Last Friday I was driving to a performance and noticed my satellite radio network was stuck on the 50’s channel and I can only take so many songs containing the words `Doo Wop’. I parked my vehicle and called the number for the satellite radio service.

The first operator I finally managed to reach we shall call Larry.  Like anything else these days I had to sift my way through a Byzantine labyrinth of automated voice commands until I found a living person.  I explained to Larry that turning the radio knob or using the number pad to change the channel was not working. Larry asked me for my name, address and satellite radio network identification number.  I gave him the necessary information and then Larry had the audacity to ask me what was wrong.  Through gritted teeth I reiterated the problem.  Despite his extremely poor English, Larry commanded me to punch in the numbers 1-8-4 on the number pad.  I took a deep breath and reminded the boy genius that the number pad would not accept the instructions. Larry huffed and told me to turn the knob to station 1-8-4 to reset the system. After another deep breath and shaking my head I reminded Larry that the knob wouldn’t turn.  To my astonishment Larry said to turn off the vehicle, wait five minutes and try it again. He said he was sending commands via satellite to the car.  I wanted to suggest a command I’d like to send to him but refrained.  I thanked Larry, hung up, turned off the engine and waited five minutes.

I called the satellite network again after I was deluged with more Doo Wops.  The second operator we shall call Curly.  It was painfully obvious Curly was perhaps not even of this world as his English was so broken and fast that I could barely understand a word he said.  Curly asked me for my name, address and satellite radio network identification number.  Wait for it- he then asked me what the problem was.  This time I closed my eyes and imagined a calm blue sea as I replied that the channel was stuck on greasy-haired crooners and the knob and number pad did not work.  The calm blue sea morphed into a tsunami when Curly inquired if I had reset the system using the default setting of 1-8-4.  “How can I punch in the code when the $#@%&*^ pad doesn’t work?” I screamed.  At that moment, people coming to my show heard my booming voice through my closed windows and looked my way.  Using hands-free I might have resembled a man having a breakdown to the show-goers so I brought the cell phone to my ear.

Curly indicated that I should turn off Bluetooth and then try the knob or the number pad since the phone apparatus may be overriding the satellite radio network.  I disconnected the system and was told to wait ten minutes and then try again.  I called Curly a `knob’ and that I was going to need a `padded’ room and hung up.

After ten minutes a check of my blood pressure was required when the system failed to work.  I was ready to `Be-Bop’ someone in the mouth!  I called the satellite radio network again.  The third operator we shall call Miss Moe.  Moe spoke perfect English and before she could ask, I volunteered my name, address and satellite radio network identification number.  Perhaps it was because of her soft voice but I gladly told her what the problem was.

Miss Moe said, “Hmmm, just a minute.”  I heard Miss Moe’s fingernails flying across her computer keyboard.  She asked me for my credit card number which I used to pay for the satellite radio service.  I withdrew the card and read my name, the number and the security code.  Miss Moe’s fingernails resumed dancing across the keys like Mozart on his harpsichord.  A few moments later she explained what the problem was.  It seems someone at the satellite radio network mistakenly entered the wrong renewal date for the credit card and my account was frozen which was only appropriate since Hank Snow was now twanging away on his guitar.

Miss Moe adjusted my account to the correct information and said, “Open the door and wait ten seconds.”  Bewildered, I did what she requested.  Excited, I told her I was free from the 50’s and thanked her profusely.

It turns out the reset could be activated by simply opening the door.  As for Larry and Curly all I can say to you two is, “Spread out!”  As for Miss Moe, I think I’m in love.

Ben Guyatt is a stand-up comedian and a published author. Visit his website at and follow him on Facebook. He also hosts The Ben Guyatt Show every Sunday at 9 pm on AM 900 CHML.


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