humor logo

APRIL 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 4



All the Miscues That Are Fit to Print


Bar Room Translations




...Before the Beep
Answering Machine Messages that Grab Your Attention

messages submitted by CHRIS MORIN

In a time when technology rules our world and telephones connect us, answering machine messages are fast becoming a canvas for creativity. A place for vocal artists and out-of-work former English majors to ply their trade. A forum for snippets of wisdom and wit, imparted upon the masses of friends and telemarkters alike. The medium has become so popular that books have been written chock full of cute suggestions and variations on the traditional greetings.

The following is a list of messages that were supposedly recorded then verified by a mysterious organization called the International Institute of Answering Machine Answers. We're not too certain that such a place actually exists (or why it would exist), but we do know one thing: real or not these message are guaranteed to get some sort of response.

"My wife and I can't come to the phone right now, but if you'll leave your name and number, we'll get back to you as soon as we're finished."

"A is for academics, B is for beer. One of those reasons is why we're not here. So leave a message."

"Hi. This is John: If you are the phone company, I already sent the money. If you are my parents, please send money. If you are my financial aid institution, you didn't lend me enough money. If you are my friends, you owe me money. If you are a female, don't worry, I have plenty of money."

"Hi. Now you say something."

"Hi, I'm not home right now but my answering machine is, so you can talk to it instead. Wait for the beep."

"Hello. I am David's answering machine. What are you?"

"Hello! If you leave message, I'll call you soon. If you leave sexy message, I'll call sooner!"

"Hi! John's answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I'll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets."

"Hello, you are talking to a machine. I am capable of receiving messages. My owners do not need siding, windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean. They give to charity through their office and do not need their picture taken. If you're still with me, leave your name and number and they will get back to you."

"This is not an answering machine - this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling and a number where I can reach you, and I'll think about returning your call."

"Hi. I am probably home, I'm just avoiding someone I don't like. Leave me a message, and if I don't call back, it's you."

"Hi, this is George. I'm sorry I can't answer the phone right now. Leave a message, and then wait by your phone until I call you back."

"If you are a burglar, then we're probably at home cleaning our weapons right now and can't come to the phone. Otherwise, we probably aren't home and it's safe to leave us a message."

"Please leave a message. However, you have the right to remain silent. Everything you say will be recorded and will be used by us."

"Hello, you've reached Jim and Sonya. We can't pick up the phone right now, because we're doing something we really enjoy. Sonya likes doing it up and down, and I like doing it left to right ... real slowly. So leave a message, and when we're done brushing our teeth we'll get back to you."

* * * *