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09:48:48 - 2000-03-20


(SCENE: Stately Bob Manor. Our hero and his wife are sprawled on the couch watching "Who Wants To Sit At Home And Think They're Smarter Than A Millionaire?" The phone rings. A quick game of rock, paper, scissors finds me on the losing end and picking up the phone.)

ME: (in a very rushed and hurried tone) Steve...What was the name of Celine Dion's first number one single? Was it A) "This Song Sounds Like Gerbils Being Tortured", B) "I Like To Scream" C) "This Passes For Talent In Canada" or D) "Hey Look, My Husband Went And Bought Me A Number One Single"????? You've got 17 seconds, Steve ...

(Silence on the other end)

VOICE: Hello??

ME: Hello???

VOICE: Hello????


VOICE: Ummmmm.... Good evening sir. Is Mr. Dur...Mr. Durm...Mr. Darn...Mr. Dumpling...Mr. Durante...Mr ...

ME: ... Smith?

VOICE: I'm sorry ... Mr. Smith in??

(At this point ... I have all the right in the world to say "No he's not" and hang up. However ... Regis and the dweeb are only on the $200 question, so I have a few minutes to kill.)

ME: Hold on a sec ... (barely covering the mouthpiece of the phone) "WILL SOMEBODY UNCHAIN NUMBER 17 FROM THE WALL?? HE'S GOT A PHONE CALL!!")

ME: Hello??

VOICE: Good evening Mr. Smiff. My name is Walter and I would just like to ask you one question: Are you happy with your back yard?

ME: (thinking out loud) Gee, Walter. That's a toughie. I'm pretty sure my back yard borrowed a rake back in '93 and never gave it back. Although that could have just as easily been that trash can of mine ... he's notorious for taking things and not giving them back. Let's see ... I can't say the backyard has ever disappointed me. The sex isn't anything to write home about, but c''s my backyard we're talking about here. In general, Walter....yes ... I'm happy with my back yard.

VOICE: (clearly ruffled, but very appreciative that I haven't hung up on him yet) Could you be HAPPIER with your back yard, Mr. Smithers?

ME: Why, of course Walter. I could ALWAYS be happier with my back yard. But I've already looked into it and it's really too small for an log flume ride if that's what you're getting at.

VOICE: (trying to ignore me and sticking to his spiel) Can you picture a full sized swimming pool in your backyard, Mr. Smipple?

ME: I'm not sure Walter. Let's give it a shot, shall we?

VOICE: Mr. Smiveling, we here at ....

ME: Walter....shhhhhhhh....I'm trying to picture a full-sized swimming pool in my backyard. And I've gotta be frank with you here, buddy... my backyard's on a slope with my house at the bottom and right now all I can picture is my den flooding and my vintage collection of Tiger Beat magazines ruined while my children are jumping off a high dive into an empty pool. Wait! I can picture me coming over to your house and beating you senseless with a sopping wet Donny Osmond poster. And then sadly... my little imaginary world goes blank. *sigh*

VOICE: (apparently ... REALLY desperate for a sale...) Mr. Smoth, we here at Pools For You can install a pool in the steepest of back yards.

ME: Even if my house is backed up next to a cliff??

VOICE: We can handle it.

ME: I'll take two then.

VOICE: Two pools?

ME: No, silly. Two houses near a cliff.

VOICE: I'm sorry ... what?

ME: You're sorry...who??

VOICE: (sighing....thus admitting defeat) You have a nice evening sir. You need some help.

ME: Thanks ... you too. I'll put an ad in the paper tomorrow for a receptionist.

PHONE: (click)

ME: (turning to wife) So...what'd I miss??

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