In a recent epiphany, I hit upon the perfect X-mas present for my parents . . . the Telezapper. As some of you may recall from previous posts, my parents no longer answer the telephone (as if they ever did anyway), and, in fact, have recently made assertions to the effect that the Telemarketers have gotten so bad that, according to my mother, they “never want to have to answer phone ever again.” (How they’ve managed to ascertain the severity of the Telemarketer Problem when they don’t actually ever answer the phone, I’m a little bit unsure of, although I can certainly appreciate the sentiment.) I’m fairly convinced, though, that the notion of zapping the Telemarketers will undoubtedly fill my parents with profound glee. This brings us back to the problem of not answering the phone, however, as the phone must in point of fact be answered, in order for the Telemarketers to get their much-deserved zapping. So in addition to the Telezapper, I will also be sending my parents an Answering Machine, which will answer the phone for them, so that the Telemarketers can get zapped, without their having to actually answer the phone. Brilliant, isn’t it?
The only potentially dicey bit here is that the Telezapper and Answering Machine combo will now suddenly thrust my parents well into the realm of Cutting Edge Technology, and they will concomitantly be forced into finally having to install an actual Phone Jack. My parents, you see, are still using wall-mounted Rotary Dial Phones. (For those of you who may be too young to remember the Rotary Dial Phone, these would be the phones where one actually has to insert one’s index finger into the little holes over the corresponding numbers on the phone and manually rotate the circular dialer for each digit being dialed, thus making Long Distance really start to seem like Looong Distance.) For that matter, my parents don’t own a Clothes Dryer. Or a Digital Alarm Clock. (They have a Wind Up Alarm Clock.) Or a Microwave. Well . . . you get the picture. And I’m certainly not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with my parents for not having any of these items, particularly if they choose not to . . . i’s just that my mother is constantly implying that they are purposely denying themselves these luxury items due to the egregious expenses entailed by having had to raise such a Money-Blood-Sucker Daughter (her words) as myself. Hmmph.
Take the instance of the Microwave, though. I had thought for awhile that perhaps a Microwave would be the perfect gift for my parents . . . for example, they would no longer have to reheat their coffee in a pan on the stove, or defrost food items in the garage by setting them on top of the third car they never drive. In fact, after finding out that I had a Microwave (and after asking if I thought I was a Rockefeller, of course), my mother’s curiosity seemed piqued enough to ask me a number of questions. How did I like it? Could I do this? Or that? Was I sure it was safe? Wasn’t I worried about radioactive rays? Eureka! I thought to myself. It really will be the perfect X-mas gift for my parents! This was last fall. Sometime before X-mas actually rolled around, though, my parents called to interrogate me with a veritable barrage of questions about How To Use A Microwave. Apparently, my father had an out-of-town reading that entailed spending a night in a motel that actually had a Microwave right in the room! My parents seemed very excited and called several times to ask about Which Buttons To Push, and How Many Minutes To Cook, and Was I Sure Paper Was Okay And Not Aluminum Foil, and Important Safety Issues Regarding Radioactivity. They apparently made several Special Trips To Walmart To Study Microwaves, and Plan Their Microwaving Strategy. Special Menus were endlessly discussed, debated, and choreographed. When they returned from their trip I called them to make sure they got home okay, and eagerly asked how they liked the Microwave. “Oh,” my mother said. “We don’t use it. Too complicate. We chicken out.”