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9:00. I enter my office after dropping off the Ladybug at daycare to find five messages on my answering machine.   As I am giving an exam today, I suspect I will be treated to five different variations on the theme of “my grandmother suddenly and tragically died this morning whilst driving a busload of nuns to adopt stray kitties and because of this and that I am required to embalm her, can I pleased be excused from today’s exam?”   Instead, I find the following:

Message 1: Uh… er…. eh…. crap…. click.

Message 2: Yeah… er…. um…. hey…. no…. click.

Message 3: Hey… eh… um… eh…. sigh…. click.

Message 4: So… wait…. um…. um… damn… click.

Message 5: Er… er…. wait… um… is this…. no… click.

Clearly someone let Grandpa into the hooch.

9:04. The phone rings.

Me: Hello, Travis speaking.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: Hello?   Can I help you?

Caller: Eh… oh… ee…

Me: Hello?   Can you hear me?

Caller: Er… eh….

Me: Good luck with that. Click.

9:07. The phone rings again.

Me: Hello, Travis speaking.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: I’m still here.   Can I help you?

Caller: Eh… oh…  is this… Ray…?

Me: No, this is Travis.   I think you may have a wrong number.

Caller: Er… eh…. Can you…. get… Ray?

Me: I don’t know any Ray.   I’m sorry.   I think you have a wrong number.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: Sorry. Click.

9:10. The phone rings again.

Me: Hello, Travis speaking.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: Hello again.

Caller: Eh… oh…  is this… Ray…?

Me: No, this is still Travis.   You still  have  the wrong number.

Caller: This isn’t… er… um… Ray?

Me: No.   I think you need to dial a different number next time, okay?

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: Good luck. Click.

9:13. The phone rings again.

Me: Hello, Travis speaking.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: Sir, once agai–

Caller: Is this… er… the jail…?

Me: Um, no.   This is the Math Department of Komplexify University.

Caller: Eh… it’s not…. the jail…?

Me: No, this is a school.   You still have the wrong number.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: Sorry. Click.

9:16. The phone rings again.

Me: Hello.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: Dude…

Caller: Is this… er… the jail…?

Me: No.   This phone number — the same one you’ve been dialing all morning — is still not the jail, and it’s still not Ray.   It wasn’t the jail when you called three minutes ago, and it will not be the jail when you call again in three minutes.   You have the wrong number.

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um…

Me: You need to dial the operator.

Caller: Eh… er…. crap… um…

Me: Dial zero, okay?

Caller: Uh… er…. eh… um… Is this… Ray?

Me: Click.

9:18:30. The phone cord is removed from the wall.

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