A year and a half ago, I walked in to a Cingular store and bought a new cell phone. I was assigned a phone number and my phone began to ring before I had even given the number to anyone. All the calls were for the fellow who previously had the number. It was handy that he had cancelled his number with Cingular and freed it up for me, because I got to deal with all of his creditors. Boy, does he have LOADS of them!
After a couple of months of playing secretary for this guy, I started blogging the calls for laughs. You may remember a brief feature called “Phone Message for Norm Swain” in which I related who called, what they wanted and the number to call back. I received a nasty letter from one of Mr. Swain’s associates. He threatened legal action if I continued the posts, because they made Mr. Swain “look bad financially”. Even though I think Mr. Swain does his own good job of making himself look bad financially, I complied and removed the posts, because the associate said everything was going to be straightened out.
Since eighteen months have passed since I received this number, you’d think that would be plenty of time for Norm to give his NEW NUMBER to people. Apparently, I must be the impatient type, because I’m STILL GETTING CALLS FOR NORM SWAIN.
And it’s not just industry people calling up asking for jobs or to chat about parties – though that’s been rather exciting when a call comes in from a stunt man from Scrubs, because I really like that show – no, it’s the pet hospital letting him know that the medicine is ready for his two dogs and he can come get it at the front desk. Wouldn’t you tell your PET HOSPITAL your actual phone number?
The worst call was when I was trying to transfer at O’Hare in Chicago and my plane was delayed and I was trying to get to my father’s funeral and I answered the phone and it was a lady from Hertz saying that Norm’s rental car was overdue and asking when he’d be returning it.
I tell all the creditors that he no longer has the phone number, but they don’t believe me. They think I’m covering for him. Him and Kelly Ferguson, who has also been giving out my number of late and apparently buys a lot of mail-order medication. At this point, I think I know more about Norm than he knows about himself.
Today heralds the return of “Phone Message for Norm Swain” – destined to be a regular feature for the rest of my life (or the life of my phone), I fear.
“This message is for Norman Swain. This is the law office of Patenaude & Felix, litigating for creditors. Please return the call at 1-800-832-7675 and you can reach us at extension 7615.”