You know, I dial wrong numbers all the time, and usually as soon as the person on the other end answers, I know I’ve dialed the wrong number.

“I am so sorry,” I say. “I’ve dialed the wrong number, please forgive me.”

Now the reason I say all of this, is because I was raised that when you did something wrong, you should admit to it, and apologize. Most of the time, the person on the other end is really nice about it and says, “That’s OK,” or stuff like that. Sometimes, they just hang up on you, or make some rude remark, and that’s OK, too because maybe they’re havin’ a bad day or something.

When somebody dials my number by mistake, I usually carry on a short conversation with them to the tune of “Don’t worry about it. I dial wrong numbers all the time.” Sometimes, when they realize they’ve called by mistake, they get upset with me.

“Well, what number did I dial?” Or “Well, that’s great. They gave me the wrong number. How am I supposed to get a hold of them now?” I usually just smile to myself, and tell them my number or tell them to try again.

I’m tellin’ you all of this, to let you know that I try to be nice about the whole thing, but sometimes something in me just wants to have fun. Like the call I got the other day.

“Yellow,” I said into the receiver.

“Don’t talk, just listen,” said the man on the other end. “Did you get that PDF file I sent?” I didn’t say anything.

“Hello?” he said sarcastically. “I asked you a question.” I still didn’t say anything.

“Hey!” he yelled. “Answer my question.”

“You told me not to say anything,” I said.

“Don’t be a smart elbow,” he said, only he didn’t say elbow. “Did you get the PDF file?”

“How do you spell that?” I asked.

“Spell what?”

“PDF,” I answered.

“Huh? It’s P-D-F!” he growled.

“Oh, just like it sounds, huh?” I said.

“Look, you idiot, I don’t have time for this.”

“Time for what?”

“Time for this ... this idiotic, whatever it is you’re doing.”

“What am I doin’?” I asked.

“Did you get the file?” he growled.

“What file?”

“Check your email!” he yelled.

“I did,” I answered.


“And what?”

“Did you get the file?”

“What file?”

“Ahhhhhhhggggg!” he yelled.

“Hey, don’t bust a gut,” I said.

“Check your email,” he said, trying to get his voice back under control.

“I’m checkin’ it right now,” I replied.

“What does it say?” he asked.

“It doesn’t say anything, you have to look at it,” I replied.

He didn’t say anything for a while. Then he spoke. “Somebody ought to whip your elbow,” he said, only again, he didn’t say elbow.

“Applications are now bein’ accepted for that position,” I said. “Would you like an interview?”

“Do you know who you are talking to?” he asked.

“No, I don’t. Do you know who you’re talkin’ to?”

“Yeah Bill, I do.”

“Bill? Who is Bill?”

“You’re not Bill?”


“Well, who are you then?” he asked.

“I’m the man whose elbow you’re gonna whip. Now, give me your name and where I can find you and we’ll see how good an elbow whipper you really are.”

Well, all of a sudden he gets really apologetic. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought I was talking to someone I work with,” he said.

“That’s the way you talk to people you work with?” I asked.

“Well, no, uh, I’m under a lot of stress, and well you know how it is,” he said.

“No, I don’t know how it is,” I said.

“Look, let’s forget it. I’m sorry. I’ll check the number I called and I won’t bother you again,” he said.

“No problem,” I said. “Have a nice day.” I admit, I did say it a little sarcastically.

“Yeah, you too,” he said, and then he hung up.

Like always, when I’m carrying on a meaningful conversation over the phone, my wife Janet is lurkin’ nearby.

“Who were you talking to?” she asked.

I turned and looked at her. “Some bully,” I replied.

“I guess that explains all of the anatomy talk,” she said.

“Yeah, sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry about it; just go wash your mouth out with soap.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied.

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.