a sailor, smoked like a chimney, drank a ton of scotch and never backed away from a great dirty joke. In her prime, she had fire engine red lips and jet black hair and was a career woman before feminism was even a word. As modern as she was, she was very much of the generation that any complaint one had with a retailer, grocer, dry cleaners, air carrier, etc. could be solved with a “strongly worded letter”. I think it was their generation, but all was right in the world if they could funnel all of their anger for what ever wronged them into a “strongly worded letter”.
Example, grandma moved to a retirement community in Arizona, you know the kind where you can get everywhere by golf cart. She left her city of birth that was very Jewish, so Jewish in fact that during Christmas there was really no Christmas light to be found. So here she was in the desert. One particular day she went looking with me for Rosh Hashanah cards to send out for the Jewish New Year. She goes into a party store and asked them if they have any. The staff looks at her as if she had just got off the boat at Ellis Island and was checking in from Eastern Europe circa 1890.
“Is that a specialty card?” asks the staff.
“A speciality card?” grandma replies. “No, it’s the Jewish New Year cards.”
“Oh yeah, those are at the back of the store.” said the innocent staff.
“WHAT? What is this 1955 and we are the blacks in Alabama trying to ride the bus? What do you mean at the back of the store?” yells my grandmother.
At that moment I thought if a hole could be created spontaneously where I was standing and the Earth swallow me up that would be a great time. Of course, it didn’t. I tell my grandmother that Moses spent a long time getting our tribe out of the desert and we are reminded of that fact every Passover. This being the case, just because our tribe likes to play year round golf and has found another desert to do so doesn’t mean the whole area needs to accommodate our people with a Rosh Hashanah card display to rival the Birthday Section. It doesn’t mean they don’t love us, just means that their request for Jewish New Year cards is probably pretty low. No need to cause a scene. This got me a one way ticket to sit in the car and wait for her outside.
Did I mention I was in my 20s? After Grandma found her few cards she came huffing back to the car with these famous words, “Well, I am just going to write the owner of the store a strongly worded letter.” She did and all was right with the universe again.
Thanks for hanging in with me during that long story to my point of today. I have a work cell phone. The owner of the number prior to me was a very popular guy. So popular that a certain financial company calls my cell phone up to 6 times per day to speak with the previous owner. Today I finally was annoyed enough to call the 800 number back.
“Can I get the account holder’s name?”
“I guess you would know that because you keep calling me and the account holder doesn’t have this number anymore. Stop calling me.”
“I can’t do that ma’am. These are scheduled calls. They have been prescheduled to this number and I can’t do anything to stop them.” snarky guy on the other line.
“Well, are you cold calling me? Because if you can’t make them stop then I will assume you are and if you are it is illegal to cold call someone on a cell phone so make them stop! I will report you. If it is not a cold call, this is not the account owner’s number anymore. I am sure you get this all the time and if you can’t make them stop then find someone who can.”
“Ma’am I told you there is nothing I can do about it.”
“Oh really? Guess what buddy? I write a blog and I am going to write in my blog about your company and how unhelpful you are. I’m going to write how you call my cell phone all day and annoy the crap out of me and won’t stop doing it.” Dang I feel so powerful. Never mind that I think 4 people read this blog. The way I set this up I’ll have him thinking I’m the damn Huffington Post.
“Ma’am do what you need to do. I said, there is nothing I can do about this today.”
“Today? You mean tomorrow they will stop?”
Tone change into sweet,Midwest girl “Oh, well then thank you very much.”
See, I showed him. The threat of the public blog must have done the trick. Yes, I know I left the company’s name out. In the end he did say the calls would stop (however, if I get one tomorrow…) And this my friends is 2012’s version of a “strongly worded letter”.
Dedicated to Beverly – the toughest broad I’ve ever known.