I was talking the other day to this nice, elderly woman. Recently at her wits end, she told me that she finally gave in to her feelings, picked up her phone and dialed the number she spotted in her local newspaper:
“Hello, you’ve reached the suicide hotline.”
“Hello. Can you help me?”
“Press one for English.”
Just a recording, she grimaced. Well, she thought, at least English still rates number one. For how much longer, she wondered.
She pressed one and was connected to a call center . . . in Syria.
“Hello, you’ve reached our call center.”
“Hello. Can you help me?
“We answer calls in the order they’re received. Please hold on. Your call is very important to us. Please don’t do anything rash until we get to you.”
Another recording! She pondered how many calls were lost—in the ultimate sense of the word—while waiting in this suicidal queue.
“Yes. How can I help you?”
The accent was heavy. She asked “Are you another recording?”
“No. I am a real person, madam. How can I help you?”
“Do you understand English?”
“A little. Please tell me, what can I do for you?”
“Well, lately I’m afraid that I’m becoming suicidal. What can you suggest?”
“Not to worry, I will definitely help you with your problem. It’s not really a bad thing at all. Tell me, madam, can you drive a truck?”
Speaking of trucks, have you heard about Mark’s Plumbing out of Texas? I mean his old truck, the one he traded in for a newer model? In Texas. While he was waiting for the paperwork to be completed, he started peeling off the logo on the side of his truck. It said the name of his company, his address and his telephone number. The salesman stopped him. Told him he was scratching the paint and would lower the resale value of the truck. Mark responded that he didn’t want his company name on a truck that would no longer be his. The salesman assured him that he understood Mark’s concerns and that his company name would be professionally removed before the truck was sold.
A couple of months later, Mark saw pictures of his truck posted on FaceBook. Not only was his company logo still prominently displayed on the side of the truck, but the truck was in the desert with armed ISIS soldiers all around it, pointing at Mark’s company logo and smiling!
True story, even if the first one about the suicidal lady and driving trucks was a bit of poetic license to introduce Mark’s story. Turns out Mark’s truck was sold at a car auction and ended up being purchased and shipped to a car dealer in Turkey, from where it wound up being driven across the border into Syria, and into the hands of ISIS. (And here I thought the Obama administration was the only American source of weapons finding their way to ISIS.) Mark has been receiving tons of telephone calls (his number is still right there on the side of his truck for all FaceBook users to see) threatening to bring their guns down to Texas and take Mark out for his apparent support of ISIS. (Another story about the supposed valuable right to bear arms.)
Just goes to show you that, in this digital age, we need to constantly be rethinking and retooling our online and other digital strategies and methodologies. I have an idea (or two) about this. But you’ll have to check out my next blog in a couple of days to find out what’s on my mind (giving me the benefit of the doubt that I have one). I know you can hardly wait (to find out what’s on my mind, not if I have one).
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