My blog website is down. And I am calling customer service to get it taken care of. There are few things I hate worse than customer service. Except for maybe eating congealed salad. I hate that stuff.
I dial the toll-free number.
And I wait.
CUSTOMER SERVICE ANSWERING MACHINE: Thank you for calling customer service. Your call is extremely important to us. Your wait time is approximately forty-three minutes. Please enjoy this music.
—“IF YOU LEAVE ME NOW,” BY CHICAGO—
MACHINE: Thank you for holding. Your call is super-duper important to us. Our representatives are assisting other important customers, but we want you to know that they are all chomping at the bit to answer your important call in the order it was received. Thank you.
—“MAKE IT WITH YOU,” BY BREAD—
MACHINE: Hi, thank you for waiting. Your call is hugely important. And we mean hugely. We are working hard to answer your important call in the order received. If you would like to hold without music, press the pound sign, which is otherwise known as the ”hashtag,” depending on the year you graduated high school. Thank you.
ME: (Presses pound sign.)
MACHINE: Thank you, you have chosen to hold without music.
—“AFTERNOON DELIGHT,” BY THE STARLAND VOCAL BAND—
MACHINE: Hi, remember us? Thank you for your continued patience. Our representatives are busy. But your important call is the reason we get up in the morning and face this cold world. We truly can’t wait to assist you. If you would prefer to hold without music, please press the pound sign, also known as the “tic-tac-toe symbol” to complete idiots. Thank you for your patience.
ME: (Pressing pound sign repeatedly.)
—“CAN’T FIGHT THIS FEELING ANYMORE,” REO SPEEDWAGON—
MACHINE: Hi. Your call is über, stinking important to us. We are looking forward to helping you. In fact, many of us pray for you at our own personal dinner tables, every night, right before we eat. And when our prayer is done our smallest child adds, “God bless us, every one,” before he donates his insulin money to the homeless to serve as an example of how just important your phone call is. Press the pound sign to hold without music, but it’s not gonna work because we truly don’t give a flying…
ME: (Presses pound and holds it down.)
—“CUANDO, CUANDO,” TONY ORLANDO—
MACHINE: Hi, thank you for holding. Your important call is literally the only thing that gets us through the darkest days of our earthly existence. We think about your important phone call late at night and it gives us another reason to keep living in this god-forsaken world. We are so excited to take your call that we literally just peed in our pants a little. To hold without music, please press the pound sign, throw some salt over your left shoulder, and step on a wine glass wrapped in a dinner napkin.
ME: (Presses pound sign.)
—AIR SUPPLY, “ALL OUT OF LOVE”—
REPRESENTATIVE: Hello, my name’s Gregory. Who am I speaking with?
HIM: How are we doing today, Sean?
ME: We’re not so hot, the reason I’m calling is because my website is down. Again.
HIM: Oh, I’m sorry. I’m gonna need to get your customer PIN number.
ME: My what?
HIM: When you’re ready, sir.
HIM: I need to verify your twenty-one-digit PIN number.
ME: What number?
HIM: You should have received this number in the mail when you became a member thirty years ago, and you should have committed it to memory along with the planets of the solar system, the Gettysburg Address, and the Beatitudes.
ME: I don’t have my PIN number.
HIM: Hold please.
ME: No, wait—
MACHINE: Thank you for holding. Your call is more important than our immediate family. You are so important that many of us would, honestly, take a bullet for you, provided the bullet was only proverbial, and we were, technically, already dead. This is how much we care about your satisfaction. We appreciate your business so much that one of our representatives even had your name tattooed on his inner thigh. Your estimated wait time is October through February. If you’d prefer to hold without music, press the pound sign, build an Old-Testament-style altar, and please sacrifice your firstborn child. Thank you.
ME: (Pressing pound with both index fingers in rapid succession.)
—TINY TIM, “TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS”—
REPRESENTATIVE: Still with me, sir?
ME: Yes, I’m here.
HIM: Great, how about that PIN number?
ME: I already told you, I don’t have a PIN, that’s what I’ve been saying. I just want my website back up and running.
HIM: No PIN?
ME: What is it?
HIM: I’m gonna have to talk to my manager, do you mind holding?
ME: WAIT! WAIT! DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD!
HIM: I have to, sir. You don’t have a PIN number.
ME. WAIT, YES I DO! I HAVE A PIN NUMBER!
HIM: Really? What is it?
ME: Um… One, two, thirty… Five, six, seventy-eight, ninety, eleven…”
HIM: You’re just counting.
HIM: That’s the alphabet.
ME: Listen, I’ve been on hold for forty minutes. Please, whatever you do, for the love of all that is good and sacred, don’t put me on hol—
—“LOST IN LOVE,” BY AIR SUPPLY—
MACHINE: Hi, your call is of paramount importance to us. And you know what? It’s funny. Sometimes we think about your call, and how much it means to us, and we get so giddy that we often throw office parties in your honor, and Bill, our IT guy, sometimes sits on the Xerox machine and makes copies of his bare buttocks, and he’s totally sober when he does this, because that’s how important your call is to us. Please continue to hold and a representative will be with you shortly. To hold without music, please press the pound sign.
ME: (Pressing button.)
—“SUMMER BREEZE,” BY SEALS AND CROFT—
I take it all back. I’d rather eat congealed salad.