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Benefits and Pitfalls of Answering Machines

March 07, 1987

This is in response to the letter by Ronald Bloom (Feb. 11), "Answering Machines."

I do understand where Bloom is coming from on his intense dislike of answering machines. I want to delve on the other side of the coin.

I do not use my machine to make a precise record of my calls. In fact, it helps me create a precise record of calls to forget . . . like insistent calls from people selling magazine subscriptions over the phone. Like calls received in the middle of the night as the result of a mis-dialed number. Like calls from non-English speaking people who want "Juan" or "Francesca," neither of whom live here. And--yes, I admit it--like calls from people with whom I simply do not wish to speak.

On the other hand, my machine has caught calls from my agent. It also caught the call from my father who had to, unfortunately, inform me that my grandpa had died. It also caught a call from my mom that allowed me to rush home to see my grandma before she was too ill to remember who I was.

Oh, by the way, I can now watch a favorite movie--from beginning to end--with no interruptions from telephone calls. Remember--telephones are psychotic, they can ring at any time, and demand your attention to answer the call right then and now. Personally, I have better things to do with my life than answer calls at 4 a.m. for "Juan" or "Francesca," or even for ME for that matter!

FRED GENE HASENEY

Los Angeles

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