Flashback to December 15, 2005, when I answered the phone in the Credit Services department of the now-defunct AnchorBank in downtown Madison:
I get a lot of strange requests, but none stranger than the one I got today.
“How do I remove a child from the screen?” a caller asked me. No hi, how are you, no lead-in at all, just that. For all I knew, she was with the Child Extermination Division of Orkin Pest Control.
My gut reaction was to hold the receiver at arm’s length and ask, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” That kind of response doesn’t demonstrate effective telephonic skills, however, so I took a deep breath, counted to three, then said, “I’m not sure I understand your question.”
“I’m working on the family screen,” she explained rather urgently, “and when I hit ‘enter’ to remove a child, I get an error message saying I’m not allowed to do that.”
Ah, a computer question. What’s really weird is that I felt guilty about not being able to answer her question. “Is this really a question for the Credit Services Department?”
“Credit Services?” she asked. “I’ve got the wrong number!”