Voicemail beep: My time to shine

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ Columnist

When discussing his company’s revolutionary iPhone a few weeks ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs addressed a crowd of shareholders as to how the phone could be more efficient.

“We have caller ID, we have text messaging,” Jobs told a cheering crowd. “We don’t need voicemail.”

OK, Jobs never really said it. Standup comedian Daniel Tosh said it three years ago.

But you were more involved in this column knowing it came from the guy who brought us the iPod, and not the guy who gave us the album, “True Stories I Made Up.” It’s called giving you a reason to listen, and that’s what I try to do with my voicemails.

Most of my phone calls aren’t matters of life or death, or even of moderate importance. So I figure instead of just giving them the boring “I called you for lunch, but you weren’t there,” I’ll give them something else.

When the voicemail beep goes off, it’s my time to shine. I grab whatever I can from wherever I am, whether it be a Bible, interesting magazine article or my car’s owner’s manual.

“Proper inflation pressure is essential for achieving maximum performance and mileage. Improper tire inflation pressure can cause severe internal tire damage, which can lead to sudden tire failure and resulting in serious personal injury or death. Improper inflation pressure may also result in rapid or irregular wear. Pressures should always be checked when the tires are cold and at least monthly. Think about that next time you’re free for lunch and give me a call.”

Of course, there is one friend who already left voicemail behind. I leave a detailed message so she knows why I’m calling, then I repeat it all after she says, “Why’d you call? It’s a waste of my time to check voicemail.”

Now, I could choose to respond, “My voicemail was basically about you not respecting the time I took to give you a voicemail of what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Instead, I just give the most out-of-context message I can. “Hey, I just wanted to let you know your box of weasels arrived this morning. They’re in your garage, but don’t feed them any oatmeal until they’ve had their rabies shots.” I laugh twice — once when I think of the message, and again when I think my phone might be wiretapped, and this is what authorities have to spend their time on.

Except it’s had another intended effect — she reversed course. We had lunch last week, and she said, “Actually, I listen to your voicemails, because there’s always something worth listening to.”

Goodbye, excuse to have fun. Hello, pressure to perform. So if you see me reading an owner’s manual, don’t bother me. I’m studying up for the next phone call.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be reached at 763-3431, ext. 316, or by e-mail: kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com