Actual Conversations Heard

Actual Conversations Heard at My House #783

(SETTING: My house as the wife and I sit on the sofa, her trying to read something on her phone and me trying to interrupt her process.)

ME—   I gave Moosie my apple core.

WIFE— Uh huh.  

ME—  He loves them.  You could tell, by the way he clamped down on it gently in his mouth, that he was grateful.

WIFE— Uh huh.  

ME—  Like he was saying, “Thank you very much for this apple core, Pa.  I am indeed your buddy…”

WIFE— Uh huh.  

ME—  “And I love you…”

WIFE—  Uh huh.  

ME—  “More than Mama…”

WIFE—  All right.

Actual Conversations Heard Following Actual Colonoscopies #1 (a.k.a. TMI Theatre 3000)

NURSE– (shaking my shoulder) Eric? Eric? We’re all done now. Your procedure’s finished.

ME– (Blinking) Really? Wow. That didn’t seem like–


ME– Ohhhh… my lord. I am SO sorry!

NURSE– Not a problem. We hear it all the time.

While I was mortified to have involuntarily released such an assvacuation in front of far more strangers than you’d normally care to (a few of which were, fortunately, still yet-to-be-awakened following their own procedures), it was understandable. Part of the colonoscopy process is to pump your guts full of air to help give the scope a better view of the interior of said guts and to give the surgeon room to snake seven feet of it through them. It was but the first of many such ventings to follow. Including one, 20 minutes later, in the restroom of Olive Garden, where I thought I was totally alone and therefore free to let fly, only to hear the voice of some poor soul who’d quietly slipped into the room cry, “Daaaayuuum!” mid-way through my effort. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the presence of mind to scream, “Don’t fart-shame me, dude, I just had a colonoscopy!”

BTW: To my fellow humans who may be due for a colonoscopy and dreading it, mine was really easy and not worth stressing over. The worst part is the prep, where you have to get rid of the contents of your guts by drinking half a gallon of Miralax-laced Gatorade a pint at a time. It’s not pleasant, but it’s doable. My part of the procedure was basically to get nekkid, save for an ill-fitting gown, then answer the same ten questions asked by five different people, then take the best nap ever. As for my results, I am told my colon is immaculate, they didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, and it was so clean you could eat off it.

See ya again in 10 years, colon!

Actual Conversations Heard from my Patio #86

SETTING: My patio, where I’m sitting as the wife emerges from our nearby workshop/outbuilding, a.k.a. “The Shop.”

THE WIFE– Hey, Poo, I got a request for you.
ME– Yeah?
THE WIFE– I’m gonna need you to not keep your grandfather’s bullwhip coiled up on the floor of the shop… right behind the door… right where I have to stand to turn on the light… looking an awful lot like a coiled up snake.
ME– Mm. Yeah, I saw that and thought it might be a problem. But I didn’t do it on purpose.
THE WIFE– Uh huh.
ME– I’d had the whip hanging above the door, wrapped around its wooden handle, but it fell, then got pushed behind the door the next time someone opened it.
THE WIFE– Falling on me from above the door would have been way worse.
ME– Yeah. Gotcha.

Actual Conversations Heard at My House #234

SETTING: My house, as my wife is seated in front of the TV, flipping through the viewing choices on Amazon Prime while me and the mother-in-law look on. I spy one of the choices as she flips past it, a movie with a poster that features a closeup of a brightly lit shot of the face of actor Florence Pugh, with pretty flowers in her hair, screaming in anguish.

ME– You should watch Midsommar.

THE WIFE– Really?

ME– Yeah.

(There is a pause as the wife scrolls back to it and starts to read the description.)

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW– What’s Midsommar?

ME– Ohhh… just an incredibly unsettling horror movie set entirely in bright sunlight.

THE WIFE– I don’t want to see that! Why would you tell me to watch that?

ME– I was gonna stop you.

THE WIFE– Yeah, right.

ME– I didn’t think you’d watch it to begin with. I figured you hear the evil mirth in my voice and know better.

THE WIFE– Uh huh.

(Long pause)

ME– You should watch Hereditary.

“The Talkin’, Ayyyym offended, If that IS your Real Name, End of an Era, Friiiiiitz Call Blues” (a.k.a. “Actual Telephone Calls Heard at My House over the Course of a 15 Year Period #332”)

When I worked as a morning drive radio DJ, back in the ’90s, frequently we would get calls from people who wished to complain about something they heard on the radio which had offended them.  Trouble was, with very few exceptions, the thing they heard that had offended them had been said by an on-air personality on a completely different radio station than the one I was employed by.  Yep, whenever John Boy and Billy said something saucier than most decent folks cared to hear, the O-ffended of Northeast Mississippi had no other recourse than to open the phone book, pick a radio station at random, and then call me or my morning show partner to lecture us about something we’d not even said.  We called these the “Ayyyym offended” calls, since they always began with that phrase.

For the past 15 years, my wife and I have experienced a different but still related telephonic behavior in what we’ve come to refer to as the “Friiiiiitz” calls. 

Way back, around 2006, our land line rang at 3 a.m., waking us up.  Since 3 a.m. is outside the normal hours of telephone conversations, we naturally expected the call to be from a relative bearing tragic news.  I braced myself for the worst as I answered the phone.


(noise…  noise… labored breathing)

ME— Hello?

(noise…  noise…)


ME— I’m sorry, what?

CALLER— Is this Friiiiitz?

ME— Um, this is Eric Fritzius.

(labored breathing)

CALLER— Is this Friiitz… from Fritz’s Pharmacyyyyy?

ME— No, I’m afraid it’s not.  My name is Eric Fritzius.

(noise… noise… labored breathing)

CALLER— You’re not… Friiitz?

ME— No. 

(noise… noise… labored breathing)

CALLER— Do you have… Fritz’s number?

ME— Uh, no.  I’m sorry, I don’t.

(labored breathing)

CALLER— I need… to call… Friiiitz.  I’m having…  an emergency.

ME— Uhh…   (Looks to my wife, who, at the time, was a medical resident and who presumably might be of help)  She says she’s having an emergency?

WIFE—(firmly and distinctly) Tell. Her. To call. 9.1.1. Or go. To the E.R. 

ME— Ma’am.  I’m sorry, but if you’re having a medical emergency, you need to call 911 or go to the emergency room.

(noise… noise… labored breathing)

CALLER— I caiiint dooo thaaaat.


That was the first of at least a dozen such hour-of-the-wolf “Friiiiitz” calls we have since received.  I’m pretty sure that same lady has been responsible for many of these calls, but a few other folks have called as well.  Folks who have experienced what they have deemed to be a medical emergency, at 3 a.m.; folks who then decided to phone up, not their doctor or otherwise a trained emergency medical professional, but instead their favorite pharmacist, Fritz, because that makes a metric ton of sense; folks who then opened their white pages to F, at 3 a.m., located a last name that shares five letters with the name Fritz—which, it should be noted, is not actually the real Fritz’s last name to begin with, as “Fritz” is a nickname the real Fritz uses in place of his real first name—and then these folks blindly phone said number in the assumption that they’ll reach the Fritz they want. And every time—every single time—no matter if it’s the original lady caller or some other rando, when told we are not the Fritz they’re looking for, these folks always ask if we have Fritz’s number.  Because all Fritzes know one another, I guess? 

No, we most certainly do not have Fritz’s number. We have gone to great lengths not to have Fritz’s number—and by “great lengths,” I mean we have never bothered to check if Fritz’s number is actually listed. And our reason for this willful ignorance is because if we were to look up Fritz’s number then we would have Fritz’s number, and the fact that we would still not be willing to give his home number out, at 3 a.m., to people who should be calling 911 in the first place, would mean we would feel extra guilty for willingly withholding said information should they die from the medical emergency they refused to call the proper medical assistance to assist with.  Instead, we have always been polite when such calls come in, but always advise the callers that in genuine medical emergencies the only number they need to phone is, in point of fact, 911. With great frequency, the reply to this suggestion is the declaration: “I caiiint dooo thaaaat.” So far none of the callers have elaborated as to why they can’t. 

In 2008, we relocated from Greenbrier County to Mercer County.  There are no Fritz’s Pharmacy locations in Mercer County, though, so our “Friiiiiitz” calls came to an end, and the only 3 a.m. calls we occasionally received were medical emergencies involving patients in the hospital for whom my doctor wife was genuinely responsible.

In 2012, we moved back to Greenbrier County, got a brand new land line phone number, listed it in the phone book, and waited in anticipation.  Sure enough within the first two months, right on time at 3 a.m., the phone rang.

ME— Hello?

(noise…  noise… labored breathing)


ME— No.  No, this is not Fritz.  This is the Fritzius residence.  We are not related to Fritz from Fritz’s Pharmacy.

(noise…  noise…)

FEMALE CALLER— This is not Friiiitz?

ME— No, it is not. 

(3… 2… 1…)

CALLER— Do you have– ?

ME— No, we do not have Fritz’s number. Again, we are not related to Fritz. Our name only shares five letters with his name.

(Okay, we’re not ALWAYS polite.)

CALLER— I need… to call… Fritz.  I’m having… an emergency.

ME— Then you need to call 911 or go to the emergency room.

(3… 2… 1…)

CALLER— I caaaiiint do thaaaat.


In the years since our return, these calls have continued, albeit not often.  Most have been from folks other than the usual lady.  Some have even occurred during actual daylight hours.  We still have not had Fritz’s number.

At least…

…until today.

While writing this, and after 15 years of steadfastly avoiding the task, I finally looked up Fritz’s home number.  Turns out, it’s been right there in the phone book the entire time, listed under Fritz’s very own name. However, the callers would still have been unable to determine which number was truly his even if they had known his actual last name, because “Fritz” was smart enough not to have his phone number listed under his nickname either.  Instead “Fritz” used his real first name, which also starts with F but is also not Fritz.  In other words, the real Fritz doesn’t want these calls any more than us Fake Shemp Fritzes do. 

And the reason why I finally looked up Fritz’s number? Only because the days of the 3 a.m. Friiiiitz calls are now probably at an end.  You see, the real Fritz recently sold his chain of pharmacies to CVS, and will no longer be dispensing meds under that name. I figured it was finally safe not only to have a look at his number but to tell this story. 

It’s the end of an era for sure, but I am astounded that with all the hullabaloo of Fritz transferring his customers’ pharmaceutical records to CVS, we’ve not received even one “Friiiiitz” call about it.

Might go so far as to say, “Ayyyyy’m offended.”

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Doctor’s Offices #83

NURSE—And has anything changed in your medications?

ME—No, I don’t think so. My doctor had me on an antibiotic recently, but other than that I don’t think anything has changed.

(The nurse goes down a list of my medications and supplements until she reaches…)

NURSE— And are you still taking the… Ninjacof?

ME—Um, Ninja Cough? That doesn’t ring any bells.

NURSE— Ninjacov… ninja cough… I guess that’s how this is pronounced.

ME—Well, if I was taking anything else, I would certainly hope it had “ninja” in the title, but that’s not one I’ve ever taken.

(Made her laugh. She then looked up Ninjacof, which turns out to be a cough and sneeze suppressant. I’ve indeed never taken it nor heard of it. Neither of us knew how it managed to get into my record. Must be ninjas.)

Actual Breakfast Table Conversations Heard at My House #117

(Setting: the breakfast table at my house as we’re polishing off the beautiful French toast my moms-in-law made for us. Having finished hers, the wife takes out her current knitting project–a fancy scarf knitted on the bias–to start a new row.)

THE WIFE– (to her mom) I think I figured out why I keep getting extra stitches in this…

ME– (interrupting) Have you been snitching?


ME– Have you been snitching? (beat) Cause snitches get stitches?

(Long pause)

THE WIFE– You are a dork.

Actual Semi-Paraphrased Telephone Conversations Heard at My House on Saturday #386


ME Hello?

AVA’S FLOWERS—Hi, I’m calling for Eric Frizzzoo?

ME—This is him.

AVA’S FLOWERS—Yes, I’m calling from Ava’s Flowers. We got your message requesting a refund and wanted to call and talk to you about this?

ME— Yes.

AVA’S FLOWERS— I understand there was a delay in the delivery of your flowers. Would it be all right if we made the delivery of the flowers tomorrow?

ME— No, it would not be. You see, the flowers were for my wife’s birthday, which was yesterday. And because the flowers were not delivered yesterday, I had to make other arrangements and buy flowers elsewhere. So, no, we have no use for flowers delivered tomorrow.

AVA’S FLOWERS— I see. Well, again, we are very sorry for the late delivery of the flowers. But are you really certain that you would not want us to go ahead and deliver them tomorrow?


ME—Yes. I am really REALLY certain.

AVA’S FLOWERS— Very good, sir. If you would just stay on the line for a few moments, I will be right back.

(Five minutes pass before she returns to cheerfully tell me that I will be issued a full refund. Let this be a lesson to you all: Just because a florist is listed first in a Google search of “Rainelle WV Florist” does not mean they are A) actually located in Rainelle; and B) worth a flying fleur. Ava’s, it seems, is some kind of fly-by-night internet outfit that allegedly coordinates florists nationwide to provide local delivery. But their site masquerades as a local florist that has allegedly been in business for 30 years. However, if you Google search “Ava’s Flowers complaints” you will see that actually getting flowers delivered to their customers on time is not really Ava’s bag. You will also be directed to the Better Business Bureau for many many more complaints concerning Ava’s Flowers. Next time, just do what I wound up having to do and go get a lovely arrangement from Kroger.)

Actual Telephone Conversations with Actual Insurance Companies Heard at My House #604

SETTING: My house as I speak to a USAA rep regarding my vehicle, which struck a deer 30 miles from home during my return trip from Mississippi.

INSURANCE REP— … and I understand the damage to the vehicle is along the left front corner, and along both door panels?

ME– Yes.

INSURANCE REP– And I understand the driver’s side door no longer opens?

ME– Yes. I had to climb out through the passenger door. But it still drives fine.

INSURANCE REP– Well, sir, we actually consider the car to be undriveable at this point. If you were to drive it and something were to happen to the passenger door, and it was not able to open either, how would you be able to get out of the vehicle?

ME– Dukes of Hazzard style!



(I was just glad she got the reference.)


(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?”

*noise* noise*

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”)

ME— Scam scam Scam SCAM. SCAM scam Scam SCAM. Lovely Scaaaaam. Wonderful Scaaaaaaaaaaam! Lovely Scaaaaaam. A wonderFUL…

SCAMMER #4— (Catching on, but failing to interrupt my momentum) Sir… Sir, prove to me this is a scam. Sir…


(Big breath)



SCAMMER #4— (Tenaciously still on the line) Prove to me this is a scam, sir.

ME— Well, you’re calling from a Florida area code, so there’s a start.

SCAMMER #4— I’m going to hang up the phone now.

(Not before I do.)

Actual Conversations Heard at My House #87

(Setting:  My house, as the wife spots the now semi-empty steel can we’ve been using to collect bacon grease.)
THE WIFE–  What happened to all the bacon grease?
ME– I threw it away in the trash.
THE WIFE– Why didn’t you just throw away the whole can?
ME– So I could reuse the can for more bacon grease. And so I wouldn’t have to throw away a can.
(Long pause)
THE WIFE– You are officially the Recycling Nazi.
ME– I prefer “Recycling Fascist.”
THE WIFE– (Coming over to tickle me) More like “Recycling Fat-scist.”
(Pass the bacon, y’all.)

Actual Conversations Heard at My House #459

(Setting: our living room, as the end credits roll on our six-month-old DVRed copy of JUSTICE LEAGUE, a movie which I have only now finally got around to watching and which my wife has only now finally got around to reading a book during, punctuated by long stretches of looking over the edge of her iPad to stare at Jason Mamoa as Aquaman, a little drool running out of the edge of her mouth.)

ME—  Huh.  Well, as not great as that movie was, it was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be.

THE WIFE— (grinning) Isn’t there a movie with just Aquaman in it?

ME—Yes.  It’s called “Aquaman.”  And it is in theaters now.

THE WIFE— (Giggles)  I would go see that.  (Sly grin.)  Maybe they’ll have more scenes of him drinking and stomping around.

ME—(Stunned)  You liked that, huh?

THE WIFE—(Beaming) Uh huh!

ME—You are a puzzle I will never solve.  When I drink and stomp around you say I’m an alcoholic.

THE WIFE—Yeah, but I have to live with you.

(Cut to the following evening, as we emerge from the local cinemaplex having viewed all 2 hours and 22 minutes of Aquaman.)

THE WIFE— That was a terrible movie

ME— Indeed.

THE WIFE— But Jason Mamoa was pretty.

ME— He was prettier than Amber Heard and her clown wig.


Actual Conversations Heard at Bedtime at My House That Only People Who Watched a LOT of Saturday Morning TV in the Late `70s, but Whose Wife Did Not, Will Get #34

(SETTING: My house. I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth like a good boy. The wife is climbing into bed, exhausted, teeth unbrushed.)

THE WIFE– I’m going to bed. I don’t think I have the energy to even brush my teeth tonight.

ME– (Through toothpaste) Better watch out, or you’ll get a visit from the Cavity Creeps.

THE WIFE– The Cavity Creeps? What do they do?

ME– (Adopts Cavity Creep voice) “They MAKE holes in TEETH! They MAKE holes in TEETH!”

(Laughs maniacally at own joke.)

THE WIFE– You are officially an idiot.

Actual Bedtime Conversations Heard at My House #283

SETTING: It’s 10 p.m., time for be’bye nite nites and the dogs are dragging tail doing their business outside. Being sleepy, I mistakenly yell at our eldest and whitest dog, Sadie, to get her “brown butt” in the house instead of yelling the same at middle dog Moose, whose butt is genuinely brown. The wife, back in the house, thinks I’m saying something to her.

THE WIFE– Did you say something?

ME– (Entering bedroom) I was telling Sadie to get her brown butt in the house.

THE WIFE– Sadie’s butt is not brown. She doesn’t have any brown on her anywhere. Except her eyes. They’re brown. But they have cloudy gray cataracts.

ME– That’s the worst Lucky Charm ever.


ME– Cloudy Gray Cataracts are the worst Lucky Charm ever.


THE WIFE– What are you talking about?

ME– Y’know…. Pink Hearts, Yellow Moons, Orange Stars, Green Clovers, Cloudy Gray Cataracts, Blue Diamonds…

(long pause)

THE WIFE– You are an idiot.

ME– Come on, that was a nice piece of business.

THE WIFE– You’re a bad piece of business.

What I should have said…

WHAT I *SHOULD* HAVE SAID TO THE TELEPHONE CENSUS WORKER WHO’S BEEN TELEPHONICALLY HOUNDING OUR HOUSEHOLD FOR THE LAST SEVERAL DAYS WHEN HE FINALLY CAUGHT ME AT HOME YESTERDAY: “I’m sorry, but I’m currently in the throes of some as-yet-undiagnosed anger management issues and am therefore incapable of conducting this call in anything approaching a non-sarcastic tone, at best, and which will in all likelihood grow into naked belligerence and assholitry as the call progresses. And let me be clear that the reason for my anger is due entirely to the realization of how the next half hour of my life is going to be spent–which is to say, talkin’ ta you. Now, I realize it is our civic and legal duty to conduct census interviews, even the inconvenient and time-consuming ones such as your American Community Survey– a census survey, I might add, which asks more pressing and detailed questions about our personal financial data than are even required by the IRS. And given that civic and legal duty, I would normally like to be of assistance, especially since you have now assured me that this is to be our penultimate interview in the seven, count `em, SEVEN, semi-consecutive monthly interviews for this survey. (To your credit, you did take eight months off after the first four.) However, my suspicion that, as in the previous six interviews, the same questions will be repeated on multiple occasions during this interview session (beyond just asking the same questions about me and additionally about my wife, meaning multiples of two) will cause me to become further enraged at having to participate, as will the fact that our answers have essentially remained unchanged throughout our aforementioned six previous monthly interviews. Add to this the fact that the very specific financial information you seek to gather from us is of the sort that can be quite difficult to determine off the top of one’s head if you’re a freelancer as I am (such as the fact that I don’t always know how many hours I spent working on a freelance job if I am not being paid by the hour for it; and even if I was working by the hour, I don’t have that information on my person at all times). I fear therefore that this interview will only further fuel my ire at having to conduct it in the first place. This being the case, it’s probably best for all of us that you call back on another day, preferably one when my wife is home. I’m not saying she won’t be as irritated by your interview as I am, but she is at least able to mask it more skillfully than I am currently able. Thanks so much. Buh bye.”

WHAT I *ACTUALLY* SAID WAS: “How long will this call take?”

And this is the point at which the census worker tipped the scales of assholity for me by blatantly lying in his reply of, “A couple of minutes.” For he then proceeded to put questions to me at the speed, though not the level of annunciation, of the Micro Machines guy for the next 25 minutes. This speedy delivery required me to keep interrupting him, every third question, to ask for him to repeat said question. And despite his own timetable of “a couple of minutes” he somehow seemed annoyed with me when I interrupted at seven minute intervals to point out that my stopwatch was proving his “couple of minutes” woefully more inaccurate as the seconds ticked by. I eventually suggested that he should get around to looking up the definition of the word “couple” before tossing it about so freely, as some of us actually know that definition (“two people or things of the same sort considered together”), and even by the standards of its loosest and most idiomatic meaning (“more than two but still very few”) fourteen minutes does not fall within that range. At my next stopdown, 21 minutes in, he suggested that if I hadn’t kept interrupting him so much then the interview really would have been over in a couple of minutes. He actually said that. And this was the point at which I was compelled to suggest further that he may not know how words or time work.

Should have gone with option #1.

Actual Conversations I Personally Witnessed On a Cruise Ship Last Week

Dressed in our casual formal finest, my wife and I approached the host station of the ship’s main dining room hoping to get a table for dinner.  In line ahead of us, however, was an older man on a Rascal Scooter, who was clad in a formal dinner jacket and what appeared to be loose, baggy, white pajama shorts, from which were sticking his knobby-kneed pale bird legs.
MAN– You mean I have to go all the way back upstairs just to put on pants?! Aw, come on!!!
The maître d tried gamely to inform the man and his wife that the restaurant could indeed find a table for them if they insisted, but he suggested it would really be for the best if the man simply went and put on pants. The bird-legged man then attempted a three point turn on the Rascal, in an effort to beat a snail-crawl retreat, while his wife loudly defended her husband’s attire and good name.
WIFE–  What’s the matter with what he’s wearing?!  I’ve seen people in there wearing rags! Rags!!
We saw the man return later wearing pants, sans scooter.

Actual Conversations Heard in my Bed #5

SETTING:  My bed as the wife and I are preparing for sleep, both reading our devices.

THE WIFE–  Hey, will you turn off your big light? I don’t want it messing with my circadian rhythms.

ME–  (Turns off bedside lamp)  The rhythm is going to get you.

THE WIFE–  (BEAT)  Well, that was mean.

ME–  What?

THE WIFE–  Why do you want to start me off to sleep with an ear worm like that?

ME–  You mean to-NIGHT?


ME–  Uhn UHN,un-un-UN?


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