“Dear Sir”

17 Jul

“Good evening madam. Is Mister Van den Hul available?” a young man’s voice asks me from his call center. “No, he isn’t”, I answer. “Would you happen to know when would be a good time for us to call him?” the young man persists. I sigh. “There is no Mister Van den Hul at this address. There is a Ms Van den Hul, and you are speaking to her now.” Silence on the other side. I picture the young man, frantically searching his script. But apparently there were no clues in his manual about what to do in case of Ms. It takes a while before he finally gets it. “Oh.. Oh I see. So you are the main resident and breadwinner at this address?” he stutters. Yes ladies and gentlemen. It’s 2012 and not only a Mr but also a Ms can be a main resident and breadwinner. But apparently that revolution skipped this particular call center.

Talking about stereotypes: do you know this riddle? A father and his son get in a serious accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is sent to hospital, where a surgeon is called. When the surgeon sees the boy, the surgeon says: “I can’t operate on him, he’s my son!”. Who is the surgeon?

Figured it out yet? No, we’re not dealing with a foster parent or gay couple. The surgeon in the riddle is the patient’s mom.

In the mean while, my computer tells me I have mail. “Dear Sir, we would like to inform you..” And there we go again. Why not “Dear Madam, Sir,..” Now that’s a riddle to me.

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