There’s a firm that’'s trying to get hold of my dad. The call centre is obviously based abroad, as most of the callers don’t speak very good English. They have called my house every day for the past week. This is how it goes:
**Person:**Can I speak to Mr NameRemoved? Me: No, he’s deaf. P: Sorry?
**Me:He’s deaf. He cannot hear. P: Sorry? He’s…? Me: He’s DEAF. Dee Eee Ay Eff. Deaf. He cannot answer the phone. P: Oh. Can I speak with him? Me: You can write to him. P: Can I speak with him now?
b]Me: No. He cannot hear you. He is deaf. P: He’s what? Me: DEAF. THE MAN IS DEAF. P: He’s what Me: DEAF. HE CANNOT HEAR.
P: He’s what? Me: DEAF. P: He’s what? Me: DEAF. P: He’s what? Me: DEAD. WE’RE ALL VERY SAD. GOODBYE.
Perhaps the word “deaf” was not in the caller’s limited English vocabulary.
Nowadays, whenever I hear my own name over the phone in a horribly mispronounced Indian accent, I just hang up the phone. There’s something about my name that renders it utterly immune to proper pronunciation by Eastern tongues…
Even British people can’t pronounce my last name. It’s a great way to know straight away if it’s a telemarketer or someone who knows me. If they get it wrong, chances are it’s not someone I want to talk to.
My mother’s maiden name is like this. Great marketer filter. No one outside of the Czech Republic, it seemed, could pronounce her name unless they knew her, even though it’s pretty simple. They all mispronounce a consonant, because the name itself sounds pretty American except that American English speakers tend to pronounce the consonant hard when it’s actually soft, for some reason.
Also, it helped that my mom kept her maiden name after she married. We knew straight off the bat what was going down if one of them got a phone call or letter addressed to them with the other one’s last name.
I have family friends whose 10 year old son has a very young sounding voice still. He answers the phone and tells the telemarketers that not only are his parents not there, but that he’s 6 years old, all alone and pretty scared. (Which is patently false, don’t worry.) He likes to hear them get upset and concerned for him. They tell him not to answer the phone or the door and not to tell anyone that he’s alone. Then he hangs up on them abruptly and laughs his little butt off.
He’s evil, I like that about him and like to think I had something to do w/ it.