Should you use a pen name?

It’s a valid question actually. Most writers like to use their own name unless they are writing something like graphic pornography, a kidnapping demand, bomb threat or some other item they would never show their mother but otherwise, people like to see their own name on the By-line and if it’s early in their career, like very, very early, they will go into transports over seeing themselves in print. It is then to be expected that they will buy several copies of the publication and pass them around to share the love.

Nothing wrong with that. After all, they wrote it and it got printed somewhere so they are entitled to feel on top of the world in my opinion.

Pen names, as far as I can deduce, are often adopted by established writers but don’t ask me why because I haven’t the foggiest idea and unfortunately I don’t know any famous writers who have done this so I can’t even ask! But to get back to it…should you use a pen name instead of your own? Well I guess it’s up to the individual but if you want to go down that track you should go for something unique, catchy and memorable and the only problem I can forsee is if you become really, really famous and you suddenly want all your detractors from high school, plus your workplace to know that Artorius Penworthy (or whatever you’ve called yourself) is actually you. They may not believe you and your sudden declaration may just feed them more stuff to throw back at you, as in “OMG! Gladys is saying she’s a famous writer now!!!” and people start asking for your autograph and then snort in derision.

The only way around that one I guess is for “Artorius” to send out illustrious invitations for his next hugely publicised book signing to every single one of them and viola! There you are! Can’t guarantee it will up your popularity but hey, payback has never had anything to do with gaining friends. It’s purely about vindication, with a touch of “nya nya nya!” tossed in for good measure.

But if you are seriously considering using a pen name have a play around with rearranging the letters in your own name into a catchy new one! I have seen this before and if your name contains the right letters it can work really well! If not, scrap rearranging your name and look at finding a new one altogether but be careful. I mean, if there really is someone out there called Isadora de la Quille they may not aprove of you using their name on your work, unless of course you become really, really famous which also has the potential to make you really, really rich…the real Isadora is out there somewhere holding a birth certificate and with possession being nine tenths of the law and all…

Okay then, try for something original that reflects the “writer” thing instead. Seriously, you can do this and if you don’t make a hash of it you have a good chance of turning up something that sounds good, looks good and practically leaps off the page, grabbing the reader’s eye and keeping them on the page long enough to read what you have to say. If you’ve worked hard at your craft you’ll keep them there and isn’t that what it’s all about? Of course it is! That’s why you write!

I did give a fleeting thought, many years ago, to using a pen name but in the end I thought better of it and decided to just stick with my own. I want everyone to know It’s Me!!!

Oh, for my own space!

Mean as this may sound, I’ve got to say I am actually looking forward to the last of the brood moving out to make his way in the world and if all goes according to plan he will be off to university next year and I will have the house and the TV and the lounge and the computer all to myself!

Sure it’s nice having him around, most of the time, but there are those other times when he drives me up the wall and it’s those times that I start counting down the months until he’s off.

For starters I will be able to watch whatever I want on TV. I know, this seems like such a small thing but when it comes to missing my favourite Friday night program because he’s determined to watch some B-grade flick that should have been trashed the day it was wrapped up then trust me, It’s A Big Thing! Ditto when I’m elbow deep in some serious endeavour and I have to stop to do dinner. Once he’s moved on to new accommodations I can give the dinner hour a big miss if I choose to. Or have it later. Or just snack my way through the rest of the evening simply because I can!

I can even trot around the house naked if that’s what I really want to do – it’s actually not what I really want to do, but you know what I mean.

It will also mean I can sleep in a bit on the days I don’t have to go to work because I won’t have to get up to make sure he does. I’ll be able to hog the heater on cold nights. Eat ALL the chocolate biscuits. Watch lifestyle shows on the tele and listen to whatever kind of music I like. All right, maybe that last one’s a bit unfair as his choice in music isn’t too bad at all, unlike the shrieking bands and electronic noise that appeals so much to his sister. I was never so glad to see the back end of a sub woofer as I was on the day Daughter took hers with her to her new digs when she was starting university. It was huge and the whole house would shudder to the sound of whatever it was she was playing that she swore blind was real music. Yeah. Right!

But it all worked out well. She’s happy, independent and we all have a wonderful time together when she pops home for a visit and even her music sounds better. Well, sort of. Okay, maybe not…

But anyway… I’m expecting the same result when her brother flies the coop some time around the beginning of next year. I’ll breathe a big sigh of relief, really let loose for a few weeks or so and then settle down, get it all back to normal and genuinely look forward to him popping home for the holidays! It’s just the way it goes, you know?

In the meantime I’m just marking time until I finally have my freedom and the house etc to myself. It’s a heady thought, let me tell you, and I intend to be a total sloth for the first week at least. I’m not worried about that though as I know I’ll get over it and like, who’s going to know anyway? No one, because I’ll have the whole house to myself and by the time one or both of them comes home for their next visit the house etc will be all sorted again, meals will be cooked and I won’t give a hoot about what they want to watch on TV and then they’ll head back to their respective addresses and everyone will be cool!

Hey! I’ll even put my clothes back on! If I go for the naked option, that is. Which I probably won’t.

Definitely, definitely won’t.






Hey! I write my OWN content!!!

I received a comment on this site last week claiming that I am nicking my content from someone/somewhere else which I found rather surprising, just before I got a little bit annoyed that someone would not only think that but would also decide to make a fairly public comment to that fact via my website. Then I got downright hissy about it, hence this particular blog entry!

There could be a number of reasons for that pithy little comment but just to set the record Very Straight here…I Do Not Plagiarize Other Writers!!! Like, why would I??! If you see anything anywhere authored by Lisa Ashurst, that’s me!

Okay then, having stated that fairly clearly I think this would be a good time to mention that I have also written some articles for other writing sites as well as on an old MSN blog site that I no longer do anything with. Actually my first blog on this site was “The Unknown Writer” which has also appeared elsewhwere. I used it as my first blog post here because this is a writing site and it seemed appropriate and besides, I wrote it!. I also put “The Diner” somewhere on here as well because it was an exercise I did in writing a story to a given title, and then I added a twist at the end that worked.

So…chances are the comment writer has seen MY work elsewhere but failed to note MY By-line! Well that’s his problem, not mine.

Of course, there’s always the chance too that someone out there likes my work so much they are nicking it for themselves and reproducing it under their own name (which could be viewed as flattering in a roundabout way except that it’s also a really low act so I’m not flattered at all!!!) so to anyone out there who may have done just that…Google and I Will Hunt You Down! On that you can depend!

The thing is, writers are really territorial when it comes to their own work because they put a lot of sweat and often some very late nights into producing good solid copy that is of a standard good enough to be published. I should know as I’ve done it myself on occasion. I was published intermittently all through my school years and have been appearing in print on a weekly basis for around 25 years now! When you’ve been writing solidly (and successfully!) for that long you don’t need to snitch someone else’s work! It’s totally unethical anyway and as I value my reputation as a writer I have absolutely no intention of putting it on the line via such underhanded tactics.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing my posts because writing is something I really enjoy doing and while others enjoy reading them I will continue to put up the goods. So, to everyone of you who have visited my website and liked the content enough to leave a friendly comment…I thank you because I really value your feedback and appreciate the fact that you took the time to post it!

To anyone out there who thinks I may be plagiarizing others…well no, I am not. I can definitly assure you that I am not. Feel free to read all of my content in the full knowledge that what you are reading really was written by me. No one else and I sincerely stand by this statement.

And to the guy who took it upon himself to leave such a baseless, vapid comment on my website…do your research hon! And if you left your comment out of pique because you suspect my ability to write quality content may have outsripped your own…then chances are you are right!

Now you need to get over it.



Best things to do on Facebook

If you think about it there are definitely some things that work better online. Like presenting yourself as a total spunk and flirting with everything you can. You can do this because you may, in fact, be as plain and/or as frumpy as anything but your photo can show you as one very attractive human being, depending on whose photo you have uploaded as you. You can write all manner of saucy comments and generally come across as the life of the party while the dishes build up in the sink, the kids run amok or while you’re waiting for the late night movie to start that you will actually be watching by yourself.

Because who’s going to know? No one! As far as your hundreds of “friends” are concerned you are one hot piece of work with an amazing life! If you like, you can also be super rich along with footloose and fancy free and whatever else you want to say about yourself. Most of this has already been done but with a bit of effort you should be able to come up with something new. Try not being blonde, for instance! I don’t think that’s been done yet.

But anyway, Facebook is also a good place to face-off with anyone who has rattled your cage because when it’s all said and done, it’s just a verbal in a virtual world. As opposed to same in the real world. In the real world those antics can get you thrown out of pubs and clubs, hauled away from parties and things by the local constabulary, literally booted out of the family get-together or just generally stomped on should your adversary switch from verbal to physical and when this happens it never ends well. Online though is a different matter which is why, I suppose, so may people save their meanest stuff for their online community. They can’t exactly chuck you out of your own loungeroom now, can they!

Facebook is also one of the best places to share the latest rumour/gossip/ general half-truth or on some (but rare) occasions, an actual fact because you can tell an amazing number of people all at the same time. It sure beats the phone where you can only pass it on to one person at a time unless you do it over a conference call but on the other hand, you can only fit so many people into a room around a telephone so….

Facebook is going to get it out there to thousands in just a second or two. Ditto your photos and videos and you can feel secure in the knowledge that all your most personal moments will only be seen by your 987 closest friends and no one else. It’s also the best way to share all your most telling secrets because the only ones who will be able to read them are all those friends mentioned above. Strangers just won’t get a look-in.

On the other hand, it’s probably not the best place to mention some things. Like, that you actually bumped off all your siblings so you can be the only one on the receiving end of the diamonds and the silverware when the time comes. Or that you intend to fast track the inheritance thingy because you want it all NOW!? Or change your relationship status to single if you haven’t got around to mentioning it to your other half. And for goodness sake, if you have stashed that huge inheritance in a secret room beneath the floor in the kitchen it would be strongly advisable not to mention that either! Or put up photos of the stash, the secret room and the clever little concealed latch set into the tiles. Common sense should tell you that but in case it hasn’t, I’m telling you, okay!

Anyway, when it’s all said and done, Facebook can be fun! It can put you in touch with long-lost friends and rellies and open up a whole new world which it will deliver faithfully into your home every time you sign in!

Just so long as they get rid of that @%$&#!!! Timeline!

I’m so over Reality television!

Is there a reality TV show out there where the contestants DO NOT CRY at the drop of a hat? Not that I’m a fan of reality TV but I see enough ads for these trashy shows and inevitably…someone is crying about something.

Are tears a prerequisite? Are contestants chosen on their ability to cry copious tears over nothing at all? What’s with all the crying anyway? Once upon a time when things happened to people they just dealt with it and then they got over it. They only cried if it was something truly catastrophic but then they got over that too.

They also took responsibility for any stupid decisions and/or less than wise lifestyle choices they may have made over the years and then either did something about it or did nothing about it but either way, whatever they decided to do, or not do for that matter, they took it in their stride and got on with it. So where did all that go?

Going by the ads for these banal productions, no one owns up to their own stupidity anymore. It is always the fault of someone or something else and they have to cry about whatever it is over and over again.

Seriously, I am so over it! But has anyone noticed that the content of reality television is seriously deteriorating? Like the one about mothers deciding which girl is going to be the most suitable to marry their sons. Well let me tell you something, if I was involved with a guy that needed his mother’s approval I would be outa there so fast! Actually, I would never have become involved with him in the first place. I mean, really! Then there’s the batch of cooking shows, the lose weight shows, the renovating shows, the makeover shows, the talent shows and the ship the unruly kid off somewhere else shows. Who comes up with this tripe? Even worse though, who are the program managers who are buying it?

Look, I’ll admit that in the beginning there was the novelty value but that wore off really quickly when every man and his dog jumped on the bandwagon and came up with their own reality garbage in the hope of making a heap of money out of it. The tragedy is that many of them did which led to more hoping to cash in on the boom and that means that many of the television stations are now screening a glut of reality shows and the poor viewer is left with not a lot of choice during the prime time slot most evenings now.

This is totally unfair on those of us that have no desire to sit there and watch wannabes cry over…well….nothing! Personally I’d rather read a book but there are those times when I actually don’t have one on hand and so it’s either watch cobwebs form or watch self-centred nobodies blubbering for the cameras. Like I said, I’m over it.

This vitriol also applies to things like the football and the cricket! It does not have to be all over the tele! Every night and all weekend! I mean it okay!

Programmers take note!


Supermarket protocol

There’s something irritatingly lacking regarding supermarkets these days, both in store and in the parking lot, and it’s something that appears to escalating. No one seems to have any manners anymore! Since when did the weekly shopping trip turn into every man/woman for his/her self? Could “supermarket rage” be waiting just around in the next aisle?

But before we get to that point I’d like to mention a few things that maybe the less thoughtful among us might like to take on board.

For starters, the Express checkout is exactly that. If you are pushing a trolley containing more than a handful of items then the Express checkout is not for you. Seriously, people with just a few items are going to object to you being in the line with a half-full trolley, especially those lined up behind you and as restraint is fast becoming a thing of the past you may find yourself on the receiving end of frozen chook to the face or something. Should this ever happen to you then you need to face up to the fact that it was Your Own Fault! Take it to one of the other checkouts in future, okay!

Secondly, no one appreciates being rammed repeatedly (or even just the once for that matter) with a trolley in the hands of a child who is acutely distressed over whatever it is you said “No” to. If you have a kiddie who’s prone to ramming random shoppers for whatever reason, please don’t bring it with you when you shop. Should you have to because you cannot coerce anyone into looking after it for you, try tethering it to the railing outside or something. Explain to Child Services that the kiddie is just going through that pretending-to-be-a-dog phase and actually attached itself to that rail. Instruct your lawyer to go into a lot more detail if you find yourself having to explain it all to a magistrate somewhere down the line.

While on the subject of children; the shelving units are not climbing frames nor are the items on them designed to be swept to the floor or used as missiles. Bear in mind that liquid things in glass jars splatter when the glass shatters and other shoppers within splattering range may react unfavourably. You can guarantee it actually.

Parking yourself in front of a shelf and refusing to move to allow another shopper to access the contents is not very polite. What they say or do to you as a result probably won’t be either but hey, what did you expect? When it comes to the crunch, if they really want that item they will either go through you or over you to get it. So why not just move, huh?

If something’s on a really good special, do you really have to grab the entire shelf stock? Chances are you actually don’t need five dozen cans of pickled sweet chilli celery sticks but a couple of other shoppers may have wanted at least a can or two. A little consideration can go a long way towards saving you from being mugged on your way past the frozen foods because those couple of other shoppers have tracked you down, man!

Queue jumping is another no-no. Regardless of how stealthily you inch yourself into the line, you can rest assured that the shopper you have cut in on is going to notice. And if they have brought their trolley-ramming child into the supermarket with them…

Outside in the parking lot you may have noticed the reasonably-sized rectangular spaces that are marked out side by side in straight rows throughout the area. These are car-parking spaces and under no circumstances should they be mistaken for trolley bays. The trolley bays are those narrow strips between the metal rails with the signs that say “Trolley Bay”. They are where you are supposed to place your trolley when you have finished loading your shopping into your vehicle. If the space beside your vehicle dos not have metal rails and a sign saying “Trolley Bay” then you can be certain it is another car space. Leaving your empty trolley in the middle of it prevents another shopper from parking there. The other shopper catching you in the act of dumping it just as they are about to turn into that space could lead to an unpleasant altercation and if they are still in their car and you aren’t in yours…trust me, they will win.

And finally, carparks inevitably have an “In” and an “Out”. If the huge four-wheel-drive vehicle entering the parking lot via the correct access totally annihilates you and your little hatchback because you decided to go out via the “In” then that’s also Your Fault. Even if they manage to miss hitting you, they may decide to chuck a u-ey and come after you and, when they catch you, will proceed to annihilate you and your little hatchback. And you could have avoided it all had you just gone out through the “Out”.

Some food for though, huh?






Planning a nice quiet day by yourself?

We all need one occasionally. A nice quiet day to ourselves where we can just veg out and do whatever. Such days can help you relax, rejuvenate and generally make you feel really good which is why they are such a good idea. What’s not a good idea is telling anyone you are planning to have one because they just won’t let you!

Now I’m not sure why it is, but the moment you say something like “I’m going to stay home by myself and have a ‘Me’ day” you can more or less guarantee that you won’t be having it by yourself. I don’t know, it seems to jinx it or something because nice and quiet it really isn’t because friends and aquaintances never really believe that’s all you’re doing and will insist on having it with you!

There are several totally over-the-top explanations for this. It could be because a) they think you may be having a breakdown or something that you haven’t shared every single detail about and therefore should not be left alone, b) have possibly formed a relationship you haven’t told them about with someone who is totally wrong for you and you’re planning to invite them over for you-know-what and so should definitely Not Be Left Alone! c) Are secretly up to something else or d) all of the above.

And that’s the problem. No one really believes you just want to have a lazy day to yourself to flop around in your trackies, read a good book, watch a good flick or just lie around the house doing absolutely nothing at all! Why don’t they get this? Don’t they ever have such days themselves? Whatever, they will either call you or turn up on your doorstep and that’ll be that and your “you” day will just crash from there. That’s why you don’t tell anyone.

It’s how the world seems to work these days. No one is allowed to have time out to themselves and if they say they want to then there must be something wrong with them and must be prevented at all costs from spending some time in their own company incase they Do Something! What sort of Something will depend largely on the type of people you tend to hang with so take your pick from the a), b), c) or d) options in paragraph three because you can be darned sure they will if you don’t.

Or you could be really creative with what you claim you do in your downtime and the less appealing it sounds, the better because everyone will probably opt to give you and your weird-A stuff a wide berth, leaving you free to spend your day doing what you really had in mind all along; to do absolutely nothing! A note of cautin though; choose your version of “weird-A” carefully or you could have your mother pounding on your door and begging you tearfully to explain to her where she went wrong followed by your father demanding to know how could you upset your mother like that and if you have siblings… well, they’ll never let you live it down. I mean, there’s weird-A and then there’s downright scary so don’t go overboard.

So you see, that’s why it’s better not to share your plans if they involve just spending the day on the couch doing nothing at all because it saves everyone from overthinking it and spares you from their undivided attention on a day when you’d rather be on your own.

And you won’t upset your mother.










Things we take for granted!

When you think about it there are probably several things we just take for granted because they’re always there…and then one day they’re not. Like clear skies and sunshine for instance! Here in Australia we have lots of clear skies and sunshine for most of the of the year and especially during the summer, and then the summer 2011/2012 came around and it just rained. Like, day and night for months now!

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate rain, but every single day? Week in, week out? Sorry, but I have to admit that as much as I appreciate it, I don’t need it as a constant in my daily life. Anyway this is how it has been going down around here and then out of the blue we got a hot sunny day last week and we all went nuts! People literally ran around with their lawnmowers, others did a sprint to the washing machine and it seemed everywhere I looked there were rows of shoes out on paths and window sills, drying out in the sun. There were at least four pairs sitting in the sun at our place which was a much better place for them that cluttering up the bathroom floor.

Everyone, including me, was almost hysterical about the fact the sun was actually out and it was even hot as well. It’s just that we hadn’t seen it for so long and that’s what I mean about taking things for granted. People everywhere were in awe and even smiling etc at complete strangers and that’s a dead giveaway that they were hyped to the max. I know I was! I did handwashing and got all excited about the fact that it was dry a short time later. It was such a novelty to see dry clothes on the line I even washed some other stuff, just to keep the euphoria going. I’m telling you, I was as high as a kite on sunlight!

Basically I just did everything I could think of to take advantage of the clear weather day on the off-chance that the following one would bring more rain, which of course it did. Several more days of it actually but hey, I had dry shoes and clean dry clothes so I was ready for anything.

And there hasn’t been another sunny day since so I’m glad I ran around like a chook without a head to take advantage of it but it did get me thinking, you know? I do like fine weather and like to get out in it on my days off, but I didn’t realise how much I loved it until that one day last week when for the first time in months we all saw the sun for a whole day and I ran around, happy as they come, doing things I would normally perceive as a chore! Funny, that!

But there you go. What I’m hoping for now is that another sunny one pops up again soon, even a string of them would be nice as it might allow the yard to dry out a bit. It’s almost a swamp right now and very squishy to walk across but at least it’s nice and green and lush, even if there’s inches of water just below the level of the grass that’s growing longer by the second. With several sunny days in a row I might even be able to do a dash around with the mower myself, before it segues from swamp to rampant jungle and our pets get lost out there in the “wilderness”! Hacking my way through it just to find them and get them in for dinner doesn’t hold much appeal and besides, I might find that other things have moved in too! Definitely not going there.

But anyway, I can see stars out there tonight. Moonlight even, and I’m crossing everything from my eyes to my toes that clear skies tonight mean a clear day tomorrow and we all get another dose of sunshine. I can feel the excitement building just at the thought!

Just so long as I can untangle myself in the morning.





The umbrella thing!

I’m starting to have some serious issues with umbrellas! Well actually, it’s probably with the people who manufacture them because they just ain’t what they used to be! Sure, I know there are bigger problems in the world today but right now, mine is umbrellas.

This has really hit home while Australia have been having the most rain we’ve had in years. The country had been in drought for 13 years to be exact so naturally, everyone was thrilled to the back teeth when the skies finally opened and this is where my umbrella issues come in. The things just don’t go the distance anymore and I’m sure I can remember a time when an umbrella would hang in there for years regardless of how it got handled and generally tossed around.

But my biggest issue with them is they they tend to pick their moments and how badly an umbrella is going to cop out on you is directly related to how far you are from the nearest shelter and how heavy the rain is falling. If it is only a light shower, your umbrella will happily stay up and intact as you go from A to B. Ditto if you are within inches of somewhere that puts you under cover, but the moment the rain turns torrential the darned thing will give up the ghost and the further you are from your car or some other form of shelter, the sooner it will do so, leaving you to the mercy of the elements!

This is so not cool!

But it does appear to be typical of the luck I’ve had with umbrellas of late and if it’s a sneaky tactic of umbrella manufacturers to up their profits then shame on the bloody lot of them and I splutter much profanity in their general direction for good measure! The thing is though, I’m not plussed on having torrents of heavy rain dumped on my head so I strongly object to umbrellas that decide to collapse or turn inside-out as soon as the really heavy stuff begins falling in earnest, leaving me wet, cold, miserable and with really, really bad hair. Sopping wet clothing is no picnic either!

And it’s not like I’m mean to them, you know? I don’t chuck them on the floor or trample on them. Bury them under shoes in the bottom of the wardrobe, let them get grotty, lock them in dark car boots or give them to the cat to play with. I don’t leave them alone in strange places. I am nice to umbrellas! I’ve always looked after mine and even had pleasant thoughts about their colour and things but apparently that all adds up to naught when I’m out and about and the rain starts falling hard. Now why is that?

I’ve also tried being understanding. I’ve resorted to flattering and cajolling. Even bribery! (just thought I’d try) But it has all been a complete waste of time as far as keeping me nice and dry is concerned and short of staying permanently indoors there’s not a lot else I can do. Well okay, I could just consign myself to getting seriously soaked to the skin and get over it but that’s not really the issue here. If I have taken the time to track down and purchase an umbrella then I expect it to do its thing and stay up, keeping me protected from the rain and that’s that! I mean, it’s not like it’s a big ask!

Like yesterday when I was out on the job, taking photographs of flooding around my local area. I was on foot but hey, no worries because I had my trusty umbrella with me! So who was I kidding! Up came a little wind, down came the heavy rain and kapput went the umbrella, leaving me stranded by the side of the road with only a jacket pocket to keep my camera dry. If I could have fitted myself into my own pocket I’d have joined the camera, I’m telling you now! Not being something I could manage however I just got seriously wet instead. Again…So. Not. Cool!

Anyway, the weatherman has predicted rain daily here for pretty much the entire month of March which leads me to ponder the next best thing for staying dry while out doing my everyday things. A jacket with bigger pockets perhaps…..?

Are telemarketers closet masochists?

This may initially look like an unfair question but if you really stop to think about it…it could be a possibility. Okay, people who are dead keen to work will take whatever they can get and I take my hat off to them for getting out there and getting on with it but seriously, telemarketing?

If ever there was a job designed to get you hung up on, hollered at, or just verbally abused in general it would have to be that job and before you deny it, think back to the last one that called you just as you were leaving for work, about to sit down for dinner or in the middle of your favourite television show that you have been waiting for all week and then tell me you were nice to that person who randomly called up to see if you wanted to change your phone carrier, buy a time-share or you’re not really sure what they wanted because English was very obviously not their first language.

I try to keep it nice (and really, really short) most of the time because I take into consideration how many times they’ve probably been on the receiving end of a verbal since their shift started and I don’t want to add myself to the tally but to be honest I could do without the call altogether. Especially one of those scammers trying to tell me my computer is “in danger” and I have to immediately switch it on and let them in to fix it. I just hang up on those guys. Ditto the ones telling me my telephone charges will be dropping dramatically as of the following week. They won’t be, okay, because I won’t be changing carriers but these guys will not take no for an answer so I have to be a bit mean and hang up on them too. But on the whole I try to keep it more or less civil.

I know people though who love it when a telemarketer calls because they like to play games with them. Like Twin I who answered the phone one day and the Indian or something guy asked, with stumbling difficulty “Am I speaking to Mrs Ashurst?” and Twin I replied in his very deep voice “Yes.” There was silence there for a second or two and then the guy hung up. Twin I thought it was hysterical! Or the time one of the computer scammers called a friend to “report” that all the computers in her town were “being threatened” and she answered “What? You mean all four of them?” And then another allows the telemarketer to struggle through their entire speil and when they pause for a response from him, he starts snoring! It backfired once though when the caller squealed down the phone “Wake up while I saying for you much information Sir!” Well possibly he asked for that and maybe he shouldn’t be so mean to those that call from overseas and are having trouble with the language.

But even the local ones come in for some flack. It could have something to do with their timing however and if they really wanted to avoid the angst spewing down the phonelines at them, maybe they could think about the time of day (or night!) before they dial. Most people don’t like being disturbed during dinner. They can also get a bit testy if the call comes in just as the goal of the match is being played, just as the most exciting part of the film/television show is happening, just as the toddler throws up on the carpet or the cat wants to go out. Under any of those circumstances people are unlikely to warm to some random calling them about random things. It’s just the way it is!

And that’s why I have to wonder sometimes about the masochist thingy. I mean, why else would they want to do it?