Thursday, April 24, 2008
"Church Offices, How may I help you?"
"Hi, Is the prophet there?"
"No mam, I am sorry but he will not be here until later this morning"
"Oh, well I need to speak to him about something."
"Ok, but he will not be here until later on, it is only 4:20 am right now."
"Oh, well I am having a divine experience and I need to talk to him about it. You see, I am a member of the Church and I am homeless and I just need some food because I am really hungry, and I need to talk to him about that."
"Alright, actually mam, you need to call back later when the offices are open and you need to Welfare Square."
Ok, will you take a reverse charge call?
"No, we can only take reverse charge calls if there is an emergency, like a stranded missionary or General Authority, but we do have a toll free number that I can give to you."
"Ok, so you won't take a revese charge call from me - even though I am homeless."
"That's right - we don't accept reverse cahrge calls unless it is an emergency."
"Well that is stupid"
"That may be so, but that is how it works"
(given toll free number)
"So I have to call back later on this number, and I can't speak to the prophet now?"
"Oh. Who will I get to speak to when I call back?"
"You will speak to an operator but you need to ask for Welfare Square."
"What is the name of the person that I will speak to at Welfare Square"
"You will speak to the receptionist at Welfare Square and she will connect you to the Transient Bishop"
"What is the Bishops name?"
"I don't know, sorry"
'Ok, you have a good night and call back later."
Oh, one more thing.
"What is the Prophet's name?"
"President Thomas S. Monson"
"Oh, I think I heard the other guy died."
(Line goes dead)
Monday, April 21, 2008
The thing that bugs my sister most in the world is that people often tell us that we are so much alike. In fact many people ask us if we are twins, she HATES this more that anything else. I actually do not mind at all and think it is quite amusing, therefore I used to be quite hurt by this blatant display of hostility on her part - I mean how bad could it be to be like me? I am pretty amazing!! Well, I never considered how hard it must have been for her all of these years, always being compared to me, always being told how 'exactly alike' we are. She felt like she had no personality of her own - rather that she was a shadow of me.
Anyway, then one day we found this poem that perfectly and completely explains our personalities. Now I am sure that most of you are familiar with the traditional 'Ant and Grasshopper' fable told by Aesop but this was a re-written version that I had never heard before. It was brilliant. Where most people would read this and see parts of themselves in either the ant or the grasshopper - or maybe a collaboration of the two, when Katie and I read it, it was a shock. There were not parts of us in the description but rather it described our personalities fully and completely. I AM THE GRASSHOPPER and Katie IS THE ANT. We finally realized that we were not alike, in fact we are exact opposites, but we were so different that we complement each other so completely and therefore people assume that we are very alike.
Here is the story that started our journey of self discovery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The Ant and the Grasshopper
It is winter and the grasshopper is walking in the snow talking to herself, and answering herself. She wears a yellow slicker because she could not find her parker, which is buried in the debris under her bed. She is eating a brownie and drinking a carton of milk bought from the 7-Eleven which, thank heaven, is open 365 days a year. The door in the tree where the ants live swings open. The queen ant appears and says to the grasshopper, "We are bored to death. Won't you tell us a story or at least a good joke? Our teenagers are driving us crazy; maybe you could write them a play to perform, or just a road show? Do you have any ideas for a daddy-daughter party?"
The grasshopper replies that she has ideas for all of them. So the ant invites her in and seats her at a spotless kitchen table with pencil and paper, and the grasshopper writes the road show.
The ant feeds her guest a slice of homemade bread, fresh from the oven, and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. "How do you get all of these ideas?" she asks the grasshopper.
"They come to me," says the grasshopper, "while I am taking long hot baths."
(Story by Tom Plummer)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I answer calls that come into Church Offices from all over the world. The fun thing about this is that you get to speak to a great collection of people with a great collection of problems and questions which I then have to decipher and send them to the right place to get help for what they need.
I am amazed at how many people call up wanting to speak to a General Authority with problems that could easily be handled by a Bishop or Stake President. Especially as last Sunday there was a statement from the First Presidency that was read in every ward that asked people not to call the General Authorities for trivial things - they just do not have the time to talk to everyone, although I am sure they would love to be able to have that amount of time to talk to us.
I am just amazed by the range and randomness of people's questions. Like the woman who wanted a meeting with President Eyring because "I am Chinese, and um, well, I just want to". Or the person who wanted to know how she could have her deceased pet sealed to her, or maybe the woman who wanted to find out how to legally marry her fiance after he passed away because she could not marry him now because he has Alzhiemers. Of course, we also have our regular callers, the drunk, the swearers and the lonely who just want to talk. It makes work a pretty interesting place and I would not be without these people who make my work day so enjoyable.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
ONIOMANIA: An irresistable urge to buy things. Oniomaniacs often marry each other.
THERMANASTHESIA: Inability to feel heat and cold. The use of this term might be justifiably adapted to signify sensitivity to one or the other. Each of us knows someone who may be found rejoicing, coatless in the bracing early morning air of a late winter's day; and each of us knows someone who may be found huddled over the radiator, shivering on a balmy srping evening. Fate has decreed that the two invariably marry each other.
OLIGOPHAGOUS: Eating only a few particular kinds of food. This is the recommended word for use in those embarrassing situations when your hostess serves up for your four year old son a main course consisting largely of something which is anathema to him. As soo as you sense the alliaceous miasma, you say, apologetically: "I'm a little embarrassed to have to confess this, but I am afraid he has a oliphagous condition; I wonder if you have any dry biscuits - or perhaps something else a little, er, plainer?" Used with sufficient finesse, this technique can lead to his being presented with a plateful of sausage rolls.
THEOMANIA: A psychopathic condition in which the sufferer believes himself to be God.
STEATOPYGOUS: Fat- buttocked.
FOPDOODLE: An insignificant fool.
BELESPRIT: A finer spirit, an intellectually gifted person.
And my favourite definition which does not describe a person but is a rather common word with a rather uncommon problem concerning it's place in the English grammer system.
NONE: Not any. The interest here lies in the questions, much debated in the past of whether the word is singular or plaural. The argument used to be that since one was singular, and since none was derived from no one, then none should have a singular verb. In practice, of course it is used equally if not more freely with a plaural verb. In any event the argument is absurd, since the word refers neither to a single entity nor to multiple entities; it refers to a nullity, and hence calls for the development by a creative linguist of an entirely new conjugative inflection. Unfortunately 'creative linguist' is an oxymoron.
I love these words, in fact my sister bought me the complete set of 'The Superior Person's Guide to the English Language', also written by Peter Bowler, and I just love them. They remind me of Oscar Wilde's quote 'to be great is to be misunderstood'.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
My new favourite store in the world is Deseret Industries. I went there for the first time last night and I think it is the most humorous place in the world. I bought quite a few casette tapes (who even has those anymore!!), they are totally amazing. My favourite purchase of the night was a cassette that had the title 'shaking it loose with Mother Goose'. It is actually a children's tape of nursery rhymes but I was sooooo tickled by that title that I felt compelled to blog about it.
All of these childrens tapes reminded me of tapes that I had when I was little. We were always singing in our family, in fact I think that we did most of our learning through song. I remember songs about obeying, songs for safety, songs to say please and thank you and songs about manners. In fact all that I can remember about growing up in our house was singing, when we were not singing one of the many 'learning songs' that my mother taught us, then we were singing primary songs from the songbook. It is surpising that after all of this singing in our family - not one of us is a very good singer!!!
Here is a sample song for your entertainment:
"There are 2 little magic words,
that can open any door with ease.
One little word is 'THANKS' and
the other little word is 'PLEASE'"
If you want to hear any of the others then just ask - I will be happy to sing them too you!!!!