The Invasion of the Time Snatchers

I was taught that a ringing phone deserved to be answered. It meant that someone, usually someone you knew, was asking to talk to you. The civilized response required you to pick up the phone and be polite. if you were truly in he middle of something that required your immediate attention, you briefly explained that to the caller and arranged to call them back.

Then the phone message machine appeared, allowing you to “screen” your calls. If your gossipy neighbor called, she (or he)  could leave a message on the machine and you could return the call at your leisure. This was still socially acceptable phone behavior.

Of course, there were those who never checked their messages, or worse yet, never deleted any messages, so no new messages could be recorded. This behavior was down right anti-social!

And then the inter-net arrived. A wonderous  invention, but like most human endeavors, not without unforseen consequences. One of those consequences is the emergence of the robocall.

My phone rings five to six times a day.  The caller ID on many of those calls is “Not Available” or a destination. (Scranton? Really?- the city of Scranton is calling?) The number may be the same area code and prefix as mine, but I do not recognize that number. These calls are usually someone (or something) trying to sell you something you don’t want and don’t need, out right scams, or both.

It isn’t possible to block the numbers. There are too many and they change minute by minute. The usual methods of dealing with them are ineffective. The Do Not Call list is essentially non-functioning. Even picking up the phone opens you to even more unwanted calls. You can’t reason with a robocaller, and the people behind the calls are no more susceptible to reason that the robocaller.

What to do? Consumer Reports magazine’s October issue features a short article entitled The Robocall Resistance. They are conducting an End Robocalls Campaign. You can sign a petition, joining almost 750,000 others,  by going to, and get more information at

Good luck to us all.

Phone peace