(Apparently my cell number has been provided to a database for scammers, for I was inundated by scam calls throughout the day from an outfit claiming, in thick and sometimes difficult to decipher accents, to be “The United States Government Grants Department.” Apparently I’d been selected, completely at random, to receive a $9,000 government grant which—bonus—they said I didn’t ever have to pay back. Further details as to how any of that worked were hard to come by during the first three of these calls, though, because the scammers immediately hung up on me at the first hint of skepticism on my part. Maybe it was my tone of voice when I said “Okaaaaay” to their question of if I’d like to know why I deserved such a grant. Or maybe it was when I said such innocent phrases like “This is a total scam. You’re a scammer. Remove my number from your database and never call me again, never ever.” Yet, they kept on calling. Around once an hour. For the whole afternoon. So during the fourth call I decided to have fun.)
ME—(Seeing the same area code as before. Flatly.) Hello?
*call center background noise over the line but no response*
ME—(Even more flatly.) Hello?
SCAMMER #4— Hello, yes, I am calling to speak with… (customary two second pause as he decides not to even attempt the last name) Edic?
ME— This is him.
ME— This is HIM.
SCAMMER #4— Hello, Edic. I am calling from the Yoonited States Guvurmint Crentz Department.
ME— I’m sorry, what was that last part?
SCAMMER #4— The Yoonited States Guvurmint Crentz Department.
ME— The “crentz” department?
SCAMMER #4— Yes.
ME— What’s a “crentz department?”
SCAMMER #4— I am calling you today, Edic, to tell you that you have been selected at random to receive a crent for $9,000…
(As he’s talking I begin singing in a low quiet voice that slowly increases in volume during the duration of the scammer’s spiel, and sung to the tune of Monty Python’s “Spam Song”)