Monday, June 13, 2011

That's a Funny Question to Ask the Queen!

I've always thought it funny when people say ‘who is this?’ when they're on the phone. Don’t they know who they are?

If I hear the phone ringing, the first thing I do before answering it, is find out who I am. It just seems good manners, when answering the phone, to do a little basic research upon oneself. We shouldn’t expect the person who’s phoning us to know everything. On the other hand, I suppose it’s quite reasonable to expect a little cooperation, where necessary, from the person who’s phoning us. (‘We’re all in this together’ - you know.)

However, if I’m stuck I ask the person next to me, “Who is this?” And, just to be helpful, I point to myself. Of course, I expect an honest answer, because we never know who’s phoning us until we’ve answered the phone - it could be someone important like Her Majesty the Queen - or, maybe even Anne Widdecombe - perchance. What will the Queen think of me, if I don’t know who I am? She mightn't send me a card for my hundredth birthday:

Me: “Hello.”

HMTQ: “Hello. One would like to buy some Tupperware, please.”

Me: “Who is this?”

HMTQ: (After a pregnant silence), “Pheelleeip, there’s someone on the teeleephone who doesn’t know whom one is.

Pheelleep: “Damn it woman one can’t buy Tupperware from someone who doesn’t know whom one is. If one doesn’t know whom one is, one could be anyone. We can’t send out one-hundredth birthday cards to just any old Tom, Dick or Harry.”

HMTQ: “Certainly not to Harry! One doesn’t think that one’s one of one’s own.”

So I’m very particular about finding out who I am before I answer the phone. The trouble is - if I ask the person next to me, who I am, it stands to reason that if I don’t know who I am, and have to keep saying, 'who is this', and I’ve known myself all my life, the chances are that the person next to me might not know who I am either. In fact, he or she might never have seen me, in his or her life ever before. Furthermore, if I don’t know who I am, one might logically assume that there’s a good chance that I don’t even know where I am - or what I’m doing. That would call into question whether or not I ought to have been left in charge of a phone in the first place.

Anyway, regardless of whether or not he or she did know me, he or she might tell me a lie. Then, if someone important phoned me and I thought I knew who I was, but I’d been misinformed by the person next to me, who could just as easily have said, “I don’t know who you are”, and saved me a lot of trouble - Her Majesty the Queen might think that I’m an impostor Tupperware salesperson. I bet Preeince Pheeilleep wouldn’t like that very much; he’d never be able to eat his cucumber sandwiches out of a Tupperware box ever again.

However, I think I have the problem solved, because I notice that someone has put my name on my phone so that when someone phones me, I know exactly who I am, and now I say, "Hello, this is Panasonic speaking. Is that Her Majesty the Queen? Would you like to buy some Tupperware - Ma’am?"

Unfortunately, there are a couple of snags with that, because it seems my name isn’t always Panasonic. When I’m using other people’s phones, for example, I find that I have all sorts of different names - many of which look Chinese and one in particular that might suggest that I’m an American outlaw. What might the Queen think of that? I wonder. Anne Widdecombe, simply wouldn’t countenance that.

Another thing is that my Mum says she knows who I am - and she doesn't remember giving me a name like Panasonic.

Mums can be funny that way. I suppose that's where I got my bad memory. No wonder I have to keep saying, 'who is this', when I answer the telephone. It’s been my Mum’s fault all along. However, just to prove that Oscar Wilde was wrong: I forgive her.

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