Hello: My name isn’t Larry

(If your New Year’s resolution was to not miss a single Flashback Sunday post in 2014, CONGRATULATIONS! You are well on your way, with only 51 flashbacks to go! If, however, your goal was to start working out each morning but, instead, have decided to “adjust” that goal by having coffee in bed while reading this week’s flashback, CONGRATULATIONS ANYWAY! While others are getting sweaty, hungry and staring at someone’s sweaty backside in step aerobics, you are comfy and caffeinated. Who’s 2014 is off to a better start?)

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.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications.)

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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...

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

  1. Based on this, it appears we let our contractor get off far too easily. Never an extra phone call was made.

    Funny post. Maybe next time, you’ll be on the receiving end of a trauma surgeon’s phone. That could prove entertaining as well. Or deadly, if you’re dispensing advice… 😉

  2. Ha! There is some woman named “Rindy” who apparently has a life full of people who are worried about her– she had my number before me and now I get to field all of her calls from concerned relatives and estranged friends. Rindy also likes shopping at the same places as me because every store I go to that asks for my number is like “Are you Rindy?” Yes…

    1. They really should require a permit. Or at least an escape hatch, like inside the trunk of a car. Which reminds me, I haven’t see the cat since I shop-vacced the garage…

    1. Hahaha! I’m not sure you want to open that Pandora’s Box, Pieter — but thanks! Besides, I just bought a new shop-vac, so once I find “Larry” my problems will be over…

  3. Dear Larry,

    I any thoughts on egg shell paint color and swan paint color?? Oh, and please keep in mind that I am on a tight budget.

    LOL! I feel like a Dear Abby reader!

    I am sorry for the calls that you’ve had to endure, but I thank you for so colorfully putting it in writing so that we might laugh, all the while thanking it’s not us. 😉

    1. Dear Tight Budget,

      Given your limited budget, I’d suggest forgetting the egg shell or swan paint and just having a chicken omelet instead…

      — Larry

      (Thanks for the sympathy ;))

  4. Should Larry ever call you, feel free to give me his number; I’d love to call him under the supposed assumption he’s:
    -my psychologist: ‘Is this Dr. Larry? Hi, I have a feeling clowns will eat me if I sleep. Do you have anything I could do to fight that feeling?’
    -my CIA-liaison: ‘Is this Agent Larry? Hi, I’m just calling to say the chicken has crossed the road. I repeat, the chicken has crossed the road. Do you copy?’
    -my favorite pizza place: ‘Is this Larry? Could you cater my kid’s birthday party?’

    Or anything weird…really, I’d have a lot of fun…although reading your post was very fun too. Thanks for that, Larry!

  5. Have you considered a phone menu?

    “Hi, you have reached the land-line of Ned and Larry. For Ned press #1, for Larry press #2”

    God help them if they press #2 – the wonderful world of phone menus await…

    1. Believe it or not, I have a pay-as-you-go Track phone. It doesn’t even have a camera. The only way I could get a menu for it is if I steal one from Waffle House (I need one with pictures).

  6. Hey, Larry … some bloke called Ned is using your phone and masquerading as you!

    Can you paint the downstairs toilet for me – I think Elephant’s Breath would be just the right shade.

    And don’t send that Ned guy round …

    1. WHAT?! AGAIN?!
      I’m getting sick of him. He cost me three jobs already, plus I’m being sued by the Reyboulds because they are blaming me for their divorce!

      Anyway, I’ll come over this afternoon and pain that toilet, just as soon as I find an elephant to breath into my paint bucket…

  7. I’m walking the dog and the neighbor (and the dog!) think my cackle is bizarre. But I don’t know where to start with how much this tickled me. And your responses to the comments too. I don’t normally leave links on other people’s blogs (but this isn’t my own piece that I’m touting, so maybe that’s not so uncouth?) This is one of my fave bloggers and this particular post makes a matched pair with yours.

    1. No worries, Stephanie — That was a hilarious piece! Getting an old phone number belong to someone with a name like LaShawn is never going to be good. Thanks for the link that blog, which I’m following now 😉

No one is watching, I swear...

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