(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)

SS: (ON LINE) Thank you for calling the Prairie Home Companion Complaint line. All of our listener service associates are currently busy speaking with other listeners. Please stay on the line. We'll be with you in a moment.

(10 sec new AGE PIANO. TR SIGHS)

SS: The unusually large number of listener complaints means that it's taking us longer to take your call. Please stay on the line. Your call is important to us. One of our listener service associates will be with you shortly.


SS: We're sorry but we are experiencing a tidal wave of anger and disappointment and all of our service representatives are still busy with other listeners, trying to calm them down and placate them with meaningless reassurances and cheap trinkets. Thank you for your patience. Your call will be taken in the order received, so please stay on the line.

(10 SEC new AGE PIANO. TR TO SOMEONE OFF: I'm on the phone! I'm on hold!)

SS: Thank you for your patience. You are number--- (ODD ELECTRONIC INFLECTION) two thousand four hundred thirty-four --- in line. One of our representatives will be with you in a moment to take your complaint, however petty or misinformed. In the meantime, if you'd like, you can use this time to order a Prairie Home Companion product. If you'd like the latest Lake Wobegon monologue collection entitled Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Lutherans, press one. If you'd like to order the Prairie Home 45th Anniversary album, press two. If you'd like to order a Prairie Home pepperoni pizza and a couple diet sodas for delivery to your home to keep you occupied during the approximately (ODD INFLECTION) --- three hours, twenty-five minutes, forty-three seconds --- it will take for us to get to your call, press three. And please stay on the line. Your call is very important to us.


SS: We apologize for the delay caused by a heavy volume of calls and also the fact that people are really steamed and when their calls are finally answered, they rant and rave and screech and foam at the mouth and we tell the reps to just hang up but you know, people are really amusing when they get that furious, so the reps like to kind of goad the listeners and get them wild and then we tape them so we can play it back during lunch hour. It's a stitch. And speaking of lunch hour, we're all on break right now, so hang on ---- we'll be back in an hour or so.

(10 SEC. new AGE PIANO. TR OFF: Would you bring me a glass of water or something?? ---- Water!! And a sandwich!!)

SS: Thank you for calling. If you're calling to complain about comments you heard on the show that were in poor taste and dumber than dirt, please press one. If you're calling to complain about singers who can't sing their way out of a paper bag or musicians you'd be happy if you never heard again for the rest of your life, please press two. If you're calling to complain that the show is on the air at all, please press three. If you're calling to complain about public radio fundraising, please press your tongue against the tip of your nose, and if you can we'll send you a dollar.


SS: Thank you for your patience. You're caller number (ODD INFLECTION)--- one thousand eight hundred sixty-seven --- moving right up in line! Shouldn't be long now! Meanwhile, here's a tip from our orthopedic specialist: don't sit holding the telephone to your ear for long periods of time ---- it can cause terrible back strain ---- lie down on the floor on your back with the receiver lying beside your ear and take deep breaths. And remember, your call is very important to us. (SHE SNICKERS) Sorry.

(10 SEC. new AGE PIANO. TR: Boy, you just wait. You just wait... )

SS: We're sorry to keep you waiting. You've been waiting for (ODD INFLECTION) one hour, thirty-four minutes, fifteen seconds. Congratulations. The all-time record for people staying on hold is three hours and fourteen minutes, set by Mr. Aaron Harkness of Boise, Idaho ---- when we finally answered his call, boy, you should've heard him. Practically blew a gasket. I forget what he was calling about. Some dumb thing. We don't write this stuff down, you know. We just listen to it and laugh our butts off. So I hope you'll stay on the---- (CLICK)

TK (ON PHONE): Hello, may I help you?

TR: What? Is this the listener complaint line?

TK: Hello?

TR: Listen, you pissant, you meathead, I've been sitting on hold here for more than an hour, you big jerk----

TK: I can't hear you.

TR: Listen you little commie creep, I'm sicka you and everything you stand for?? You hear me??

TK: There seems to be interference on the line, sir.

TR: You want to see interference, I'll come down there and interfere with you, you cretin! you guttersnipe!

TK: I can't hear you, sir. Call up and try again.

TR: Listen, you peabrain. You--- (CLICK. DIAL TONE) (new AGE PIANO PLAYOFF)

(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor