Posts Tagged ‘JCO or JC NO?’

So it’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for the second installment of JCO or JC NO, where I, John Cave Osborne, tell you, (state your name) a story which is either fact or fiction. Should you feel so inclined, leave a comment telling me if you think what I’ve written is legit (JCO) or bogus (JC NO). Then come back next Thursday to see if you were right.

Last week, I told the story of getting busted with some advanced (if not immature) call screening techniques. I received twenty comments, yet only four of you thought that I was lying. Which must mean I’m pretty smooth, y’all, because last week’s tale was, indeed, FICTION. But I really did have a blowhard client who always invited me to come over to his house. And after a few instances of answering his calls at inopportune times, I really did program his number as “do NOT answer” into my phone. But then I thought better of it and put in his real name because I feared that the fictitious story I told you last Thursday might actually come to pass.

Congrats to “the Dragon,” WeaselMomma, TessasDad, and SeattleDad for calling me out.

And, Dad of Divas — you said if it was a JC NO, you’d be giving me the “Mark Twain” award for spinning such yarn, which means not only did you underestimate me, but you’ll also need my address. You know. To mail me my award and all. (Is it a trophy? I love trophies.) Hit me up with an email and I’ll tell you where to send it.

Now, for this week’s installment which I affectionately call — But She Looked Like a Clean Person.

“You act like it’s the worst thing in the world,” I said defensively to Lovie.

“No,” she countered. “I’m acting like it’s the grossest thing in the world.”

“What’s so gross about it?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe that you didn’t even know the woman?”

“True. But she looked like a clean person.”

A cringe of repulsion came across Lovie’s beautiful face, the likes of which I had never seen before. “But she looked like a clean person? Who are you?”

[to my readers] A better question would have been “Who were you?” Because my dear wife was reacting to a story I had told her which actually went down many, many moons ago. (And before you go off thinking the worst, it’s not quite as sinister as it sounds.)

The year was 1989 and I was spending the summer on Hilton Head Island, fully engaged in the noble vocation of Bus Boy for a high-brow establishment. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.


Turns out the pay wasn’t so great. Also turns out that I, like many nineteen year olds, enjoyed partying every night. Which, of course, cost money. And I couldn’t afford to both eat well every day and hit the bar scene every night. So I had a choice to make. And I made it.

I went to the Piggly Wiggly and bought a shit-ton (it’s metric) of Ramen Noodles. Back in the day, you could get five of those suckers for a buck. Which meant if you were woefully out of touch with your body (as well as with what constituted near-lethal amounts of sodium), you could provide yourself with three square meals (literally), and a snack (also square), for a mere 80 cents a day. Plus tax.

Such a cost-conscious and repetitive diet works great for a little while. But to keep it up for any legitimate period of time, more nourishing and substantial supplements are required. And, unfortunately, said supplements cost money.

*light bulb* Unless you work at a restaurant.

So, that summer, as I patrolled the floor looking sharp in my brown apron and red visor, I’d keep an eye out for not only the next table I’d be required to bus, but also for the next “clean looking person” who hadn’t taken full advantage of his or her meal. Old ladies, I quickly discovered, were a gold mine. Many of them cut their burgers in half. And all too often, the second half would go untouched.

Whenever I’d happen upon such a lady with such a burger, I’d stalk the table, you know, so none of the other bus boys could poach my loot. My game was so sick-o that these ol’ gals never even knew that I was circling them like a vulture — a desperately hungry vulture whose face was bloated with alarming levels of MSG thanks to those tasty seasoning packets which accompanied my economic carbohydrate of choice. And the very instant these women gave even the faintest indicator that they were about to vacate their table — woosh — there I’d be.

“You ladies have a nice day. Come back and see us,” I’d say with a pleasant smile coupled with an affirming head nod.

Before they could even get halfway to the door, and often while still within an earshot (which allowed me to hear what a nice young man they thought I was), the deal would be done — everything which had been on their table already transferred efficiently into my bus tub — with the exception, of course, of the half-eaten burger, and perhaps, if I saw fit, a handful of fries. These delectables, my friends, were cleverly wrapped in a bus rag before being deftly tucked away into my apron pocket, the bump of my indiscretion conveniently concealed by my large brown tub. (Don’t worry. It wasn’t the actual rag I used to wipe down the tables. I’m no rookie. I always carried a clean spare.)

After scoring my jackpot I’d alert my co-workers of my sudden need to use the bathroom, at which point I’d scamper off to the little boy’s room where, in the luxurious and spacious accommodations of the handicap stall, I’d scarf down my bounty via my very own commode-side picnic for one.

So there you have it. Whaddya think? JCO or JC NO? (Fact or fiction?)

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Calamities in Call Screening

I’m trying something new on my blog — a segment called JCO or JC NO. I’ve got four of them planned. The premise is simple. Each Thursday, I’ll tell a JCO story. Then y’all decide if it’s fact (JCO) or fiction (JC NO). To see if you were right, come visit me the following Thursday. Before offering up that week’s JCO or JC NO, I’ll confirm or deny the veracity (solid word, no?) of the prior week’s story.

SO, without further ado, the first ever JCO or JC NO:

We’ve all done it. Call screening, that is. Not a big deal, right? Which is why I never thought in a million years that such an act would land me in the scalding hot water it did. Long before Lovie, Pookie, and the trips came on the scene, a call screening mishap actually threatened my very job. And in February of 2000, I was ordered to catch a flight to LaGuardia and a car service up to Connecticut to meet my boss in his office to discuss the matter.

“Is it true?” he asked as he fiddled with his gold cufflinks from behind his mahogany desk.

Shit. Why did I have to get all cute? Why didn’t I just program in his name?!

It was the Thursday before the Super Bowl, and I was cocktailing at a midtown Atlanta hot spot when my phone rang. Though not programmed, the number was a familiar one.

Answer or ignore? Answer or ignore? Answer.

Bad call dot com.

It was one of my biggest clients, a guy who generated over five million dollars of investor deposits in the variable annuity and mutual fund products I was wholesaling at the time. Not exactly someone I could blow off.

Sadly, the guy was an INTOLERABLE clown. And he’d seemingly taken to me on a personal level such that he was constantly inviting me over to his house to “hang.” These hang sessions bordered on cruel and unusual punishment, so much so that during each one, I had to constantly remind myself of the money I earned thanks to this guy just to make it through them. It eventually dawned on me that I was essentially engaged in a watered-down, non-physical form of prostitution.

I can't due to, um, an appointment to get my hair cut.

And this whore had finally had enough.

So I started politely declining his invitations, coming up with on-the-spot bullshit excuses which precluded me from spending time with him. But each excuse was becoming less and less believable. So that night, after telling him I couldn’t eat dinner with his wife and him the following Monday due to an “appointment to get my hair cut,” I vowed to never again get caught off guard by one of his calls. I pulled up my caller ID and programmed his number such that the following name would pop up each time he rang:

“Do NOT answer.”

Harsh, right? Maybe. But it’s not like I was blackballing the guy. I still visited his office, supported his marketing efforts, and took him out to eat frequently. You see, it wasn’t so much that I minded spending time with him. It’s that I minded spending MY time with him.

So a coupla weeks later, we’re eating lunch at the Blue Ridge Grill, a swank establishment where pin-stripes eat at the tables in plain view of the Stilettos who loiter at the bar. My client had left his phone in my car.

“Can I borrow yours?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered, thinking nothing of it as I handed him my cell. He dialed his wife, but there was no answer.

“Hmm. She must be taking a shower or something. I’ll call her back in a few minutes.”

Five minutes later, he borrowed my phone again, only instead of dialing the number, he simply pressed “send” to pull up the “numbers dialed” scroll. And at the very top was the last number dialed — the call he had just made. And, according to my phone, that number belonged to a person named

Do NOT answer.

Pretty awkward ride back to his office, even for a seasoned bullshit artist of my sophistication. And a pretty awkward conversation with my boss, too. The result? I kept my job, but I lost my client. Even so, I went on to have a great year, shattering all my goals in spite of losing one of my biggest producers. Oddly, the business I lost from that guy was more than made up for by all the other business I picked up in the office. In fact, I became a bit of a cult hero to all the other brokers there.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought my former client was a INTOLERABLE clown.

And there you have it. JCO, or JC NO? Lemme know what you think, if you’re so inclined.

Also, do you have a call screening calamity? Because I’d love to hear it.

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