Yes, I Love Techonology!

via Photobucket/susano75

Ten years ago at 12:15 p.m., my husband and stood in front of a towering judge, along with my daughters, my ex-in-laws, and two of our best friends. The ceremony was short and sweet, and at its end, we were bound for life, just as we knew we would be from the day we met. While friends, family, and coworkers rejoiced in our happiness, very few of them knew the real story of how we came to be standing in front of that Frankensteinianly tall judge and saying our vows.

Years ago, I was a skinny blond school teacher; a not so gay divorcee, raising two kids on my own. Though I had my work and my beautiful daughters to keep me occupied, my inward lack of gaiety was a definite problem. I was lonely. When I’d first divorced I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t date anyone for at least a year, and even then, I would confine my dating to the weekends that my daughters were visiting their father. The last thing I wanted to be was one of those women who introduced their daughters to an endless string of men. I had taught children whose mothers acquainted them with a “new daddy” every few months and I certainly feared for their future.

In my college days, before I met my first husband, I’d dated a fair variety of gentlemen, so I assumed that once I put myself back out on the market that dating would be effortless. Oh, I was wrong, so very, very wrong! If I were to blog about my post-divorce dates, you would see titles like, “Don’t Call Me Sunshine,” “If you Touch me with your Foot Again, I’ll Kill You” “Wrangler Jeans and Flannel Shirts in August,” and the classic “Oh, you Live with your Mother.” In spite of well-meaning friends, with scores of dudes to fix me up with, I just wasn’t finding Mr. Right, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. My dating plan was oddly intermingled with a lay-away plan at my local Wal-Mart. It was simple; I’d buy computer in six easy payments, secretly post a personal ad, and in a few short months, or sooner, I’d be dating the man of my dreams.

After my debt was paid, and I’d figured out which cord went where, I began to compose my ad. I brain stormed by making a list of attributes that I hoped for in a mate. He needed to be kind, responsible, sober, and willing to accept the fact that my children were a huge part of the package. He had to be intelligent, financially secure, and cool with the fact that I’m an adult who still likes to make prank phone calls. When I finished I had a list of 54 requirements that my future husband needed to possess. A girl has to be picky, but to assure you that I’m not shallow; there was nothing on the list referring to appearance and nothing that I that I required of Mr. Right that I couldn’t bring to the table myself.

I spent an entire Saturday munching on baby carrots, cooped up in my stuffy apartment trying to turn my list into the most brilliant personal ad ever written. Finally, after hitting the delete button fifty bazillion times, I settled on something like this:

SWF, 35, seeks responsible, kind, intelligent guy to date, to eventually love, to potentially marry, and to possibly make prank phone calls with.

The problem with personal ads is that lots of people aren’t reasonably good at self-assessment. There are guys who’ve had restraining orders placed against them who consider themselves kind. There are guys that are chronically without jobs who consider themselves responsible and there are dopey dudes who think they’re Einstein. There are also lots of crazy guys out there! So, once the fruits of my labor began showing up in my inbox, I had to do some serious analyzing to make sure I wasn’t about to hook up with Hannibal Lector. I immediately deleted any email that came from a father of four plus children. I’m no Carol Brady. Then I axed anyone who couldn’t write in complete sentences. Sadly, this got rid of quite a few. If an email had anything remotely perverse such as a reference to fetishes, or a vibe that there might be a girl chained up in the basement, it was a goner. After my careful scrutiny, I was left with an inbox containing three potential choices. I replied to all and one guy answered back. He was a civil engineer eight years my senior and Guardrail1234, was his screen name. For a few weeks Guardrail and I wrote back and forth. His letters were always witty and fun. After we’d learned all that we could about one another online, he asked to meet me. Amazingly, although I’d received emails from men who lived hundreds of miles away, Guardrail lived only eleven miles from my apartment. After asking for his social security number to have him checked out (not kidding, girls have to be careful), and after telling two of my closest friends exactly where I’d be (really, you can’t be too safe). I met Guardrail1234 at a Chinese restaurant downtown. As silly as it sounds coming from a non-romantic girl like me, it was love at first sight. He was, and still is, the beautiful human form of everything on my 54 item list, and then some.

A burning question among family and co-workers was, “How did you meet?” This was 12 years ago, before the answer, “Oh, we met online,” was acceptable. I didn’t want everyone to know for a fact that I’m as flakey quirky as they imagine I am. So, my über conservative grandmother was told that we were introduced by friends. My co-workers were told that we met through one of my relatives, but anyone who really knows and cares about me is aware of the real way that we really met.

The one I met him on was a little older than this one!

I’m dying to know!! How did you meet your partner?

Never Marry a Guy you Meet While Making a Prank Phone Call (Part 1)

Here’s a confession; I turned 47 last week and I still delight in making a good prank phone call. I know it’s illegal, and that there are probably a million ways to get past *67 and wind up in jail. I do have a healthy respect for the law and admit that I am a little afraid of my local paper displaying a headline that reads: Former Teacher Jailed for Crank Calling Wal-Mart, but that doesn’t stop me. It’s a sickness.

My obsession with phone play began at the ripe old age of eight, the year my mother began to work outside of the home. Instead of coming home to cookies and milk at my own house, my new after school plan was to have a snack at my friend Laura’s house and hang out there until my mom or dad arrived home. I was delighted! Laura’s mom was a very cool psychotherapist who dressed in hippie clothes and didn’t make us do our homework the minute we finished our snack like my mom did. One day, after growing bored with roller skating in Laura’s driveway, we ended up in her mother’s downstairs sewing room. It was just a small, musty room with stacks of folded cloth, a rack filled with multi-colored thread, jars filled with buttons and an old Singer sewing machine. It seemed stuffy and boring until Laura showed me the green push button phone mounted elegantly on the wall. She informed me that it was a private line and asked me if I wanted to make some prank calls. Although it was my first time, Laura had an older brother and was a seasoned pro at cranking. In mere minutes we were scanning the skinny phonebook of our small town looking for our first victims. If your last name was Assweiner, Grossman, or Butts we called you. Once we ran out of interesting last names we started on the ‘A’s and went through nearly the entire phonebook. There were no lame classics in our repertoire like, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” we were much more creative than that, or so we thought. We had three main cranking themes. They were: “I’m Dating your Husband,” “ Radio Station WASS Giving you a Chance to Win a Date with Charlie’s Angels,” and “Little Girl Trapped at Pizza Hut Needs you to find Her Mommy.” I’ll use “I’m Dating Your Husband as an example of how our cranks usually went down:

Unwitting Victim: Hello

Me: (In my sexiest 8 year-old voice) Hi, I’m Natasha (a name I thought sounded super classy at the time) and I’m sorry to tell you that I’m dating your husband. (At this point Laura and I are snorting back giggles and nearly peeing our pants.)

Unwitting Victim: You G.D. kids stop playing on the phone! (Click)

Sometimes the victim was funnier than we were:

Unwitting Victim: Hello

Me: (trying even harder to sound sexy with my limited knowledge of sex) Hi, I’m Misty, (not a classy name, but it has its allure) I have big, big breasts (I only knew the proper names for body parts.) and I’m really, really sorry to inform you that I’ve been dating your husband.

Unwitting Victim: Well good for you, Misty. He’s an old asshole! You can have him! (Tons of honking laughter after that one!)

Our pranking went on for nearly an entire school year until I came up with the bright idea of calling Andy Gibb, the pop star that Laura and I were madly in love with. Tiger Beat magazine had long ago informed us that he had spent his childhood in Australia, so we decided there would be the perfect place to begin our quest. Little did we know that there was a charge for international directory assistance, as well as a very large fee for calling five people in Sydney with the surname Gibb. When the phone bill arrived, our after school game soon became doing yard work to pay Laura’s parents back.

After my punishment was complete, I soon found myself in a rigorous after-school tennis program. Yet despite my mother’s warnings of jail time and other wicked punishments for cranking, I still couldn’t quell the desire to hear those first few rings, to hear that innocent “hello” and to experience the first stifled snickers of my friends as they listened in. The phone was my drug, and I was its slave. As soon as I turned 13 and was old enough to watch my little brother after school, the cranking began again. Like any good addict, I taught my brother to make calls with me, that way I was assured in his not tattling to the parental units. My evil plot worked and we cranked our way through high school without getting caught. The summer after graduation, I left for my state’s university, tearfully handing our tattered phonebook over to my brother, making him promise to continue our sordid legacy.

You might think that the advent of college would mature me, and make pranking less enticing, but you would be thinking incorrectly. I was blessed with a roommate who was just as silly as I was, and one night while having a few friends over for drinks, we decided to make some prank calls. It was free to call any phone on campus so we each took turns calling different dorms. When it was my turn, my friend Kevin suggested I call a neighboring guys dorm and tell them I was a phone sex operator calling to see if I could provide any services. With four Pabst Blue Ribbons in my system, Kevin’s suggestion seemed the logical thing to do. Here’s my fuzzy recollection of that call:

Unwitting Dorm Guy: Hello

Me: (doing my fairly decent Marilyn Monroe imitation) Hello, this is Trixie. (Yes, I got the name from Speedracer.) I’m calling from the campus sex line to see if there’s anything at all that I can do for you, if you know what I mean. (Mind you, I’m still a gigantic virgin at the time of this call!)

Unwitting Dorm Guy: Our campus has a sex line?

Kevin: (butting in) Tell him you’ll toss his salad!

Me: Yes we have a really hot sex line, and (having NO idea what this means) I make a really, really good salad!

Unwitting Dorm Guy: You do?

Kevin: (butting in again) Tell him you want a Dirty Sanchez!

Me: (to Kevin) What’s that?

Unwitting Dorm Guy: Kevin? Is that you? Hey, is that Kevin Peters? Hey Kevin!

Me: Oh, Shit! (Click!)

Long story short: “Unwitting Dorm Guy” was, by a stroke of fate, one of Kevin’s friends. He, of course, wanted to meet the girl with the sexy voice. After Kevin assured him that I was basically a very good girl and not at all like my alter ego, Trixie, Kevin introduced us. “Unwitting Dorm Guy” eventually became my college boyfriend, my first husband and the father of my two daughters. Glean from my experience with prank calling any advice or cautioning that you wish. But, I will warn you, cranking is like heroin and I have an itchy dialing finger.

**Readers, I invite you to share your prank phone call stories in the comments section. (Yes, I do realize it’s my addiction asking you to do this!)