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'Hold please' the last word in technology?

This is the computer age? This is that point in time heralded as the crowning glory of technical sophistication? Of industrialized nations and their superiority over "third-world" ones? We're enjoying all this technology, while they get to plant the crops they eat and live by the sweat of their brow in a place where people still talk to one another, and don't text message, fax or send emails.

Oooof! Lucky them. I don't remember who I've called, because I dialed so long ago I've forgotten. I'm still on hold on the telephone. 'Hold please' appears to be the last word in technology; the one they use when nothing else works.

I called the toll-free "if you have a problem" number. A recorded voice said: "Please hold."

Please hold? Hold for what? I'm connected to a computer. They don't have to hold.

"This conversation will be recorded for your benefit."

My benefit? My benefit must, apparently, be highly at risk. What's the point? These recordings are probably reviewed by another computer.

"Dial one if your hyperdigitalizer crashed and cannot get up."

Nope. It got up. Won't work, but it's up.

"Dial two if you were a customer once, and have been on hold so long you cannot remember."

That's not good.

"Dial three if, while you were waiting, we fought another world war, elected a president, and you've forgotten why and when you first called."

"Dial four if you wish this call to be recorded and played at your funeral."

Which is ominously closer now than it was when I first dialed.

"Dial five as if you ever truly thought your problem might be solved by dialing five."

Well. Maybe. Five sounds the best so far.

"Dial six and enter the first five digits of your street address, the four digits of your blood pressure, and the last five digits of your mother's maiden birth place, and if it's the tune of 'Bridge over Troubled Water,' a real person will speak to you."

"Dial seven if you have any doubt that eight, nine or 10 will be any better than any number so far."

This sounds like one of those gas station signs on the edge of the desert that says, "last gas for a hundred miles."

"Dial eight for a commercial message from the makers of Burp, the antacid that prevents gas from forming in the lower colon from long waits on the telephone."

"Dial nine if you want to talk about your problem."

Whoa! That's me. I hammered nine.

"Dial one if your hyperdigitalizer crashed......"

Wait. That's 'one' all over again.

Ahhhhhh, nooooooo. I had to listen to them all again. Then I hit zero, and got: "Dial one if your....." I hit it again. It makes a nice tune. I hit it three or four times. "Dial one if ...." Hit! "Dial on...."Hit! "Dial o...." Hit! It felt good. Beep! Beep! Beep!

A voice came on, and said: "How can I help you?"

A real voice. Oh, the joy. Rapture.

I told him my hyperdigitalizer crashed and....

"Are you currently a subscriber?"

Well, yes.

"Then you should be contacting us through our help desk. Have a nice day."

Click. And he was gone.

If I knew where he lived, the thought that I'd feel a lot better after a good drive-bye spree popped into my mind.