This morning, I was firmly committed to writing an interesting piece about the proliferation of tiny microscopic insects that live all over our bodies. I know you are waiting to read this, but I’ll just have to save it for a later week. Stay tuned.

No, I will spend this time telling you about my first phone call. As I’ m reading the paper and enjoying my morning tea, I am interrupted by someone on my caller id that goes by the name of ‘unidentified.’Normally I would not answer these kinds of calls, but I thought it might be one of my sons and so I picked it up anyway.

Well, it was the billing department for my local phone company. It seems they are looking for my money. Again. I paid them just last month. Anyway, I told the lady that I had mailed her check along with the rest of our bills last week as I always do.

Her answer So how did you send it”dear reader, did you notice in the paragraph above where I told her that ‘I had mailed it the previous week”

Obviously she did not hear that part. So I politely told her that I had sent it by carrier pigeon. I should have asked her to look out the window and see if the bird was still sitting there, but that thought didn’t occur to me until later.

She didn’t laugh which showed me she suffered from a lack of humor.

I find this fairly common in bill collectors.

As well as people who work in funeral homes, but that’s another story.

Anyway, her next question was fairly predictable; she wanted to know the check number, the date on the check and the address where I sent it.

Now, remember, I’m sitting in a chair at my house reading the paper’ I tell her, no problem, can she hold on for a few moments while I get dressed, go to my office, turn on my computer, wait until it boots up and then look up this information for her that she needs’By this time she realizes that I am not a cooperative person and tells me to ‘Have a good day’and hangs up.

The problem I am having with corporations these days is that they seem to want you to mail your checks to them at least 10 to 15 days ahead of time in order for them to be processed. This tells me that they are getting too much stuff in the mail or that they don’t have enough people to handle the incoming flow of payments. Perhaps both.

Now the current trend is to get you to sign up for electronic payments in which they hit your bank account for whatever you owe them at the same time each and every month. All of their processing is done by computers so they save money on folks opening envelopes and posting the checks to their accounts. Kind of like the banks did to us with ATM’s. When was the last time you actually walked into a bank and cashed a check’

No, the current trend is to get us to sign up for automatic bank drafts to get our bills paid’I don’t like it. I want to see what is on my bill before I pay for it. It’s bad enough that little things get added to my charge cards each month without my authorization and then you play holy heck trying to find out what they are and how to get them removed.

You can get an e-mail from some company telling you about one thing or another and before you know it, you have signed up for a year’s subscription to some Chinese Investment Newsletter that comes to you in the mail and by e-mail every day. Try getting those deleted from automatic drafts; it’s easier to talk to your congressman.

Maybe not.

My good hearted wife never said anything while I was giving the lady from the phone company a hard time. All she said afterwards was that the young woman was just doing her job and that she was probably someone’s daughter, wife or mother.

There goes the knife in my heart. So, if you are reading this and you work for the phone company and you called me this morning and I was rude, please accept my apology. I am sorry for my behavior.

I’ll pick the fastest pigeon to deliver your check next month.