September 27th, 2006


Office Voice Mail

Partial Transcript of Actual Voice Mail Message

"Hi. I'm trying to reach Dr. Phil McGraw...

"I can't find a phone number for Dr. Phil, even on the computer. I'm sure you can find a phone number for me."


I'm not really trying to mock these people, but there are reasons why you can't find the phone numbers of celebrities -- and even if you find a number, it's either going to be some call center, which isn't going to satisfy you, or some innocent bystander like this Dr. Phil who has no magic powers to either help you or cough up a phone number for someone he's never met or dealt with -- and if I had, I'd probably be asked not to divulge same to you, either.

It Hasn't Always Been This Way

I recall reading once that a visitor to New York pulled out the giant phone books in his hotel room and was astonished to (a) find a number listed for Isaac Asimov and (b) the great man answered.

That wouldn't happen much today, I'm afraid. The Internet allows too many directories and phone numbers to be accessible, common politeness and decency has gone out the window and we are much more numerous, to say nothing of pushy, demanding and insane, to want to deal with people as it is.

It's bad enough that charitable groups got a free pass from the national Do Not Call list -- especially politicians. Ga-ack. And on the way out the door this morning, I had to interrupt this person from a business I do have business with, calling about a note I had sent them -- who was genuinely miffed that at 8:24 in the morning, I couldn't stand around and listen to their explanation at that very moment, that I had to go "out the door that very minute."

When did we lose control of our own phones? (grin)

Dr. Phil
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