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After the Beep..!
By Robert Clements
Today as I hear metallic, dead call centre voices answering every call, I thought I'd write something on these machines that have replaced the good human voice:

It happened over twenty years ago, when answering machines were rare and scarcely known in our country. I had acquired a piece from the US and had got it installed next to my telephone. The machine had two recorded voices, one male and the other female, and the selected voice proclaimed to the caller, that the person to whom the call was made to was not available and to leave their message after the beep.

My wife went off to work and I put on the female voice and waited to see the reaction of the first caller. The caller was my mother in law. "Hello," she said sweetly. "We can't come to the phone right now," said the recorded voice in its American accent, "so please leave your name and number...."

"Who are you?" shouted an agitated mother in law, "and what are you doing in my daughters house while she is away at work?"

Well we haven't stopped laughing, though it's been years but like I said, hearing her voice today triggered off this piece on answering machines. Mad magazine helped me with some funny stuff of what the answering machine messages of some famous literary characters would have been. Here goes:

"This is Rip Van Winkle I'm not in right now, but if you've got the time to wait-like 20 years or so, just leave your name and the year you called, and I'll get back to you, if you're still alive by then!"

"This is Count Dracula! I'm not in my coffin right now, but what do you expect from a fly by night operation? If you'd like to hear from me, just state your name, address and blood group at the sound of the shriek..!"

"This is Dr Jekyll! I'm not taking any calls right now because I never know when I'm going to become Hyde, so I've left this message on my answering machine...which I really want to smash into little pieces and destroy! Kindly leave your name and at the sound of the beep, and I'll....stab, bludgeon, mangle and murder-and run screaming through the streets with the blood of my victim...!"

"KREEGAHH, this is Tarzan, I'm not in my house right now, so leave your name and number at the sound of AAAIYAHEEYAHEEE..!"

"Sherlock Holmes here! I prefer not to take your call at this time! However, at the sound of the beep, you may leave your name! From this brief utterance, I shall be able to determine your sex, age, birthplace, education, position in life and what manner of foul play compels you to seek my services. The rest dear caller is elementary."

"Hi this is Invisible Man! I'm not at home right now...but even if I were here, who would really know?!"

"This is Robinson Crusoe! My man Friday didn't show up at my hut to take my calls. Not that it matters...since I haven't had one in 31 years. Still (sigh) when you hear the sound of the beep!"

Ah well we have to live with our creations..!

News Updated at : Friday, July 5, 2013
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