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Monday, 18 August 2014

LAUGHTER - AND A MOST UNFORTUNATE NAME




It's very strange sometimes how the memory is 'jogged' for no apparent reason.  All our experiences are 'up there' and can surface unexpectedly at any time, even many years later, rather like this one did recently.  

Many moons ago, around 1485, I managed a Customer Service/Sales Office for a brake lining and clutch facing company.  Two telephone girls, Janet and Jean took most of the incoming calls, dealing with stock availability, orders and delivery information.

One memorable day Janet took a call and suddenly collapsed into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, and frantically gestured to me to take the call, since she obviously couldn't.

I took over the phone and asked with whom I was speaking and had to fight back a surge of hysterics welling up inside when a little man's voice declared unwavering, "Mr Bollock!"

Valiantly, I managed to say, "Good morning Mr Bollock, how may I assist you?"  . . . . . and there were gales of laughter in the office, as they overheard me.  I continued, "I am sorry the young lady earlier experienced a severe coughing attack and you were almost cut off!"

He said, "She didn't have a coughing attack did she, it's my name isn't it?  I have that effect on everyone whenever I telephone about anything!"

I said, "Well, if you don't mind me saying so, it is a slightly unusual name . . . . "

He interjected, "If my ancestors had chosen the plural version things might have been slightly better, do you think it might help if I changed my name from 'Bollock' to 'Bollocks' "?

I struggled so hard to retain my composure.

I said, "Well really, Mr Bollock, I don't think it is quite my place to say, but I am inclined to think you'd get the same response if you did that."

He said, "I thought so too.  Since you are the only person who has managed not to laugh I think I can talk to you.  Tell me, do you think if I changed my name from 'Bollock' to 'Balls' do you think the young lady would have laughed so hard?  You see I want to keep the pedigree of my name intact?"

I really had tears of suppressed laughter in my eyes but somehow managed to say, "Regrettably I think the answer might be yes, but if I might make a small suggestion, if you use the singular version, 'Ball', then I don't think you would have any problem and you will find that would mirror your present name almost exactly in a non-humorous way, and you would be preserving the pedigree of your name at the same time."

He was over the moon  and thanked me so much and said excitedly, "Right, tomorrow I am starting procedures to change my name from Bollock to Ball by deed poll."  (I bet he got a laugh there as well.) . . . . and he continued, "when I ring again about a future query I shall look forward to giving your young lady my new name and her being able to handle my call without any laughter."

Oh dear, I was really struggling by now and somehow I managed to deal with his call before collapsing in a heap on the floor, quite helpless.

When I told the office what had happened we all were in absolute uncontrollable hysterics for 10 minutes and had to close down the telephone lines until we recovered; hoping that we did not get another call from Mr Bollock. That would have been too much.

I often see Janet in my home town and we always laugh about this, even though it occurred 30 years ago.




31 comments:

  1. Reminds me of my sister in law who,in the course of business, often had to call a Mr Dyer.
    He'd answer the phone (in his Coventry accent) "Dyer 'ere"...she always got a fit of the giggles.
    Jane x

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    Replies
    1. lol . . . . . . loved your SOL's story . . . . . I can just hear him say it in my mind. Was she ever tempted to say, "Good morning Mr Dyer'ere . . . and how are you today?" . . . . .rofl.
      Has she got your sense of humour?
      Hope you and Chris had a great weekend.
      Eddie x

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  2. This is insane!!!! Good for you for keeping your cool, not sure I would have managed...

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    1. It was . . . . and it was very difficult . . . . not sure whether I could now . . . :-D

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  3. .... reminds me of a time, many moons ago, around 1485, I had an appointment to see Mr. X. He invited me into his office, I greeted him as Mr. X, to which he replied, Please call me Dick... Don't know how I survived that one, and I smartly replied Certainly, Mr. X... and continued as if nothing happened....

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  4. This must be a British term because you just don't hear that over here! In fact, Bullock only made me think of the actress Sandra Bullock and nobody has ever laughed at her name. :) I did, of course, understand what you were laughing at, though.
    I can just see the whole crew laughing until you cried. You silly bunch!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, indeed we were a silly bunch . . . . lol

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    2. . . . and I like Sandra Bullock very much . . .

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  5. Do you think this guy might have been making a crank call, pulling your leg? Did he ever call back or come in to your place of business? Still, a funny story.

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    1. Do you know, Stephen, I had not considered that?
      He never called back as Mr Bollock but if he did as Mr Ball then we would not have noticed because that is not a funny name. . . . . good point , but if he was a crank we enjoyed the laugh . . . :)

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  6. It was about that time, 1485, I was driving past Bosworth Field, ignoring the clash of swords on heads noises, when I espied a small boy in the road next to his severely bent bicycle, holding his knee trying to stem the flow of blood. I stopped and inquired after his health. He responded with "A plaster, a plaster! My bike for a plaster!".

    So I gave him one from my Boy Scout First Aid Box that I keep in the glove compartment, threw the bike into the car, and drove away ! Did I do the right thing?

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    1. BTW, you gave me a terrible fright when I clicked on you page and saw you leering at me, I had to go and change my underwear, and take a tranquilizer.

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    2. If you said,"What bloody man is this?" you were quoting the wrong play, MacBeth, but if his name was Richard then he would have said something like that!! I think you could have left him his horse, I mean bike . . . . so he could cycle away from Henry who wanted to be Henry VII. He could run so fast, he had long legs and they called him, Longshanks.

      So you did right . . . buddy . . .

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    3. The BTW comment.

      I hope you have recovered . . . it could have been worse I cropped out a big Mallet from the photo and I could have bashed you over the head with it . . . . . oh! . . . .sorry!
      Obviously the tranquilizer worked because you have not graced me with you presence again . . . lol

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    4. I can't grace you with my presence, I'm now fast asleep in bed and the computer is switched off.

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    5. A miracle! . . . Keith has 'aparated' here without a computer . . . . . lol

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  7. lol would have been hard for me not to laugh indeed
    I may have broke down at my feed
    I have to stop myself at work from making wise cracks with Mrs. Horne calls
    Then she' probably heard all the whispers in the walls
    And would just tell me to bugger off
    Or swear and scoff

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to stop a laugh
      Like I did along with all my staff.
      Stephen thinks it was a haux,
      To see what reaction he could coax.

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    2. haha you just never know with such a run
      Could have been trying to pull one over on everyone

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    3. It all happened long ago
      There's no way we shall ever know!

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  8. ha. well at least he embraced the name and all the laughter that came with it...smiles

    def would have been hard to contain the laughter...smiles.

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    1. Yes, Brian, difficult not to laugh . . . . :)

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  9. Hi Eddie - I've no idea how you kept a straight face - more importantly didn't collapse with laughter ...

    Wonderful story you created ... what would our Mr Balls do? I don't think Mrs Balls has married Mr Balls has she .. sensibly kept her own name!!

    Fun and full of laughter .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary - it was very difficult to maintain composure, let alone collapsing in hysterics.
      Not sure if Mr Bollock was a married man - I expect if he proposed to anyone she may tell him to B - off! . . . lol
      But if he was a Mr Ball then I don't think he would have a problem. . . . .
      Cheers ~ Eddie

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  10. Replies
    1. Thanks Gloria - funny things - yes . . . :)

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  11. This is so funny!!!! Years - decades!! - ago when I was at school we had a horrible typing teacher - we used those really old fashioned manual typewriters from circa 1500 BC - and her name was Mrs Ball, rumours circulated constantly that she was actually called Mrs Balls - or worse!! I used to have a very difficult last name - that I am NOT going to share with you Eddie! - so I can appreciate this, now I just have to get people to include the E in my last name, not so bad!! It certainly sounds as though you have worked with some fun people over the years.

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    1. Yes - I have met a few strange people, including a secretary whose maiden name was Fluck . . . . oh dear! When she revealed that there was a lot of giggling . . . . Cheers ~ Eddie :)

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  12. Hi Eddie...
    I have read everyone's comment....even Keith's...and I don't get it!
    But....I did get scared by the big face too!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Hi Linda . . .sorry it's in Brit terminology. I'll email to explain . . . :)
      Hope I am not that scary . . . . I'm a sweet little kitten really! . . . . lol
      Cheers ~ Eddie

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