What phone calls sound like in hell.

Dubious and far-fetched ideas.
Aug. 30 2004 8:15 AM

Our Options Have Changed …

To continue in jargon, press 1.

Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty

Thank you for calling. To continue in jargon, press 1. J os haluat jatkaa suomeksi, ole hyva ja paina 2.

Please listen closely to the following menus, as our options have changed. For technical support, press 1. For financial support, press 2. For support of the fleshy parts that jiggle during exercise, press 3. For emotional support, please hang up and call 888 HOT-LIVE.

Please note that we are currently experiencing temporary, localized service interruptions in Nome, Alaska *; Phoenix, Ariz.; Tijuana, Mexico; and all of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. If you live in one of these regions, please hang up and do not call back until we tell you. We appreciate your patience while our technicians ignore the problem.

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If your appliance is less than 1 year old, press 1. If you are unmarried or are not sure, press 2.

In order to serve you better, it will be helpful for us to know which order you belong to. For Primates, press 1. For Cetacea and Proboscidea, press 2. For Jesuit or Dominican, press 3. For Knights Templar or Hospitaler, Knights of Pythias or Columbus, as well as Masons, Elks, and Kiwanis, or if you are unsure, press 4. If you are a Franciscan and have a rotary phone, please stay on the line.

Please key in the model and serial number of the product you are calling about. The model number is the series of 12 letters and digits that is visible when you push the unit away from the wall, work your head into the gap using a crowbar and No. 10 machine oil, and train a beam of ultraviolet light on the lower three centimeters of the right-hand rear surface of the appliance. If the model number is obscured by dust or cockroach detritus, wipe it with a soft, lint-free cloth soaked in a solution of ordinary rubbing alcohol, Kirschwasser, and formaldehyde. The serial number is the 37-digit number inscribed by means of laser nanotechnology on the underside of the unit and is not visible to the naked eye. When you have entered both numbers, press the pound key.

Note that at any point you may return to the previous menu by hanging up, calling again, and repeating the process until you reach the point just before the point you are at right now.

Please listen carefully to the following choices and select the one that best describes the problem you are calling about: If water is condensing on inner surfaces or leaking from under the door, press 1. If you are having trouble sending or receiving e-mail, press 2. If you are experiencing sharp, shooting pains in the left shoulder or a feeling of constriction in the chest, press 3. If you have lost your faith in a Supreme Being or any intelligible order in the universe and feel a desperate need for human contact, press 4. If you smell gas, press 5. To repeat this menu, press 6. To return to the previous menu or to a state of infantile bliss, press 7.

Please note that while you were listening to the previous menu, our options changed yet again. For Option 1, press 4. For Option 7, press 3. For Option 6, press 7. For Options 2 through 4, press 0 or hang up and call our Consumer Relations Department at (427) 555-9221. Long-distance charges may apply.

Most common problems can be resolved at home by following a simple sequence of diagnostic tests and procedures. We will now guide you through such a sequence. If you wish to skip this section, press 1, 3, and 9 simultaneously while restarting your telephone. Please note: If, while answering these questions, you see smoke or flames or if your chest is warm to the touch, hang up and call 911.

OK, let's get started.

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