Since I don’t want more of you to send front-end loaders to my house, I need to post something. Let’s head back into the dusty files to come up with a story that always, when I post it on an online forum, gets the comment, “Jane, your mom rocks!”
Dial the time machine back to an era where people still used dials. If you can, picture a world where people used to put coins in pay phones if they were out of the house, and where if you were already talking on the phone, the phone company provided a free service in the form of a pulsed buzzing tone to let other callers know that, rather than charging you to interrupt your other call.
At a funeral home for the wake for one of my mother’s relatives, my mother needed to use the pay phone to call someone about arranging transportation for my grandmother. (Have I earned one of Wendy’s patented “old phart” membership cards now? The young’uns reading here are NOT allowed to say, “Pay phones? Don’t you have to pay for any phone?”)
The pay phone in the lobby ate my mother’s change without placing the call, and she didn’t have any more, so she went to find the funeral director.
This story came to light at all because I was arranging Emily’s funeral, and I noted that the funeral director had been more than accommodating. I said, “But I guess that’s to be expected. You’d figure someone in the funeral industry would be very compassionate.” My mother replied, “You’d figure that, but listen to this.”
At any rate, my mother went to the funeral director’s office to find a toad-like woman chain smoking her way through the final hour of her workday. My mother said, “Excuse me, but the pay phone in the lobby took my change. May I please use your phone?”
The funeral director glowered at her and growled, “Yeah, but make it quick!”
Taken aback, my mother nevertheless dialed the relative who’d be picking up Grandma. She got a busy signal.
She glanced at the funeral director from her peripheral vision. Still the scowl.
So my mom shouted into the phone, ” Your mother’s dead!” and slammed it down.
Then she turned to the funeral director, who was gaping and wide-eyed, and said to her sweetly, “Was that quick enough?”
Funeral Director: 0