Tony Peyser: The Caller Said, "Arnie Paysler, Please."


“Ma’am . . . no one calls my Dad 'Arnie' and
I also need to mention you
Pronounced our last name totally wrong, so
You’re now batting 0 for 2.”

“Forgive me for those mistakes. I feel awful
Having made them.” “No need,”
I said as I interrupted her. “Ancient history.
Please - if you will −proceed.”

“I’m calling from Medicare,” she went on.
“Excuse me,” I said quite cheery,
“But I have some information to pass along
Which may relate to your query.”

I cleared my throat for emphasis and then
Without any misgiving
Explained, “Mister Paysler is no longer, as
They say, among the living.”

This mortified gal (whose name I never got)
Said, “I’m . . . so . . . so . . . so − ”
“Sorry must be the word you’re searching for:
Thanks for letting me know.”

There was such an awful silence on the line,
I thought (like my Dad) it was dead.
It wasn’t. She should have hung up but didn’t:
She foolishly soldiered on instead.

“It does appear I must’ve had some . . . old data.”
Were the last words I heard her say.
“Well,” I replied, without missing a beat, “I had
An old dadda and he died yesterday.”