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Ed
Ed Smith
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I tapped into an obscene phone conversation yesterday.

Not intentionally, you understand. I was dialing another number when suddenly two voices broke into the line. One was a man. The other was a lady. Let me rephrase that. The second voice was decidedly female.

She was trying — and, from the man's tone, not without success — to (putting it delicately) turn him on. She had the kind of low, husky voice that at the same time held a playful hint promising all kinds of illicit delights.

She sounded a little like a girl I used to know, but then I realized that the girl in my past would now be getting her old age pension and unlikely to be involved in that kind of endeavour. Not that someone her age couldn't be if she wanted to be. I know a couple of older women … But I digress.

This woman was attempting to convince the man that what she was so enthusiastically promoting over the telephone couldn’t be construed as an affair. He wasn’t quite so sure, although I had difficulty understanding why. She was certainly enticing enough, at least as far as juicy promises were concerned.

I figured this fellow must have an extremely uneventful love life at home, while at the same time, was scared of wandering away in search of almost-forgotten pleasures. It seemed that he was interested and she was willing, but he couldn't quite bring himself to take that final step.

Son was with me at the time. He’s only in his middle 30s so I didn’t want to expose him to that kind of talk for very long. I reluctantly hung up and redialed the number I had been trying to get in the first place. Since my hands don't work very well — which is the same as saying Stephen Hawking doesn’t run very fast — I thought I must have dialed the wrong number.

Imagine my surprise and renewed interest when, again, the same two voices spoke in my ear. She was even more graphic and passionate than she’d been 30 seconds earlier, but the chap to whom she was making her pitch didn't seem any more moved.

Whatever. This is the kind of stuff from which great columns are made, and I continued to monitor the conversation. One occasionally has to make sacrifices when researching suitable material for his craft.

I obviously cannot repeat everything she was saying, but she kept repeating one phrase over and over. I hope you'll forgive me for allowing it into the content of this column, and the pages of this fine paper. Anyway, it’s up to the editor.

The phrase she kept repeating was, and I quote, “Eatin’ ain’t cheatin.’” Her phone mate’s response to this interesting little tidbit was, “I don't know,” or “I’m not certain.” To which our little friend finally responded, “Look, even Obama said that!”

That perked his interest, and he said, “Obama? The president of the United States?”

“Yes,” she said. “Obama said ‘Eatin’ ain't cheatin.’”

“Well,” he replied, “that’s different. If he said it’s OK, then it should be OK, right?”

“Right!” She said triumphantly, and at that moment the telephone went dead.

I never did find out if they established a rendezvous where they could enjoy each other’s company for the price of a medium-size car payment. Or perhaps they were just friends. That kind of friend is hard to find.

I don’t know what you think about the young woman's morality or philosophy, but it may be irrelevant in any case, U.S. President Obama notwithstanding.

Now we come to the really interesting bit, which is the number I was originally dialing.

You may not be surprised to learn that the number in question was an Ottawa number. You may be even less surprised to know that I was trying to contact one of the agencies of the federal government. I think the number I said I was trying to get was Human Resources Canada. If that wasn't the correct name, nobody in Information said so. The operator immediately gave me that number — twice — and twice I chanced into the language of love between two people.

It may be that the federal government has gone off in an entirely new direction when it comes to human resources. Perhaps they’ve had focus groups for years studying the question of how to make better financial use of the human resources in this country. Could it be that somewhere in the bowels of Ottawa, there is a call centre devoted entirely to selling phone sex? Would this be a nonpartisan project? A cross-gender endeavour? A gay pride thing?

You have to admit, the possibilities are endless. The next step would be to legalize prostitution in the greater Ottawa area with Houses of Well Repute being operated by the various political parties. One of the favourite Christmas gifts among federal politicians would be gift cards to those houses.

We are admittedly getting rather crass, here, in suggesting that politicians of any stripe would be interested in this kind of activity. Their level of morality, generally speaking, does not drop below graft, payback schemes, theft, cash for favours rendered, a scattered call girl and political leaning on weaker individuals.

Had I listened to this conversation a while longer, I might have discovered exactly what was happening. There is always the possibility I might have heard a few well-known names bandied about, such as Minister Such-and-Such or Senator What’s-His-Face. In time, we might have heard a Cialis commercial running something like this.

“It’s just a new jacket. No, it’s a new shirt. Actually, it’s just a new seat in the Senate.”

You know those numbers you call in order to get into live conversations with “real life girls?” Wouldn't surprise me at all one of those days to get a bill for each of those calls.

From the Government of Canada.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.  His email address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca.

Organizations: Human Resources Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa, United States, Springdale

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