My brother called me one day last week when I was in WinCo, shopping for groceries. It was a little hard to bag broccoli and cart around carrots while simultaneously chatting on the phone, so I said I’d call him back.
Yesterday, I dialed his number and the following conversation took place.
“Hey,” he said. “What’s up?”
“You tell me,” I replied.
“But you called me.”
“No, you called me. I’m calling you back.”
“What do you mean, you’re calling me back?”
“Remember last week when you called me and I had my hands full, so I promised to call you back? This is me fulfilling my promise.”
“That was four days ago!”
“Right. So, what’s going on?”
“Calling four days later doesn’t count as calling me back. It’s a new call.”
“No, it’s an extension of the last call. The only reason I dialed your number is because you dialed mine first. Ergo, this is calling you back.”
“What if you had called me two months from now? Would you consider that calling me back?”
“Of course not. Too much time would have passed.”
“Four days is too much time!”
“Four days is a drop in the cosmic bucket. So, what’s up?”
This whole Seinfeldian exchange (and ensuing debate) does bring up a good question. At what point does a call back stop being a call back and become a regular call? Is there any way to measure this objectively?
Does a call back have an expiration date?
In my mind, apparently that distinction lands somewhere between four days and two months. I just don’t know where. My brother, on the other hand, would have none of that. I asked him to give me credit for calling him back, but like a corporate banker sitting across from a bankrupt man, he patently refused my request.
And then, to make matters worse, he dissed Rush.
I mentioned that Portland is one of the stops on their 40th anniversary tour this summer, and we were thinking of going. At that point he made a gagging sound over the phone.
“You don’t like Rush?” I asked.
“Hate ’em,” he replied. “I’ll give you three reasons why. A) They’re Canadian. B) Their lead singer sounds whiny and nasally. C) “Tom Sawyer.”
I thought my brother’s points were completely off base. Except for the Canadian thing, of course. Can’t trust our neighbors to the north worth a damn. But Tom Petty’s got the whole nasally thing working for him, so why not Geddy Lee? And what’s wrong with “Tom Sawyer,” anyway?!
What you say about his company is what you say about society. Catch the mist, catch the myth. Catch the mystery, catch the drift.
So, do you think I called my brother back, or did I just call my brother? And what about Rush? Would you pay to see them in concert?