Technology that drives us crazy

Published 6:01 am Saturday, March 31, 2018

Do you get those nuisance phone calls that make you want to go off the grid, retreat to a one-room cabin up a holler with no phones, computers, or even televisions.

With the hackers on Android cell phones and the mining and sell of data on Facebook and bank accounts, you might want to take your paycheck in cash and keep that cash in your mattress. Once the hackers have your personal information, one of the least harmful things they do is sell it to a third party, to those who want to sell you something or influence you, your vote. At times those legitimate businesses ask us to opt out if we don’t want our information shared, and at other times they don’t.

The phone calls and emails drive me wild. It’s easy to just delete emails since I’m at my computer anyway, but the phone calls are another matter. If the caller is not identified, I have no problem in not answering. If, however, I’m deep in a murder mystery and the phone rings, I always think it might be one of my sons or grandchildren or even one of my students, desperate for help: crashed on the side of the highway, in jail for speeding, needing help with a speech, or in a quandary I have yet to imagine. So before I know it, I’m off the couch and grabbing the phone.

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When the callers start telling me that my computer has a virus or I’ve won a trip to the Bahamas, I go ballistic. I even had one of those calls recently from someone who called me “Grandmother.” I wondered what scam was coming up next, but I just disconnected the phone.

Have you ever wanted to harass one of these callers with comments like “If you’ll hold on, my dog wants to go up on the roof,” or “My goldfish needs to take a walk” or “Nature is calling and I need to go to the toilet, but I’ll be back in about ten minutes” and then use your mouth and the back of your hand to create a noise directly into the receiver to sound as if you’re passing gas.

One I’ve been seriously considering is “Please hold. My shrink is beeping in trying to reach me. I’ve been diagnosed with multiple personalities. I’m a serial killer some days. Could I have your name and address so I can get back with you?”

Or if like me, you learned as a child to speak Pig Latin, trying that on a caller might be fun: “Ouya, eallyray riveday emay razycay.”

Another possibility is that few of the callers will know Latin, so if you can recall your high school Latin, begin conjugating a verb: “amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatus, amant.”

You might want to know how this topic came up for this week’s column or perhaps you don’t care. If you don’t care, stop reading.

In a letter dated March 2, 2018, and which I received days later, I was informed by Premier Health Plan that my coverage with them would end March 31, 2018. I was warned “It is important that you take action before March 31, 2018 … .”

What did I do? I took action and signed up for a new insurance plan on March 19, 2018. But someone, however, had given my name and phone number to dozens of insurers who have been calling to hawk their plans. Information compromised- yet again. Privacy out the window.

And Premier Health indicates it has been losing millions, thus the need to drop me and 9,500 others. Perhaps they need to employ more competent actuaries.

Contact Dr. Blevins at