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We Can Only Connect

A man returned to his home and played back his telephone-answering machine to discover that his message to callers had not registered beyond his initial “Hello.” Transcribed, the tape of the exchange between machine and one caller ran as follows:

“Hello.” “Hello. Hello. . . hello!” (click.)

“Hello.” “Hello, hello. . . hello, hello!” (click.)

“Hello.” “Hello, hello. . . You see, operator, he says ‘Hello,’ but he won’t say anything else.”

“I’m sorry, sir. We can only connect you with your party. We cannot make him talk to you.”

Donny Silverman, quoted by S. McFarland in N.Y. Sunday News Magazine