Last night, I got a weird voice-mail message on my cell phone. The operator asked, “Will you accept a collect call from the Correctional Facility in Loxley, Alabama?” Aparently, stupidity is now a jailable offense.
See, the Grump doesn’t take collect telephone calls from anybody. If my phone rang and a voice asked, “You have a collect call from a Mr. J.C. in Heaven. Will you accept the charges?”, my reflex response would be, “Heck, no! That’s long distance!”
And in the Grump’s case, that’s long, long, long, loooooooooooong distance.
I can only imagine the situation the prisoner was in. Maybe he was being held hostage with a gun to his head. The guy holding it says, “This is the deal. You get to make one collect call. If the person you call accepts the charges, I’ll let you go. But if he doesn’t, I’m blowing you away. Now — who you gonna call?”
“Uh, the Grumpy Gardener.”
But maybe the situation wasn’t so dire. Maybe the caller was just a lonely guy searching for a friend. That seems a little strange, seeing as how you’re surrounded by “friends” in jail, but maybe none of them knew anything about how to root gardenia cuttings and he just had to know.
So now the Grump’s feeling a little guilty. After all, the world could always use a few more gardenias. To atone for my heartlessness, I’ve written a parody of Jim Croce’s old song, “Operator.” (If you remember it, you and Methuselah were in kindergarten together.)
Won’t you help me place this call?
You see, the number on this switch blade is old and faded.
He lives in Alabam
He likes okra and fried Spam
He saw it when my meth lab was raided.
But isn’t that the way they say it goes?
Well, let’s forget all that
And give me Grump’s number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell him I’m fine
And to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I like gardenia’s smell
Got Southern Living here
That recipe worked swell
And my cell walls are teal
I like how they make it feel.