National Secretaries' Week has come and gone, and now we are celebrating national Rejection Week, dedicated to the people who are rejected by secretaries who won't let them through to speak to their bosses. Many secretaries are so protective of their bosses that it's impossible to break the phone barrier.
Oglethorpe has solved the problem and many people may be curious as to how he has done it.
"The thing that really tees me off is when a secretary says in a very intimidating voice, 'Mr. Golson is in a meeting. May I keep a list of responses on my wall which I refer to, depending on my mood."
"What are some of them?" I asked him.
"My favorite," he replied, "is 'Yes, I'm at his house now with a truckload of pork bellies that he bought in the commodities market, and I wish to know whether he wants me to dump them on his lawn or put them in his cellar'."
"It never fails. I'm put through right away. Another one I use with equal success is, 'Tell Mr. Golson we just got his tests back from the lab, and it could be good news or bad news depending on how he takes it'."
Oglethorpe said, "When the secretary asks, 'Do you know Mr. Golson?' I say, 'No, but I'm from his insurance company and I just wanted to tell him the fire has been put out and the only real structural damage to his house was the roof.'"
"Beautiful," I said, "that would even get him out of a board of directors meeting."
'There are some secretaries who are very nosy and will ask, 'What is your business, please?' And then I say, 'Mr. Golson left his American Express card on the waterbed of the Silk Pussycat Motel the other afternoon and we were wondering if he wanted to pick it up or have it mailed to him.'"
"You really play hardball," I said.
"Sometimes you have to with guys who won't take your calls. I also reply to the same query, 'This is his pharmacist. Just tell him yesterday to have his stomach pumped out, as my boy delivered Mrs. Klingle's prescription to him by mistake.'"
Oglethorpe told me he has an answer for every secretary. "If she says, 'Mr. Golson is tied up. Can you speak to somebody else?' I tell her, 'I don't think so. We're planning a Time magazine cover on solid waste, and we're thinking of doing it on Mr. Golson.' Or, he's been cleared for the ambassadorship post and there are just a few more question I have to ask him'."
"What is your record on getting through with the last one?" I asked Oglethorpe.
"Three seconds. There's one I use when the secretary is pretty nosy about the nature of the call and it always works. I lower my voice to a whisper and say, 'I can't tell you what I'm calling about, and your life will be in danger if anyone in the Soviet Union finds out I made this call'."
"Give me some more," I said, writing them all down.
"Well, sometimes I might say, 'I'm the manager of the Aknee Tow Truck Co., and one of my new drivers was towing your boss's car away and accidentally rammed it into a brick wall.' And then there's the salad oil ploy. 'If Mr. Golson had oil on his salad yesterday I think I better talk to him. Apparently the can it came in from Sicily was damaged in shipping'."
"What is the secretary has heard them all?"
"Then I drop the bomb on her. I say angrily. 'I found Mr. Golson's private number in my wife's handbag and I want to know what the hell it was doing there'."