Offen: At the tone, please leave

Jul. 13, 2014 @ 01:10 PM

You’ve reached Neil’s phone but I can’t take your call right now because right now I’m not sure exactly where I left my phone although it might still be in the car or perhaps in the jeans I was wearing Tuesday evening. In any case, at the tone, please leave a message.

In your message, please leave your name, the date, the time of your call and a recipe for Welsh rarebit. Make sure to convert from liters to cups and indicate whether curly parsley and flat parsley are interchangeable or if they are not, why.
It would also be good to mention precisely why you’re calling and whether we actually know each other or you’re just trying to sell me car insurance. If you are trying to sell me car insurance, please explain in your message what the deductible is and why I am liable for my liability coverage.
Please remember while leaving your message that you should also not be talking to the drive-in window at the Wendy’s and ordering a combo meal at the same time. If you are ordering a combo meal, please specify if you want to supersize.
In addition to your name, the date, the time and the recipe, you should also probably leave your phone number, too, which would provide significant help if I decide to call you back. When you leave your number, please try to make sure you don’t mumble or stumble or cough and a “5” comes out sounding like a “3” and I end up calling you back and getting Cliff’s Meat Market instead.
If you are simply returning my call after I returned your call and we have been playing an extensive game of telephone tag, be sure to note that in your message and let me know whose turn it is and whether we’re playing by English or American rules.
Please do not begin your message by saying that “It’s me” since I have a number of friends and relatives by that same name and may not have a clear idea of who “you” or “me” are and might confuse you with a car insurance salesman.
During your message, remember to speak clearly and forcefully and that you are only allowed three “ummms” and two “you knows” per message. If you go over that limit, the tone will come on immediately and you will be subject to an extra bundling charge on your cable bill for networks you never watch. 
Remember, don’t start talking before you hear the first tone and don’t continue talking after the final tone tells you to for goodness sake, stop already. 
By the way, that sound you just heard, that was the tone.
Thanks for the message and I’ll try to return your call at my earliest convenience or whenever I actually remember to do it. Or I might just leave a message.
Neil Offen can be reached at theneiloffencolumn@yahoo.com.