The newspaper has always gotten weird phone calls, emails, and now, private message on Facebook. I roll my eyes about it, but sometimes I don't mind.
I'm busy, and the pandemic hasn't made things much easier. But with the rest of the news staff working mostly off-site, sometimes it gets a little monotonous and boring, although I can always wander into another department to stretch my legs and gossip. And since the office is closed for now to the public - or "to publication," as the sign on the door embarrasingly says - folks who need to talk to us can't just drop by. One woman did drop by today, jiggled the door, and called my cell phone to tell me about the error. I told her I knew about it and had told the office clerk, but she got sidetracked, because an irate man just called from the porch (as I write, it's after 6 p.m. Friday) and asked if I needed a dictionary.
People are a bit tense these days, due to the pandemic, and the election has made things worse. By the time you read this, we may have some answers - but maybe not. An individual I won't identify shouted at me Friday, after complaining about all the cheating "you Democrats" do. There's no way that many mail-in ballots could be for Biden, he said. I said he might be right about the cheating, but started to explain Democrats were far more likely to vote by mail than Republicans, both since Dems are more concerned about COVID, and because Trump advised Repubs to vote in person. I didn't get to finish; I was interrupted by a repetitive hailstorm of a word used to describe what a male of the bovine subfamily produces when it lifts its tail in a pasture.
I used to have a bunch of strange requests, death threats, and long stories that needed to be made short saved on the voice mail of our old PBX, which may still be mouldering in the press room. One woman dropped the f-bomb several times after her mom's name was in the paper, and identified herself so I could await her arrival to "kick your *ss, b*tch."
My favorite "saved" call was one to former coworker Sarah Hart, from a woman who reported that, "I got cat-bit - by a cat that didn't look too good-a taken care of?" Second place went to a woman with a granddaughter in Tahlequah's elementary school band. The gal - who was "on oxygen, honey" - rambled on for at least five minutes, complaining about how "Mr. Harvey Price and Mr. Terry Garrett, they got 'em a war a-goin' on." Harvey was the band director at the time; Terry was one of the principals.
A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone for 20 minutes with a nice lady in her 80s who laid virtual "hands" on me and prayed for healing for the newspaper, and anyone on staff who had COVID. Last week, I had a nice conversation with Gary Gore, another former Tahlequah principal. He was worried about Fred Gibson, who used to write a column for us. I told him I'd contact Fred to make sure he was OK, and Fred wrote back. I told him to give Gary a call.
But the recent winner, so far, came Thursday. The little old lady, with trembling voice, started out by saying, "I ain't reg'lar." I thought at first she meant she wasn't a subscriber - that she'd ask if she missed a story she expected to see, or complain about one she did see but didn't like, and in either case to tacitly acknowledge that, as a sporadic reader, her grievance might not be taken to heart. She got to the point: "Which pharmacist would you say kin hep me best, 'cause I ain't had a bow' moomint in a week?" I couldn't stifle a laugh, and she chuckled herself, adding that the pharmacist she used to trust had "finally died off," as if the whole species had gone extinct.
Unfortunately for Jason Mutz at Reasor's, he's the only pharmacist I know. I tagged him on Facebook and wished him luck. I'll see if he tells me what happened.