As a true wit once said, a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s printed on. And so it can be said of our “do-not-call-list.” You can sign up for it until you’ve turned a lovely shade of purple, but still the calls keep coming.

I’m not at all sure how telemarketers are getting around these lists, but I am here to tell you that they are, in spades, with impunity, regularly, often, and annoyingly.

From what I can gather, these pests have a method of “ghosting” phone numbers, so while the call may originate in, say, Wisconsin, the caller ID will show an 816 number, so naturally one says to oneself: “Oh, it’s a local call, I shall therefore answer it.” Once bitten, twice shy, I say, and so I now go ahead and block the caller. Then the company turns around and just picks up another 816 number, and so it goes, on, and on, and, invariably, you guessed it, on.

In order for the “do-not-call-list” to be effective, when you do get one of these teeth-gritting calls, you are supposed to report it, and then the Government (we who are here to help you) will get out the big guns and will pursue the perpetrator to the end of the earth – if in fact, the Government can find him, the perpetrator of course having found a very small crevice in which to hide while the Government agents run around like the Keystone Kops, falling over themselves with enthusiasm.

As you may recall I was between jobs several years ago and needed to sign up for Obamacare, so I dutifully went to the Government sign-up web page which, unbeknown to me, flung me out into the greater hyper-space from whence my name, phone number and email address floated like rose petals back down to earth to land upon every mailing and phone list ever created. I was offered positively succulent plans whose details I was not to become privileged to until I gave my credit card number. Do I have “born yesterday” tattooed on my forehead? No, I didn’t think so either.

I find myself in a similar predicament at the moment. I am approaching that magic age at which I become a thorough burden to the country and gaily leap on the Medicare bandwagon.

Now every man, his dog, and three-legged pony wants to sell me Medicare supplement plans, offering everything on Earth, a set of steak knives, with Rhode Island being thrown in for good measure. I suspect if I signed up for some of them, the insurance companies would indeed be paying me a monthly premium for the privilege of serving me, would possibly call a national holiday and crown me Queen.

So now I’m ignoring, on average, six calls per day, living in the hope that if the caller is a real person not trying to flog me anything, will leave me a voicemail so I can return the call.

So, if you have tried to call me and I have inadvertently blocked you, do feel free to drop me a line. I will return your call with indecent haste, and profuse apologies.

Who’d have thought I’d want to turn 65 faster?

-- Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at