Termite Insurance

September 19, 2012. I am being a total cheater and linking this oldie up with Dionne’s “Raw Ten-Minute Wednesday.” Because, dang it, the prompt was “Funny Stories” and it’s still one of my favorites.

One morning last week I came in from a few errands to find the home phone’s “message” light blinking. I dialed in and listened to a rapid-fire spiel that sounded like, “Mr. Johnson, this is Jerry from Quadrangle Corporation. You had called us about our termite service, and by now you should have received the information we mailed you. I’m calling to see if you have any questions.”

Oh, great, I thought, Brent didn’t say anything about seeing termites. Jerry went on, unperturbed at the vermin that threatened our very infrastructure. “I’ll be glad to set up a time to help you with your termite insurance needs.” He ended with a phone number. Nice. Sounds like they guarantee their work. I saved the message and made a mental note to tell Brent, but it sort of slipped my mind until after dinner that night.

Brent picked up the phone, heard the beeping, and said, “Hey, we have a message.”

“Yikes, I forgot to mention—” but he was already listening to Jerry. In mid-stream, though, he deleted the message and hung up.

I looked around at him. “Oh–didn’t you call an exterminator?”

Brent froze, staring at me. One of his eyebrows migrated upward but the corners of his mouth failed to follow suit. What on earth . . . ?

So I said, “Did you get some information in the mail about termite insurance?”

“Yes, but I’m not going with that company.”

“But… they are exterminators… right?” I asked.

Same blank yet incredulous stare from Brent. This was going nowhere. I took shelter in repetition: “Termite. Insurance. Right?”

Finally, the light came on and Brent thawed somewhat. Enunciating carefully, he said, “That’s TERM. LIFE. INSURANCE.” He shook his head and added with a woeful look, “Don’t talk about ‘exterminators’ when I’m shopping for life insurance.”

I was laughing pretty hard, but tried to sound contrite as I explained, “No, I just thought that guy was an exterminator … he kept saying ‘termite insurance.’ … At least … that’s what it sounded like…”

I sputtered to a stop but by now Brent had rallied. “Another bad spy movie!” He struck a pose. “Paris is lovely at this time of year.”

“An oak tree grows by the gate…”

The moral of this story is: If you leave someone a voice message, even if you have said the exact same thing a thousand times a day for six years and could repeat it backwards in your sleep, remember that the person hearing it does not have your spiel memorized. They will have to actually understand what you say, or you might as well not leave a message at all.

So slow down and enunciate — otherwise you risk sending the Johnsons into another bad spy movie.

Thanks for reading!

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
This entry was posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Termite Insurance

  1. Cindy says:

    I am still laughing at this! Your conversation sounds like one we would have in the Gise household! I will be sure to listen careful to those recorded messages. Look forward to your posts.

    Love you!


    • Jan says:

      Hey, Cindy, Glad you can relate! It couldn’t have anything to do with our hearing, could it? In my defense, the caller emphasized the word “term” more than “life” — so it sounded like one word, especially at high speed. Thanks for visiting!


  2. Jen Ferguson says:

    This is hilarious! Truly, my favorite line is this: “Don’t talk about ‘exterminators’ when I’m shopping for life insurance.”

    He’s a keeper.

    On another note, I will be praying for your family and your sister.


  3. That’s a funny story! We have had both…termite exterminators and term life insurance! Thanks for sharing.


  4. Well … at least you didn’t call back and ask for a quote expecting to have your bugs wiped out! Too funny! Thanks for visiting Snapshots!


Your Turn: comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.