Those of you who have followed our blog are aware of the rather “interesting” proposals or pitches we receive. After so many years of doing this, it is almost hard to be surprised. Until a recent telephone exchange.
Me: This is Steve Laube.
Caller: How do I go about getting an idea to your company?
Me: Have you looked at our website? It’s all laid out there for anyone to follow.
Caller: No. What website?
Me: (???) How did you find this number to call?
Caller: You are in the phone book.
Me: [[stunned silence]]
I couldn’t reply with anything more than some stumbling comment like “You’ll need to look up the information.”
Caller: Thanks, Dude.
Dude? May I write “LOL” at that farewell?
I was too flummoxed by the phone book reference. What phone book? It’s been years since I’ve seen one. You can buy a “vintage” 1994 phone book on eBay for $100. The “phone book” has all but been scrubbed from our vocabulary!
I suspect the caller had done a Google search for agents in Arizona and just called a number they found (and called it a phone book). It happens rather frequently despite attempts to scrub that phone number off the Internet. I know the writers who use this method are well-meaning and simply don’t know. I try not to be annoyed by it (not always successfully).
It made me think about how our language and communication continue to change at a rapid pace. It seems like yesterday when having a separate phone line for a fax machine was critical to one’s business. Today one doesn’t even need a scanner to scan a document; you can simply use a free scanning app on your smartphone.
My point? It doesn’t take much to present the semblance of being businesslike. A little research and you can avoid being an object lesson in an editor or agent’s next blog post.
When was the last time you were startled by a reference to something innocuous in a conversation?