Blog: The Most Important Issue Of Our Time

Burt Ross

Frankly, I don’t care whether taxes go up or down, whether the seas are rising and will drown us all or whether we have single payer health care or no health care at all. It is about time somebody addresses the single most important issue confronting mankind in our time.

Of course, I am referring to the incessant, nonstop, annoying robocalls that I receive every minute of every hour of every day. I can no longer live in peace. Why should I care if we are going to lose our beaches in the future when I can’t take a nap today?

Many years back, Congress actually did something useful, as difficult as that is to believe. Congress passed an act allowing ordinary people like you and me to register our phone numbers on a “do not call” list. So far, so good. But naturally, there is a problem with this masterful piece of legislation. Absolutely nobody has any wish to enforce it. Consequently, the telemarketing industry continues to ruin my life without any fear of violating a federal law.

In complete desperation, I turned to Google for assistance. I googled something to the effect “what to do when invaded by robocalls?” I actually learned of a service called “nomorobo” which apparently helps. This free service (my kind of price) spots an automatic call immediately, and after the first ring, it zaps the call, which means you need not suffer more than one ring. I tried to sign up for the service, but was informed by my computer that my carrier does not accept this service. The computer advised me to contact my carrier and to urge the company to change its errant ways.

I own stock in telephone carriers and seriously pause before I bite the hand that feeds me. They tend to pay generous dividends, but bite the hand I must. The sad truth is, I would rather undergo root canal work than try to reach a human being at a phone carrier. I spent the better part of a morning trying to communicate with someone at one of these so-called communications companies.

I could finally relate to Amy Adams in “Arrival,” but ultimately she had far more success in communicating with the aliens than I did with any person at the phone carrier. At long last I reached a live person who asked me more questions than I was asked during my college interview, and then proceeded to disconnect me.

I have come to the end of the road. I am not a quitter, but I quit. I give up. I surrender. The telemarketers have won. I must destroy my phone and go back to the days of yesteryear when people communicated through smoke signals or carrier pigeon. I only wish that Alexander Bell had kept his invention to himself.

Postscript: This column was written BTF (before the fire), and I miraculously recovered it recently from somewhere in the cloud. When the fire destroyed my home, it also did away with my landline. Now that my bride and I only have cell phones, the assault from telemarketers has subsided. I think having your home burn down is a rather drastic, extreme way to solve this problem.