Friday, May 30, 2014


I received a bill today…wait, lemme go back a little.

Why do you do that?

Do what?

That "start and go back" thing.  What do you need it for?

It’s an artistic filigree. 

Is that what you call starting in the wrong place and being too lazy to go back and start again?

That stuff is for amateurs – deleting the first part and starting again – anybody can do that.  I keep things loose and natural, reinforcing the “illusion of spontaneity.”   

Some of find your "illusion of spontaneity annoying and transparent.  

What do you mean “some of us”?  I’m writing both of these parts.

Well then some of you must find it annoying and transparent as well.

Point taken.  And ignored.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh, yeah.   

I don’t have an iPhone.  Or an iAnything for that matter.  No, wait, I got a better one.  


What?  I’m supposed to throw away a superior idea in favor of “smoother storytelling”?  Be excited!  You are watching the creative process in action!  


Okay.  And this one, I’m staying with.

What I am offering comes in the form of an accusing finger emerging from the grave.  It’s like there’s a murder, and a document written by the victim is uncovered revealing to the world the identity of the murderer.  

You're right.  This is better.  It sounds like my interruption gave you time to come up with a juicier option.

Yes, but not all interruptions are equal.  This one, for example, just slowing me down.  


No problem.  Now…

If I am ever found dead in an alley, or anywhere else dead people whose homicides are of a suspicious nature are found, the first – and I would appreciate your passing this along to the authorities – the first people to take seriously as suspects are…

Verizon Wireless.

Why?  On SVU (which I don’t watch anymore), virtually the first question out of one of the crack investigator’s mouths is,

“Did he have any enemies?”

I have no enemies that I know of.  With the notable exception of…

Verizon Wireless.

Who, I believe, would be extremely happy if I were dead.

Why do they hate me?

Because I still have a flip-phone.

Why would they care about that?

Because I have the same “Phoning Plan” I had when I bought it.  And that phoning plan costs fifteen dollars a month.  Mine is likely one of the last of such plans that are still active.  It’s like having a “Rent Controlled” phoning plan.

Unless I change it, my cell phone charges will be fifteen dollars a month till I die. 

I know Verizon Wireless hates that, because when I took my phone in for servicing one time, they tried desperately to sell my an upgraded plan.  I adamantly said no, and they seemed very upset about it.  Upset enough to kill me?  All I know is, they were really angry.  And that was ten years ago.

What brings this to mind – beyond my natural paranoia – is that recently I received… okay, understand that for as long as I’ve had this phone…no, wait, before that… 

Boy, you are really "jumpy" today.

It’s Friday.  I need to first tell you that I almost never use my cell phone phone.  Because I’m home all the time and we have land lines where I primarily get calls from people and automated machines trying to sell me stuff rather than personal calls because I do not have a life. 

So relatively speaking, paying fifteen dollars a month for a flip phone that does little more than sit on a table in my hallway – at a hundred and eighty dollars a year – seems like an exorbitant amount of money.  I include this point in case your cell phone bills are substantially higher, and you cannot understand what I’m whining about.  Basically, my cell phone is a hood ornament that tells you the time.

Before ordering the “hit” – which I believe is their “alternative of choice” – Verizon Wireless has apparently chosen the preliminary option of driving me insane, in hopes, perhaps, that my madness will propel me to suicide, leaving their hands, in the “Letter of the Law” sense at least, spotless.

After years of receiving cell phone bills for fifteen dollars (plus tax and surcharges) a month, I was shocked and dismayed that my most recent Verizon Wireless cell phone bill was for eighteen dollars and ninety cents (plus tax and surcharges.)  Hardly a fortune, but a hefty increase nevertheless.  I would tell you what percentage that increase was, but that level of math is beyond my ability. 

I examined the bill for an explanation for this unexpected fee increase.  And there it was:

“Roaming Charges” - $3.90.

Now it’s true that during the month in question, I had actually used my cell phone once.  I had called Dr. M to pick me up from a play I had attended alone.  However, my understanding – and I am admittedly no expert on such matters – is that in order to be liable for additional cell phone payments, you have to either be calling from outside of your “Calling Area”, or you have exceeded the allotted number of minutes on your plan.

This was the first (and only) call I had made that month.  So I had not exceeded my “Minutes”, unless my ancient plan’s allotted number of “Minutes” was zero.  (I believe my actual allotted number of minutes was twenty.)  Also, since the theater I was calling from was no more than a mile away, I could hardly have incurred “Roaming Charges” unless my “Calling Area” was defined as “anywhere outside of my house.”

It appeared to me that the additional charge, designated as a “Roaming Charge”, had no justifiable explanation.  I considered calling them for a clarification, but I didn’t, figuring, “Why should I remind them that I am still alive?”  And allow them to keep me on the phone while they dispatch a Verizon Wireless-launched drone to obliterate me to a cinder. 

Clearly, these corporate behemoths were “messing with my head.”  Well, let me tell you something, boys. 

It is not going to work. 

I will never buy a new cell phone.  I will never upgrade my calling plan.  And now that I’m aware of the nefarious shenanigans you are up to,

I will never take that phone out of the house again

You’ll show them!

You bet I will!


Mike said...

Pay As You Go phones are cheaper. $5 to buy, $0 per month if you don't make outgoing calls.
The only phone I had until I got a landline for the computer.

JED said...

Besides your interesting story, Earl, and the thought of you evading Verizon's grip, I enjoyed your back and forth with Mr. Blue Text. I think you would have made a good ventriloquist - if you could get that "not moving your mouth" thing to work. But, then again, you're doing a blog so you don't have to worry about your mouth moving. You could be the world's first Blogging Ventriloquist. I think that's like being a magician on the radio. "For my next trick, I'll make my assistant disappear." Who'd know?

Flip Wilson said...

26%. I concocted that on my Verizon flip phone's calculator (ok, 9, 3, 2). You're right, 180 a year is a bit excessive for decorating your pocket. Would be interesting to hear Verizon's explanation of a Roaming Charge but I understand your reluctance to have any dealings with them. But, it's a good story!