Friday, October 26, 2007


The other week I was checking my voicemail while out of my network. Which meant I had to hear my own outgoing message each time I called it. Which got me to thinking.

What is the perfect outgoing voicemail message?

I'll tell you what it's NOT. Anything my mother ever recorded. I remember when we got our very first answering machine the summer before I was in first grade. Always wanting to stand out, my mom wrote a rap - YES, a rap - and made my sister and I sing it with her. I still remember it, and because I am a glutton for punishment, I'll tell you how it went:

"Rap! Rap! The Telephone Rap!
Rap! Rap! The Telephone Rap!
We're the (my last name) and we're not at home
So we bought this machine to use on our phone!
If you don't leave a message and just hang up, honey,
Then this machine will be a waste of money!
Wait for the tone and then have your say,
Believe it or not it'll make our day!
Rap, Rap! The Telephone Rap!
Rap! Rap! The Telephone Rap!"

When people started telling my mom they called our house when they knew we'd be gone just to hear the telephone rap, she thought it was because they liked it. Twenty years later, I can see right through it. They were calling to make fun of that stupid-ass message! They told her it was "funny" but what they really meant was "obnoxious." People couldn't even understand what we were saying: someone told her they thought we were saying telephone RATS. Additionally, my first grade teacher called to introduce herself to me, but we weren't at home, so she got the telephone rap. BUT, she didn't hang up the phone before telling her husband "Well Ed, I didn't think I had any black students this year..." (Don't judge me. She's the one that said it.)

Any year that Auburn beat Bama it was changed to us singing the fight song. And Holidays were the worst. Every year she had to out-do herself with another Christmas tune. For example:

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
So weeeee are at the mall.
But just leave us a quick message right after the beep
and we'll retuuuurn youuuur call!"

That was how it was at our house. Things died down until I got to school where you'd hear all kinds of outgoing messages. My least favorite: "You have reached the voicemail of ______." What, is your voicemail your secretary or something? I always thought that was a little pretentious.

Phones used to have the option where you could press 1 and bypass the message to go straight to the beep. Unfortunately, most phones don't anymore. Therefore, since we all have to listen to each other's outbound message, I think we should all abide by a list of voicemail rules:

1. It's almost 2008. Everyone knows what to do when we hear a beep and we also know what information to leave.
2. But don't get smartass and say "you know what to do!" in your voicemail, because that's just dumb.
3. Return voicemails when you get them.
4. Do not rap on your outgoing message.


  1. haha...amazing! This reminds me of another pivotal time for answering machine/ voice mail greetings. I vividly recall listening to my friends sing this particular song ( ) into their machines. "Sorry I'm not home right now. I'm walking into spiderwebs. Leave a message and I'll call you back!" ...ridiculous.

  2. It's all your fault. I screen my phone calls.


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