Thursday, February 26, 2009

When the inevitable occurs

I knew this would happen, sooner or later.

I work in a library, and, whenever the phone rings, before answering, I mentally review my standard greeting, which is simply to identify the library and give my name.

I do this because a certain phrase has been stuck in my mind for a quarter of a century, firmly entrenched and trying to pop out of my mouth every time I pick up the phone.

Today it finally did. I was talking with a coworker when the phone rang, so I forgot to perform my standard mental review. I picked up the receiver and, without hesitation, said:

"Northeastern Navy Band, Petty Officer Mullen speaking. This is an unsecure line."

Just as I was about to add "May I help you, sir," I realized what I was doing.

"Whoops," I said.

"Frank?" said the caller.

It was the president of the library's board of directors, my boss's boss, the civilian equivalent, you might say, of the admiral.

Fortunately she has a sense of humor. In fact, she laughed so hard, I doubt she heard the names I was calling myself.

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