Monday, April 05, 2010

Are You the Party to Whom I am Speaking?

Will the real Vernon Pope stand up? For over six years, I have received dunning phone calls for him despite at least five conversations with various offshore Customer Disservice folks with Indian accents, each of whom assured me that my number would be removed from their annals. They all lied.

Exactly what part of "We don't know him - this is not his number" do they fail to understand? It seems that his debt, however large, should have fallen off his credit report by now. I think this occurs after seven years, but during that time a lot of buying and selling of accounts transpires among collection agencies. Kind of like a Virginia Reel, or a very large cluster fuck.

Meanwhile, Vernon Pope is doubtless living it up in Tahiti or Marrakech, leaving me holding the bag. He is laughing as he sips countless mai tais on breezy verandahs because he knows that I am taking care of business. But he is deluded. I want a divorce. We have never met, nor do I have the slightest interest in doing so, yet he has caused me considerable distress as countless debt collectors invade my life at all hours, demanding money on his behalf.

Vernon Pope, you and I have irreconcilable differences, and it's time you manned up and took responsibility for your own steaming pile of bills. Nowhere in that custody agreement am I mentioned as a person who will tend your errant progeny without benefit. You need to euthanize it, humanely or not. It makes no difference to me -- I have no dog in this fight.

Only changing my phone number will get rid of you, but I should not have to incur further inconvenience. I hope you understand that we cannot keep going like this. I want my freedom. Oh, Vernon Pope. we hardly knew ye.


meno said...

You just know those callers think you are lying when you say you don't know the man, at least that's how i always feel, especially when they ask, "are you SURE?"


TechnoBabe said...

The problem with changing the phone number is the new number you get could have someone calling that too. The grass is not greener and neither is the phone number.

Maria said...

I used to live in a town house and nearly every weekend some forlorn man would call and ask for Sharita. Apparently this was the number that she handed out to men at bars when she wanted to make a clean getaway.

Saint Dolores said...

i've had people come to my door looking for "javier". I told them their search might have something to do with how cheaply i'd gotten this house. good luck, person who pretends to not be pope but no one's buying it.

Laura Lee said...

Hilarious when it's not happening to you... all these comments made me giggle. Sorry, peeps... but I've had similar issues which is why I can laugh at it now.

Heart, if only you could somehow squeeze a French Vanilla Latte onto just ONE of his credit cards to make up for the inconvenience... I bet you'd feel better. And THEN change your number. =o)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I can't blame them for making that assumption - they don't know me OR the perpetrator - that's perp if you watch as much Law and Order as I do.


Good point. I could get the number of someone hiding from the mob in witness protection.


Sharita is a porn "actress" with um, a large following.


Yes, I'm really Pope, and you murdered Javier and stuffed him inside a wall of your home. I won't tell if you don't.

Laura Lee,

I can't imagine that he has any working credit cards, and he probably didn't pay his phone bill, either, which is why I have the number now.

nick said...

That must be a real pain in the arse. Perhaps if you put on a very thick foreign accent they might believe you aren't Vernon Pope?

For years at our old house we used to get calls for the Quakers, who previously had our phone number. Fortunately it wasn't for some 24/7 organisation. Or Sharita.

the walking man said...

I kept getting the same kind of calls. I told them I hadn't seen the guy for three years but if they found him to let me know because that son of a bitch owes me money too. Matter of fact I insisted that if they found him they had to let me know because I have a lien against any real property I can locate.

As soon as they realized that i was saying I had a higher legal standing than they did they stopped calling.

secret agent woman said...

I had a l;ong series of calls like that - even telling them my social security number was different didn't stop them. I finally decided that was what my answering machine and the delete button were for.

Bob said...

lily tomlin as Ernestine the operator routine was a hoot. one ringydingy, two ringydingies.....

This clip is especially apropos to this blog post.

Anonymous said...

And those who do know Vernon -- I have on good authority -- are sorry that they do.

On the other hand, I have often confused Virginia Reels with cluster fucks.

Seriously, though. What a drag.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Start giving the bill collectors a sales pitch and see what you can sell them while they are presenting you with the opportunity... "Since I've got you on the phone, I have this fantastic... whatchamathingy that you just CANNOT live without... only $19.95 today, plus shipping and handling..."

See how long they stay on the phone with you.

Or, I wonder if you can start blocking numbers? Too time consuming?

...or you could hand the phone to Flip and see what happens... ;D

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...


The Quakers as in religious group, or the cereal people? We also get calls periodically for a labor union whose number is one-off from ours. The collection people in India probably already think I have a thick accent.


Great idea, but it could backfire if they believe I actually know him. I usually let the calls go to my answering machine but periodically try to make them understand that I am not their guy.


Yes, exactly. I LOVE caller ID.


Lily Tomlin is Da Bomb. Thanks for the video - She is omniPOtent!


Anyone could make that mistake.


So helpful! Now that's what I call selling outside the box.

the only daughter said...

Just today on (the work number) I received a a call from some vendor attempting to collect a debt from Victory Plumbers. Far and away NOT the name of my (employer's) company. I identified the company when I answered the phone, I repeated it. He went on to tell the address of the company he was looking for, I confirmed that again was not us. A couple of rounds of this and he finally seemed to get it. Then he signed off, "Thank you for your business. If you have any questions, please call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Okay?"

This, however is preferable to the wrong number we receive periodically from women trying to connect with a battered women's shelter. That stings.

mischief said...

Nobody wants to be mistaken for the Pope these days. Stick to your guns. Deny deny deny.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Your work caller sounds like just another person on autopilot. The battered shelter calls are scary. Maybe you can find out the real number - it's probably close to yours - and have it handy next time.


Round yon Vernon mother and Pope,
Holy shit, it's the old rope-a-dope
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

nick said...

The religious group. We never got people asking for porridge recipes, thank goodness.

Jo said...

I did some digging, and there is a Vernon Pope in Santa Rosa. Could this be the person they're looking for?

My mother's phone number was one digit off from the Victoria Yacht Club, and she was always getting calls -- day and night -- from women looking for their husbands. She got so fed up, she finally just said, "He's busy right now and he can't come to the phone..."

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You've got it all wrong - porridge is much easier to find than God.


I have no idea - he could be anywhere.

I do so love your mother!

TaraDharma said...

do like i do: move often, only have a cell phone, and only answer when you know who the caller is! we got rid of sooooo many annoying phone calls when we gave up the land line a few months back.

the only daughter said...

Yes, the shelter calls are scary. And i have ocated the actual number and yes, have had opportunity to pass it on.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I hate to give up the land line but it might be time to have only a cell. We do get lots of calls for people who don't live here.


That's great. Hopefully some of these women will get help because of you.

Jocelyn said...

You're about one phone call away from taking this thing to the next level, aren't you? Will you tell them you've murdered Vernon and put him in the crock pot for Sunday dinner? Will you tell them the cheque's in the mail?

I suspect they're about to regret ever dialing your digits.