May 14, 2019 By Ilene Herman

Foiled Again

Somewhere, perhaps in a dim, dark cellar, or maybe in the bowels of a snow-swept mountain, they meet. I can see them, saliva dripping from their evil mouths as they cackle with glee. The whole rotten band is there: Moriarty, Pruneface, The Joker, Goldfinger, Dr. No. They are surrounded by a large contingent from Smurf, the Covenant, and all the other organizations that exist to promote chaos. Here and there, a red tail wags and burning caldrons shine in fiery eye sockets.

Their aim of course is to disrupt, to confound and to turn my world into bedlam. They thought they had me — and often they did — by inserting their vicious viruses into my computer. However, brighter minds than mine could foil them at times so they clamor for more. What will it be? Daily I wait for that grim group to pounce and they never disappoint.

Their mischief is manifesting everywhere. They hide my car keys, but little did they realize I have a spare set. They shrink my clothes, but there too I have them — I can buy new ones. They erase messages on my answering machine, but kind souls come to my aid and call back. Did I really expect I could outsmart them?


Their instrument of choice is a benign one — one they knew I would hardly suspect of being on their side. It is just a useful everyday object I have employed happily for many years. My telephone. For a talker like me, the phone has always had a friendly face. It has put me in touch with many voices, loud and soft, high and low, fast and slow; all bringing welcome sound to my ready ears.

But now, I regard that instrument with suspicion and yes, even fear. I pick up the receiver or open the cell, take a deep breath and utter a silent prayer. I only want some simple information; something my phone has helped to provide me with so many times.

Here it comes again, my worst nightmare. The same frustrating message delivered slightly differently by different voices. Whether they be melodious, monotonous, saccharine sweet or authoritative, they all have the same effect.

“Press one for this, two for that, three for the other” and so on and so on. “None of the above!” I think. Perhaps, if I can find a person, I will try, but the demons prevail. I get the first step right and then, “Please punch in your social security number followed by your account number and your date of birth and then your pin.” I flunked. “Sorry, we did not receive the correct information — please punch in —”. The voice sounds disappointed. I try again. This time it has a tinge of disdain: “Sorry, we did not receive —.”

In the background I hear them cackle with glee once more.


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