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Wrong Number

January 16, 1987

What is telephone etiquette? I receive an average of one or two wrong numbers at home every week. Most of the callers (85%) are mildly to highly incensed that I have the gall to intercept their private telephone calls. Do those people really think I spend my days sitting on the roofs of their homes or office buildings with my hand on the telephone wires in order to cut in on their phone calls?

About 10% of the callers apologize; some do so profusely. The rest hang up rudely without saying a word. Don't these people realize that when a caller gets a wrong number, it is because he or she has mis-dialed?

What is really shocking, of course, is the way about 90% of the people behave when they feel they are anonymous. Is this actually the way people are down deep inside: hateful, cynical, even ruthless?

The answer to the beginning question is simple, but how many people know it or bother to put it into practice?

C.R. WILSON

Long Beach

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