I have a local phone service hooked up that I use almost solely for faxing. Once in a while though, I'll switch the connection over to my cordless phone, especially if I have to make prolonged local business calls during the day. Then, often what ends up happening is I leave it connected to the cordless phone. Since no one else uses that number to call me, I know that every time the phone rings (2-3 times/day), it's a telemarketer. So you can imagine my excitement as soon as I hear the first ring of the day, because it's the perfect opportunity to hone my vocal improv comedy skills (already mastered: typing improv skills).

Think about it: there's no audience, no pressure…just you and a person who is required to keep feeding you setup lines in order to keep their job. It's like going on the ATP Tour and having your own hitting partner, except if things start to go downhill, you can just hang up and abort. The weird part is, you have to either act like there IS an audience, or you have to really love laughing at your own jokes, because there's no one else around to appreciate the comedy of it all. Fortunately, that's why they (I) made these things called blogs. So in the future I'm going to keep you updated on what jokes I try out on the telemarketers. Unfortunately, I don't have the snippet-precise memory of Mr. Nathan D. Graaf, but I'll do my best.

Today's telemarketer: Financial aid loan consolidation company representative.

TM: Hello, may I speak with William Sullivan please?
Me: Hold on one moment.
[15 second pause, followed by same voice]
Me: Hello?
TM: Hi, is this William Sullivan?
Me: Yes, it is!
TM: Hi William, my name is Tim and I'm calling on behalf of [such-and-such] organization. We specialize in helping students reduce their student debt, and I want to offer you the opportunity to consolidate your student loans at a great rate. We can help you consolidate your percentage rate by–
Court: Whoa, whoa, Tim….I've got to tell you, I have spent hours and HOURS consolidating my loans already. Seriously, I spent all day last Saturday consolidating, and I think I've got them down to almost nothing. I'm not sure what's left to consolidate here. I think we would just be splitting hairs at this point.
TM: Well I'm here to help you bring your rate down by at least 1% from whatever your current loan rate is, I just need–
Court: Here's the thing, Tim, my percentage rate is UNDER 1% right now and–
TM: Well by consolidating your current loans, we can help you lower your current rate by 1%. I just need to get your address and some brief information.
Court: Tim, I don't think you're listening. My percentage rate is LITERALLY .07%. So if you can lower it by a full 1%, it will go below zero. Are you saying that you can lower my rate to -.03%? That means you will have to start paying ME.
TM: Yes, we can lower your rate 1% from your current rate. If I can just get your address…
Court: Do I stand to make a profit here or not?
TM: …..
Court: I knew it, this whole thing is a scam.