I had a phone conversation recently with a man who talked like a woman.

By that, I don't mean the tenor of his voice resembled Michael Jackson or Mike Tyson or Aaron Neville belting a tune. No, he spoke with a healthy bass and has no idea what a "mauve pullover" is - which I'm guessing is some type of dessert.

What he does is talk on the phone like a woman.

Make this Chapter XXLIXCVI on the differences between men and women: The way they talk on the phone. Men talk on the phone for a reason - that reason usually being that they want to find out something.

"Can I have a large pepperoni pizza?"

"When does the game start?"

"How do you get a cat out of the garbage disposal?"

"What's the line on Bowlinag Green and Akron?"

What's the name of that guy that played Potsie?"

"When is last call?"

That sort of thing. To men, a phone is a tool - a communicative device used to convey crucial information.

Even when a call is of the social nature, as was the case with the aforementioned call, all men want to know is what is going on, when it's going on, and who cares about why? Superfluous superficialities are not on the agenda.

Of course, in this recent conversation, this guy started talking about something he was watching on television, then started on another topic, and 30 minutes later, after I hung up, I had no idea what was going on with his life, he knew nothing of mine, and we never got to the reason I called him in the first place. And I paid for it!

The standard man phone call goes as follows:

Man #1: "Hey, what's up?"

Man #2: "Had my spleen removed last week."

Man #1: "Really? Did it hurt?"

Man #2: "No, not particularly. What's going on with you?"

Man #1: "Nothing. The Braves stink."

Man #2: "You're crazy. Their roster is mostly rookies. They're playing way over their heads. So, when are you coming around here?"

Man #1: "About a month. I'll call you before I stop by."

Man #2: "Okay, I'm tired of talking to you. Bye."

Man #1: "Bye."

Right to the point. No idle chitchat. Find out what's going on, briefly assess the state of affairs, discuss future plans if needed, then move on.

Woman have a different view of phone conversations. They too view a phone as a tool - a tool used to relieve boredom. Whenever I leave my home, before I even get to my car, I can look back and my wife will be on the phone. When I return, and it doesn't matter if I've been gone 20 minutes or 20 hours, she's still on the phone.

And it's not as if she, or any of her female ilk, are talking about something that can't be saved for a face-to-face encounter.

The standard woman phone call goes as follows:

Woman #1: "Hey, what are you doing?"

Woman #2: "Hey, what are you doing?"

Woman #1: "Nothing. What are you doing?"

Woman #2: "Nothing... wait a second, I have another call."

(10 minutes later)

Woman #2: "Sorry about that. Hey, what are you doing?"

Woman #1: "Nothing. What are you doing?"

And this goes on for one-to-four hours, interspersed by details about a new rug one of them is considering buying or other such high-priority conversation. I generalize - sure - but some of you share its smell of truth.

That said, "Potsie" of TV's "Happy Days" was played by the splendid actor Anson Williams.

Saved you a phone call.

Len Robbins is the editor/publisher of The Clinch County News.

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