This is Nancy.


I’m off from work today. Cleaning the house and doing the chorey sorts of things you do when you’re not working.

Editor/Husband is away, so apologies, in advance, for ramble-on sentences, the spirited overuse of unwords like “untrustable” and “chorey,” and excessive smugness.

Also, no baseball.

A few months ago, I chatted with a telephone scammer named Sam, who, when I asked him why he chose to be a crook, started yelling at me.  Not the road to redemption, Sam. Click here for the story of Sam and Me.

Today, the phone rang and it was Nancy!

Nancy, like Sam, wanted to help me rid myself of malicious files that were on my computer.

Oh, Nancy! How I’ve been waiting for your call.

I wasted a lot of Nancy’s time. I had her walk me through my computer and where to find certain keys on my keyboard like “Control” and the letter “R”, which she graciously did in her broken, but-better-than-Sam’s, English.

I had trouble finding the “control” key on my keyboard and she had to wait patiently while I fussed around – key by key – to find it.  “Wait, here it is. Nothing happens when I press it though. Is nothing supposed to happen, Nancy?”

This went on for almost seven minutes. (This is what happens when Editor/Husband is away and I’m trying to be tidy. I get bored with cleaning litter boxes and look for a call from someone – anyone, even a criminal – to waste some time with.)

“Nancy this isn’t working. Should I get offline? Maybe I’m messing this up. Let’s start over.”

She was getting frustrated. “You need to listen to what I tell you.”

“I am listening. Is nothing supposed to happen, when I press this, Nancy? Listen! I’m pressing it.” I put the phone up against the keyboard as I madly rattled it. I tried to sound flustered. (My performance? Brilliant.)

Nancy’s voice got edgy and she started speaking very slowly because, obviously, she was dealing with a dolt. “You need to press the control key with the other key at the exact same time. I am telling you what to do.”

“I know, Nancy, I’m sorry, I really am trying! I must be doing something wrong. Let’s go back to the ‘My Computer’ screen. I think I can figure it out from there.”

It was sort of fun, and I was just about to ask her if she knew Sam, which would lead me into the question I really wanted to ask – “How in the world did you end up in a business meant to cheat people? How did you end up a crook?”

And, then Nancy interrupted me. “I see you don’t want to cooperate so I’m going to end this call. Goodbye.”

I made a scammer hang up on me.

(Although, to her credit, she did say “goodbye.”)

This is incredibly disappointing because now Nancy, like Sam before her, has ruined my post.

According to the National Consumers League, thousands of illegal telemarketing operations, full of Nancys and Sams, are scamming in the United States every day.

They’ll keep calling and I’ll keep asking them how they got into the crookery business.

Eventually, one of them will tell me.

And, I will finally get the post I’ve been waiting for.

In the meantime, back to the litter boxes.

Stevie in a box Stevie says this post — and her wait for a clean litter box — has taken entirely too long.

This Is Sam.


This is Sam.

Sam calls me from time to time … sometimes twice a day, sometimes more.

Most days I don’t answer.  (Sorry Sam, baseball season is a very busy time for me.)

But, I have talked to him.

Sam says he’s from Microsoft Windows and that he has been monitoring my computer and that I am uploading malicious things.  He must mean these blog posts.

(Hurtful, Sam. And, stop hating on baseball.)

Sam is a scam.

But, he’s a tenacious fellow and just keeps calling.

Sam called one night at 10:30.  You shouldn’t call us after 10 p.m. unless you are:

1) Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter calling Editor/Husband for bullpen advice. Editor/Husband will tell Buck, “For God’s sake, Buck, what in the world are you doing? Keep Britton out there for the ninth. He’s fine. FINE! Tommy Hunter … what the hell??  Why is he warming up?  You just want to lose this game, don’t you? Well, now we’re going to lose. Great.”

(Actually, we won and Tommy Hunter got the save.  But, Editor/Husband is still asputter.)

2) There is no #2.  Orioles Manager Buck Showalter can call after 10 p.m.  You can’t.

tommy hunter liner

Tommy Hunter For The Save!

Usually, we just let the phone ring when we see that it’s Sam.

The other day, though, I decided I would talk to him again.

I wanted to ask Sam why he had a job whose main description is, best I can tell, to take advantage of, and steal from, innocent people.

I thought it would be interesting to ask a crook why he was crooking. I figured I could reason with Sam.

“Why do you hurt people, Sam? Why are you trying to steal from me?”

My tough love question would pierce his heart. There would be an uncomfortably long pause as Sam thought deeply about what I had said. Then Sam, seeing the error of his ways, would thank me for setting him right. He would leave his job of cheating and hurting people and set off on a new course of helping people.

After a time of reflection, Sam would start a volunteer-run food pantry in his village … his small way of giving back to humanity. One day – a year or two from now – Sam would call me again.  “Thank you,” he would say softly.  “You have changed my life.”

You may think I’m making this up for the sake of this post. I assure you, I am the idiot you think I am. I really believed this would happen.

I had it all planned out … I had my dialogue and Sam’s.  (Although in the movie version Sam’s English, while still fractured, would be much easier to understand.)

This could not go wrong.

I did my part just right.

I interrupted his spiel, “Sam? Sam? Sam, wait, can I ask you a question?”

Pause. Then “Yes.”

“Sam, I know that you’re not with Windows. I know that there’s nothing wrong with my computer. I know that you’re being dishonest. Why would you do that? Why would you try to hurt me and other people by lying about who you are? Why are you trying to steal from me?”

Then I waited for the long and remorseful pause from Sam.

And, this is when he started yelling at me.

Sam was yelling about my computer doing malicious things. And, my Windows ID number that he had, but that I did not.  He started yelling a long string of random numbers and letters.

“There! There! That is your ID number. You do not know your ID number! Do YOU???  DO YOU??? Tell me your ID number! You can’t!  You do not know it! I do! I have your ID number! What is it? Tell me! TELL ME!!”

This was crazy talk. Sam was ruining everything.

“Stop yelling at me. I don’t like to be yelled at.”

I told him I was going to hang up. (I’m exceedingly polite at times.) “Sam. I am hanging up now.” And, I did.

I’m sort of sad about Sam, but I know that he is so far up in the crooking business that it would take more than one person to pull him out.

I’m also mad at Sam for being a crook and for ruining my plan and ruining this post.

Sam called again the other day. But, I didn’t take his call. My heart just wasn’t in it.

All I can do is ask you this.

If some day soon you get a call from a U.S. Cellular number somewhere in Maine, it might be Sam.  Please tell him “hi” for me. Maybe you can reason with him.