Telemarketers Are Chiming In My Ears

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As I mentioned a few weeks back, I acquired a pair of hearing aids to kick off the new year, which is passing far too quickly for my tastes. Where in the heck did January slip off to? Already, the tulip trees up the street are blooming, an early sign of spring’s arrival. Before we know it, our six-month season of summer will be upon us.

The hearing aids are plugged into my ears all the time, except when I’m working out, showering or sleeping. They’re tiny and largely concealed by my unruly hair. I have used this as an excuse to avoid going to the barber. These devices are Bluetooth capable, which means when I get a call, a pleasant chime sounds off in my ears. If I choose to answer, the caller’s voice is inside my head, even if my phone is in my pocket. Often, I am talking on the phone while it’s in my pocket, which really makes it seem as if I am babbling to myself.

I have had a little over a month to get used to these high-tech, high-dollar hearing aids. The most annoying aspect thus far is not what I expected, which would be my ears itching and having to extract the tiny speaker to scratch. That’s minor compared to the telemarketers. Apparently, the entire Medicare supplemental insurance industry has gotten wind of the fact that I turn 65 in August and will enroll in Medicare. When that occurs, the excellent retiree health insurance I am blessed to have through my longtime employer — Cox Newspapers — becomes a supplemental policy. I have a few more months before I need to start worrying about filling out the forms.

That has not deterred the telemarketers, and if I find out who gave them my cell number, there’s going to be heck to pay. One recent morning I received five calls despite having enrolled in the federal government’s Do Not Call registry and installing a spam catcher app on my phone. My dilemma is that one of the jobs I have held for the past four years, in order to keep beans on the table and to pay the house note, is as a newspaper broker. I help put together deals for companies to buy and sell newspapers. (Yes, that’s a thing.) That means I am often getting business-related calls from folks in far-flung places. When I get a call from Bountiful, Utah, for example, I don’t know if it’s legitimate or yet another hapless soul peddling Medicare supplemental insurance.

The other day, I was sitting in a meeting for one of my other part-time job gigs — working as a reference librarian at the LeTourneau University library. As always, I had my phone on vibrate. There is no reason to have the ringer on when the hearing aids chime to announce a call. Sure enough, my ears started chiming a few minutes into the speaker’s presentation. I peeked at the phone’s display: Spam Risk. My co-workers noticed the look of annoyance I was unsuccessfully trying to conceal, as I tried to concentrate on the speaker and ignore the bells in my belfry.

Just to break up the monotony of yelling at the Medicare supplemental insurance peddlers and then blocking the call — which does absolutely no good but makes me feel better — I am also getting calls from people trying to give me a free Caribbean cruise. Even if were legitimate, and of course it isn’t, a Caribbean cruise is pretty close to the absolute last thing I want to do. In a previous life, I got talked into taking a cruise and swore to never repeat the experience. This is one vow I believe I will be successful in keeping. Being stuck on a large, seagoing vessel with nothing to do but gorge oneself and shell out tip money is not my idea of a vacation.


Sorry, had to answer the phone going off in my head again. I told the caller to put me on the no-call list, which is what I tell each one that gets through my spam catcher app.

They all promise to do so. They’re lying, of course.


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