One day, the phone rang as I was eating a bowl of popcorn and watching a Roy Rogers movie. Being the basically decent person that I am, I answered it, and immediately some guy started in with a breathlessly smarmy sales pitch.

“HI! Don’t hang up!” he barked. “I have a special offer just for you!”

“Oh, yeah?” I shot back. “Well, I have a special offer just for you–SHUT UP!”

Satisfied that I had put the idiot in his place, I started to hang up. But then I discovered that my scathing putdown hadn’t even fazed him.

“For a brief time only, you are eligible to receive a grand prize! But don’t delay! Respond today!”

“Listen, stupid,” I retorted. “If you don’t shut up right now, I won’t delay–in KICKING YOUR BUTT!”

Well, it was as though this colossal turd couldn’t even hear me. In fact, he didn’t even pause to listen while I was talking. Boy, that made me so mad.

He just kept on blabbing away. “You can choose between two great offers–ten thousand dollars in cash, OR…an all-expenses-paid weekend vacation on beautiful Lake Schwartz, deep within the heart of the scenic Shmendrick Mountains!”

Ah-HA! So that’s what it was–one of those scams where they offer you a vacation somewhere and you have to go to some kind of seminars or take a tour of a bunch of real estate they’re trying to unload or something. “I’ll bet there’s no way I’m going to be able to choose that ten-thousand dollars instead,” I cunningly deduced. And I was also firmly convinced that this “beautiful” Lake Schwartz was probably some mosquito-infested swamp with bloodthirsty hillbillies running around in the woods.

With all this mental ammunition locked and loaded, I geared up to let this guy have it with both barrels. “I’ll bet that stupid lake is just some mosquito-infested–“

“You’re probably wondering how we can make such an amazing offer to you at this time!” the guy interrupted.

“No, I’m not!” I countered. “I couldn’t care–“

“Of course you are!” he affirmed. “Well, it’s because we here at Feldman-Shapiro Industries Of America Incorporated (Limited) are in a position to offer you with no money down for a limited time only and totally without any hidden fees or obligations whatsoever this one-time-only deal of a lifetime of such incredibly astounding proportions–“


“–that you will someday be telling your grandchildren about–“


“–from the luxurious comfort of your very own three-story mansion on the shores of the beautiful Lake Schwartz–“


That did it. For an undetermined period of time, I lost my mind and went on a rampage. Only by observing the aftermath later on could I begin to piece together what I had done during that time. Apparently, I had grabbed a can opener, opened up several cans of whole-kernel corn, blackeyed peas, string beans, and spinach, found a bottle of Elmer’s Glue, and created a huge mosaic of David Hasselhoff naked on horseback on my livingroom wall. I had also fried three dozen eggs “over easy” and sailed them like Frisbees at a crudely-drawn target with the words “Jolly Egg-Toss Game” scrawled over it in Cheese Whiz. I still can’t explain why I was wearing a rather shameless tube-top/miniskirt combo and some of those clear platform heels, or why my dog Buddy was also wearing the exact same outfit. And to this day, a drunken Alec Baldwin keeps calling me in the middle of the night, blubbering, “Why, Denise? Why won’t you return my calls?”

Well, needless to say, the whole thing has forever tainted my enjoyment of watching “Night Rider” or “Baywatch.” And I can’t even look at Alec Baldwin anymore without thinking of fried eggs and, for some reason, Twizzlers. So whenever the phone rings these days and it’s a telemarketer, I just politely–yet firmly–tell them that those hillbillies out at Lake Schwartz are going to have to find somebody else to squeal like a pig, and hang up.

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