Hello: My name isn’t Larry

why-hire-a-contractor-1 copy There are three things I know about “Larry.”

He is a contractor; he lives somewhere in Multnomah County; and he has the same cell phone number that I do.

The calls started about a month ago, presumably about the time “Larry” got his contractor’s license and began making bids. Since then, he has been a busy man, picking up jobs and making sure that his clients know they can call him any time. Day or night. For any reason at all.

Which they do — to my cell phone.

The Hansons, for example, call whenever they change their mind about what color tile to use around the bidet in their new bathroom. For the Gilmores, deciding between cedar shakes or aluminum siding requires at least one consultation a day. And the Reyboulds are still contemplating the ripple effect of kitchen cabinets without knobs. Mrs. Reybould thinks knobs would make their kitchen look more inviting; Mr. Reybould believes not having knobs would stymie their 2-year-old and keep him out of the cabinets for at least another year.

Over the course of the last month, I’ve gone from politely explaining that there is no “Larry” at this number, to a more direct approach, which is that “Larry” died — killed in a freak shop-vac accident that was a gruesome, yet impressive, testimonial to the workmanship of Black & Decker products.

I was certain that this tragic revelation would solve my problems. That was until the calls started up again, no doubt after “Larry’s” apparent resurrection from a 3-gallon-capacity shop-vac canister.

This left me only one choice.

When the Hansons called this afternoon asking for advice from “Larry” about their decision to use apricot-colored tile around the bidet in their new bathroom, I told them, as their contractor, they could save themselves a tidy sum of money by simply purchasing a better brand of toilet paper.

Click — dial tone.

One down.

For the Gilmores, who were still agonizing over the decision between cedar shakes or aluminum siding, I suggested ditching the house for a double-wide trailer covered in simulated wood paneling and accented with a fence made out of used shipping pallets.

Click — dial tone.

Two down.

The next time the phone rang, I snatched it up on the first ring.

“Larry speaking.”

It was the Reyboulds, looking for help on reaching a final decision about those kitchen cabinet knobs.

“It seems to me that the perfect combination would be something inviting and deceptively hard to open,” I said, and heard the Reyboulds agree. “Might I suggest installing some beautiful ceramic knobs on your cabinets, then nailing the doors completely shut.”

Mrs. Reybould hesitated before asking, “And where are we supposed to store our dishes?”

“Hey, I’m offering a solution! If you want to bicker over functionality, find another contractor!” I snapped.

There was an awkward silence before Mr. Reybould grabbed the phone. “What kind of nails would you suggest?”

Click — dial tone.

Though I hung up on them I do plan on calling them back at some point.

In the meantime, if “Larry” happens to be reading this, please call me so we can straighten this whole mess out.

You know the number.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

36 thoughts on “Hello: My name isn’t Larry”

  1. Larry, could you tell me how to fix the grout around the bathroom tiles of our shower. Do you have any recommendations for mildew removal?



    1. I would suggest completely carpeting your shower stall with a nice 70s style shag. That will take care of the grout issue, and as long as you shampoo the walls while you’re doing your hair, both you and your shower should smell terrific.

  2. Or you could answer the phone in chineeze like my daughter does when telemarketers call saying “NI HAO. NI SHI WHAN SHANG MING?” That means “Hello. do you like life?”
    They always answer “No is ——- there?” Then she tries hard not to laugh and says “ZI CHEN!” Which means “good bye!” We all bust out laughing especially when she keeps asking if they like life and they keep asking for me and get really mad an swear at her…. 🙂 try it… They now have quit calling… 🙂

  3. My home number used to be the same as the local oldies radio station. I would get crying baby mammas calling me at 3 in the morning wanting to dedicate “I’m Your Puppet” to their papi’s. I feel your pain.

  4. Someone purchased a car at a nearby Kia dealer and apparently put down our home number as theirs. This ignited calls regarding loan approvals, additional information requests, etc. We finally called the dealer and were assured everything would be taken care of and we’d get no more calls. A couple of months later…a call came in regarding our complementary appointment to check out our new Kia to make sure all was well. Another call to the dealer…another assurance everything would be taken care of. The time frame would now suggest an inspection is in order. We await notification…

  5. When I was a kid, My dad was woken up at 2am on an almost nightly basis. Our phone number was one digit away from the “reporting in” number of a security firm called Group4. Ironically, my big brother worked for Group4 at the time. Even more ironically, a couple of these phone calls were actually from my brother. You’d think he would have known better.

  6. Hey, you got Larry and I have Samira. I get phone calls/texts from dentists, hair salons, work buddies, etc. We should have them exchange numbers! Ha ha~
    Thanks for the blog. It made my ‘Samira’ issues a little easier to deal with. Ha ha ha!!!

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