Phone scammers want to take you on a Sleigh Ride

Santa resisted going to North Pole Primary Care this year for the drugs that help when anti-depressants aren’t quite enough.

But news of 2019 clearly had brought him down.

And after months of patient reasoning, Mrs. Claus looked over the top rims of her glasses as he looked over the tops of his and said: “Dear, the elves all understand. Everyone in the workshop knows that the North Pole isn’t the place to have bi-polar episodes.”

Well, I’ve been feeling Santa’s pain.

There were times this year when I just wanted to fly to the Ukraine and cry me a river — or, as they say it over there, Crimea River.

For the first time in decades, I struggled to muster up enough holiday spirit to write my annual Christmas Carol column.

When I finally did, logistical problems reared their Grinchly heads.

Because of the volume of online shopping and shipping, the package containing the column arrived late at the office. For a while, the tracking tool indicated it was lost somewhere in the huge Amazon Basin. But it finally arrived.

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Because of the emotional drag of the news, I decided to avoid politics altogether this year and explore other areas of human failure. So I didn’t indulge in petty remarks snarkily suggesting that Leve, Igor and Rudy were the three wisemen.

But then, a political idea struck me that I thought might bring us together as a people.

I call it Land Line, Land Mine.

We all know it will take years to hash out what Facebook and other online giants should do about corrupt online communications. But the time is ripe to give up on the legitimacy of telephone land lines and declare them as the official mode of communications for scammers, both foreign and domestic.

My two cents?

We should deal with land lines as we have dealt with gambling, alcohol and pot use: Legalize the illegal activity and tax it, using the funds to reimburse people we fully know are going to be ripped off.

My sources tell me Santa and Will Ferrell already are at work on developing a new and profitable line of Christmas toys tailor made for the new era of legalized land lines: The “Stop, Look and Don’t Listen” for children.

It will include recordings that teach children never to answer a ringing land line or, if they finally get annoyed by the ringing, to answer, to hang up the receiver if they hear:

A. An awkward pause and the sound of someone belatedly picking up a phone.

B. A ringing sound that of the sort they would hear if they had actually dialed a phone.

C. A mispronunciation of their name.

D. A correct pronunciation of their name.

Because I was always impressed with how many lives were saved after the release of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, I’ve written lyrics to a public service announcement to broadcast on the all-Christmas radio stations throughout the holiday season.

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It will hit the target audience – vulnerable seniors — because most of the tunes on the Christmas air lists are old enough to collect Social Security. And, to me, there’s no greater Christmas classic than Irving Berlin’s Sleigh Ride.

So warm up your voices, take a deep breath and start singing again.

You hear that phone a ring-aling

Jing-jing-jingling, too.

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a scammer to be calling on you.

Your late mother’s number

is on the caller ID.

So you’ll be sure the caller

wants to get your money for free.

Get-it-out, get-it-out, get-it out, let’s go,

the charge card you own.

Just read the numbers in the phone.

Get-it-out, get-it-out, get-it-out, it’s grand.

They’re pulling a scam.

They’re robbing you blind without an Uzi in either hand.

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The voice is nice and rosy and seems so sorry, you see,

To tell you ‘bout your warrant from Social Security.

Just use that number for ‘em and wire on a thousand or two.

Come on, it’s lovely weather for a scam ride together with you.

There’s a time share on the market now from Farmer Gray,

In a hellish place no one would ever spend a day.

If you fall for this one they’ll celebrate and champagne corks will pop.

As the value of your new condo never stops … to drop, drop, drop.

There’s a sinking feeling and the sound of anguished sighs.

When they bilk you out of all the savings of your life.

It’ll nearly be like the settlement for Bernie Madoff’s wife.

Such sorrowful things are the things that ruin many lives ….

Such sorrowful things are the things that ruin many lives.

Now, as we imagine together the sounds of sleigh bells and clopping horses’ hooves leading up to the trumpet’s neigh …. let me for the umpteenth year wish you and yours, they and theirs, and our and ours the merriest whatever-you-celebrate and the happiest, well, election year, to come.

Next week: A special New Year’s recipe: Nancy Pelosi’s Impeaches ‘n Cream.

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