War On Information

, , , , | Right | September 6, 2017

(I work as a receptionist at a major institute which archives materials about war and genocide. I get a caller who is angry, and very… shall we say, confused. Also, I have no idea whether he is wrong about his mother’s age or her past; obviously he has one of these two “facts” very wrong indeed…)

Me: “[Institute], you’re speaking with [My Name].”

Caller: “Hi, yes, I was given your number. I am calling to complain that [Popular Cable Company] is having some very major problems. Just yesterday my cable service was behaving very erratically.”

Me: “Sir, you—”

Caller: “Just yesterday, again, we sat down; me and my mother, we sat down; she’s 49 today. So we sat down and, she lived through the War, you know! Anyway, we sat down to watch something and the TV turned itself off!”

Me: *speaking very quickly so as to get a word in edgewise* “Sir, you know you’ve called the [Institute], yes? We—”

Caller: “Yes, of COURSE I did! This cannot be allowed to go on! My mother, she went through the War; it’s her birthday and she’s 49; she can’t be expected to deal with this, so something has to be done now.”

Me: “Sir, I am not sure I follow. What—”

Caller: “It’s no coincidence. It’s a huge, evil scandal is what it is. They do it so SYSTEMATICALLY! Look, every single time my mother wants to watch something about the War, the cable goes out or other things happen. A week ago it was the BBC: the cable company switched to another channel every time we tried to watch a War documentary on the BBC! And yesterday the TV just turned off. By itself! Because we wanted to watch something about the War on a Belgian channel. A few weeks ago, we wanted to watch something on [Dutch Channel] about the Hunger Winter, and the station went off the air! Every. Single. Time. It happens every single time. This has been—”

Me: “SIR! I’m sorry, but we are not in any way affiliated with [Cable Company].”

Caller: “I know that, but you are the War people! I am giving you information! That’s what you do! I am giving you information, and something needs to be done with the information I am giving you. Goebbels said it: ‘Whoever controls the information controls the world.’ They are doing this on purpose, that is completely obvious. It is far too obvious, so how are they even getting away with it? Why would they do this? They block everything to do with the War, everything! No matter what station it will be on, no matter what the program, if it is about the War, the TV turns off, or the cable starts acting wonky, or the electricity in the neighborhood goes out or—”

Me: “SIR! As I said, there really isn’t anything we—”

Caller: “SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE WITH THIS INFORMATION! I am calling YOU because this is IMPORTANT INFORMATION and something HAS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT! This cannot go ON! I am giving you information! My mother, she’s 49; she went through the War; this is too much for her! They think a MOTHER can stand up to this kind of thing? A MOTHER?”

Me: “Sir, I think it really would be better if you contact, for example, the cable company itself, or the Better Business Bureau, or the local registry of—”

Caller: “None of them care! Are you nuts? This has been going on for SEVEN YEARS! Why would they do anything about it NOW? Okay, I did call all of them, everyone, all of them, years and years ago, but they don’t care. Two years ago, I called the police and they assured me they would do something about it, and it WAS better for two weeks, but then it all started again, and the police didn’t want to talk to me anymore. So, I am giving you information.”

Me: “Sir, what is it that—”

Caller: “A MOTHER! A mother who had to live through the War and now this! You are the ones, you are the—”

Me: “SIR! WHAT are you asking us to DO?”

Caller: “SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE WITH THIS INFORMATION!”

Me: “Sir, I will tell people here about your call, but I doubt we can do very much about—”

Caller: “Yes! Yes, good, TELL THEM! Tell your information people!”

Me: “I will very definitely do that, sir.”

Caller: *sounding mollified* “Good… good. Thank you. That’s good. Because something has to be done with my information, the information that I am giving you, my call, the information. Thank you.” *click*

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