My best friend, Pov, and I recently volunteered to field calls for our local Christian radio network. It's a great network, full of very kindly people and great programs. As with all charitable groups, donations keep it afloat and they were having a fund drive.
Pov ended up seated next to a very nice elderly lady, who introduced herself to us as "Helga". Helga had a wonderful sense of humor, and soon she and Pov were as thick as thieves. Pov missed his calling as a stand up comedian, and in-between phone calls you could hear Helga shrieking with laughter. I cringed at times, wondering if it carried onto the airwaves, as the deejays were drifting among the volunteers, interviewing them on the air.
"Alissa", a personable and flamboyant deejay, came up to us during a lull in the calls and told us that she'd be interviewing us soon, if we weren't on the phone. Pov shook his head violently. "Oh no, not me," he said. "You don't want that. Pick her," he said, gesturing at me.
"OK, I'll just talk to the better half, then," said Alissa, winking at me. Everyone was assuming that Pov and I were married, and I didn't have time to correct her misconception as she drifted off again.
We ended up with a growing volume of calls that kept us busy for a while. Our average donation was around $50, although some were pledging as little as $15 and some were pledging as much as $400. Many people were asking for prayer as they'd just lost their jobs. I was happy that they had enough sense to keep their donations to a minimum.
In a little while, Alissa caught me when I wasn't busy and she did a warm little folksy "so-why-are-you-doing-this" interview. I was relieved that she didn't bring up my "husband", which would force me to correct that on-air.
I soon grew busy with the phones again, and the next time I looked up, Pov was gesturing to me with an agonized look upon his face.
"What is it?" I hissed.
"I TOLD her not to interview me!" he said, looking very strained.
"What happened?" I asked skeptically. After all, how bad could it be?
"Well," Pov began, "She came up to me, thrust a microphone in my face, and asked me why I was doing this! I couldn't think of anything to say, so I told everyone to donate so that they could help keep Helga off the streets!"
"Oh NO," I gasped. "You didn't! Is Helga still talking to you?"
"Yeah," he said, looking abashed. "But," he added with growing wonder, "it worked!"
"What do you mean it worked?" I asked.
"The next call I got was from a lady who said that she had heard me on the radio and pulled over right away so that she could call in her donation immediately," he said, watching my face.
"Really?" I said incredulously.
"Yup," he nodded. "And guess how much she pledged?"
"How much?" I asked.
"Six hundred dollars," Pov announced triumphantly.