Saturday, October 20, 2007

1976-2007 - The same phone company 

Here at the Phone Company we handle eighty-four billion calls a year. Serving everyone from presidents and kings to scum of the earth. We realize that every so often you can't get an operator, for no apparent reason your phone goes out of order [plucks plug out of switchboard], or perhaps you get charged for a call you didn't make.

We don't care.

Watch this - [bangs on a switch panel like a cheap piano] just lost Peoria.

You see, this phone system consists of a multibillion-dollar matrix of space-age technology that is so sophisticated, even we can't handle it. But that's your problem, isn't it ? Next time you complain about your phone service, why don't you try using two Dixie cups with a string.

[loud, booming "Liquid Plummer" voice-over] We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.

I have thought of Lily Tomlin's character, Ernestine, many times over the last few weeks. I may recount the bureaucratic hell I have experienced dealing with AT&T in a later post. The quick summation - describing the problem, retelling the history, verifying who I am, getting transferred to another representative who will make me repeat the process, yadda yadda yadda...

We have reached the point in our business that operating ONLY with a cellphone is not working. We asked for a land-line to be installed. Since we have/had Cingular (now AT&T) cell phones, we had the option to bundle our cell phones with our land-line for a much lower rate. And then the hell began.

On Monday, we will hopefully receive SIM cards for our cell phones and have new phone numbers. If this "fix" actually fixes the issues we have been having, I will be shocked beyond belief.

In our area, there are no options. You cannot switch to another service provider as there are no other service providers. As a child, I remember the break-up of Ma Bell. I am beginning to see the wisdom of that event and am longing for another go-around.

My customers may receive a package in the mail this week. It will be a Dixie Cup and a spool of string. Anyone wishing to tie into our network is free to do so.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Children are theological giants 

In the blue corner, we have an ordained United Methodist Deacon, holder of a Master of Religious Education and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

In the red corner, we have a child with 2 months of Presbyterian kindergarten.

The outcome was a KO in the first round.

I listened as my wife had her theological butt kicked by our 5-year-old, Emily. It was not a surprising outcome. I really don't remember the issue. Julie tried to explain in nuanced terms with some background touchpoints. Emily struck hard and quick with "God made everything and everyone." She never let up and stayed on target. Julie tried some feeble "well, yes, but I was trying to explain that..." She never landed any punches and Emily just kept pounding on her with theological truths like "Jesus wants us to love everyone." Julie quickly conceded the fight with "Yes dear" and withdrew to her corner.

Adults should learn to never pick a theological argument with children. Children see and believe. They are not old enough to get confused by subtleties or see shades of gray. They see right and wrong, black and white, love and hate. They do not see legal but immoral, compromise, resentment, or agreeing to disagree. They are told that "God is love." "God created everything and everyone." "Jesus loves you and me." A child will come at you with the simplest, yet most accurate, spiritual truths. They are not going to lose. Give up. Or keep your argument brutally simple and based purely in slogans you can read in the Sunday School hallway. Or you will lose.

Children are theological giants.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday - Julie Povall Collins 

Today is the wife's birthday. As the kids were getting up this morning, I decided that for her birthday we would go as a family to breakfast. Had a wonderful time at the IHOP.

However, like her mother, our daughter Emily is slow to get going in the morning. Keith and I had some time to kill. One of us decided to eat chocolate pudding for breakfast. From the photograph in this post, you should be able to tell which one...

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