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Telephone shows no mercy for sleepy college student

By H.G. Miller

H.G.MillerYou know how it is. I´m just trying to sleep, enjoying my favorite dream — the one with the girl from English class, several sandy beaches and the James Bond theme on repeat — when the shrill ringing of the telephone interrupts my quiet slumber.


“Mr. Miller?”


“Hi, this is the Lawrence Journal-World.”

“Yes, you called me yesterday.”

“But, today, we have an even better offer.”

Click. I roll over and try to find my way back to dreamland. But no, it´s 10 a.m. and somebody else doesn´t want me to sleep.


“Hi, it´s me, did I wake you?”


Click. I´m not sure who that was, but I figure they´ll call back if it´s important. My only concern right now is the new set of powder-blue flannel sheets I have yet to fully break in. Ring. I turn and look at the telephone with an intense hatred that it seems to brush away without any feeling at all. It rings again.


“Well, aren´t we grumpy.”

“Sorry, Mom.”

Okay, this is family. I can deal with a heartfelt phone call from my mother. I´m sure she´s just worried about losing touch with me as the years pass by.

“I just wanted to see if you were still coming home for Thanksgiving,” she tells me.

She hasn´t quite figured out that free food is hard to come by, and I´ll always be willing to spend a few hours on crowded highways to get it. So, I tell her of course I´m coming.

“What time do you think you´ll get here?”


Click. Enough of that. Sleep above sentimentality, you know. I think it´s just some innate thing that guys are born with. Anyway, which side was I laying on? Ring.

“Arg!” I shout many expletives at the telephone, but the blasted thing keeps ringing anyway.


“Hi, is your roommate home?”

“Is he ever home when you call at this time?”

“Well, I just thought...”

“Think about calling in the afternoon.”

Click. This is becoming absurd. Why don´t I just turn off the ringer?

That´s a nice, logical solution to my problem. Now, if I can just find the little switch. Ring. I drop the phone in fright. It did that on purpose, I just know it.

Meanwhile, whoever it is on the other end of the line speaks to the dead air.

“Hello? Hello?” After a while, he gives up, and I hear the dial tone humming from the receiver as it lays on the floor. I cautiously kick it back into place and wait. Trying to turn off the ringer only upset it, what can I do now? Ring.

I decide to be aggressive. The time for hesitancy has passed and all that.

“This had better be important,” I say into the phone.


“Come on, spit it out, I´ve got things to do.”

“Is this Mr. Miller?”

“It´s your lucky day.”

“Lay it on me.”

“We´re calling for donations to the policeman´s fund.”

“I donated $55 earlier this year.”

“Really? I don´t have your name on my list.”

“It´s on the ticket.”

Click. Ring. I see. It´s a game now. All right, little phone, bring it on.


“Are you okay?”

“I´m fine. What is it?”

“I can call back later, if it´s a bad time.”

“Look, I´m already up.”

“No, you don´t sound so good. I´ll call back later. Get some rest.”

Click. Okay, I don´t find this funny at all. I pace my bedroom and try to think of some rational end to this episode. I´m in college, I should be able to figure this out. After a quick trip to the bathroom (I did just wake up, you know), I decide to attempt dismantling the ringer again. Maybe I can sneak up on the thing. For a moment, I think I may be losing my mind.

Then, it rings again.

I pick up the receiver, while getting a firm grasp of the line coming out of the wall jack. I try to speak calmly.


“Hi. It´s your editor. I was just wondering if you were working on a column.”

“Yeah,” I tell her. “I´ve got an idea or two.”

“Great, do you think that... ”


H.G. Miller is a Hutchinson sophomore in English.



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