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My HUN-ny Pie

By Beth L. Pinsker

WELCOME to the new and exciting world of the Harvard University Network (HUN) phone service. You are a fledgling Crimson editorial writer who has just been assigned to write about the new phone system. You have three options.

1) You do extensive research.

2) You conduct many interviews.

3) You watch helplessly as your phone shuts off for no reason and you must spend hours on hold trying to get it fixed.

Call it fate. Unable to reach your editor on your dead phone, you go to the nearest Centrex phone and call the HUN help number. A friendly voice answers the phone. Your adventure begins.

If you would like to be connected to a repair representative Press 1.

If there is something wrong with your phone Press 2.

If you need repair service Press 3.

WHILE you ponder the semantic distinctions between your three choices, you are treated to the Cliff's Notes of touch-tone phone messages.

Press 1 for repairs.

Press 2 for service.

Press 3 for maintenance.

There is a brief pause and the phone begins to ring again. A less friendly voice offers you a new set of instructions.

If your phone is not working Press 1.

If you are not working Press 2.

If you would like somebody to tell you to work Press 3.

If you are trying to avoid work stay on the line and the next available agent will help you.

You are transferred to another department by the quick press of a button, but this time a gruff voice demands:

Press 1 for motherly nagging.

Press 2 for a stern scolding.

Press 3 for the Harvard Party Line.

Obviously, you choose to be connected with the most social department in HUN.

If you would like a list of the weekend's parties Press 1.

If you would like a date to one of the weekend's parties Press 2.

If you would like to have a good time at one of the weekend's parties Press 3 to be transferred to UCLA.

If you would like the Science Center hours Press 4.

If you do not like any of these options, hold for voice mail.

There is a long pause. The phone starts to ring again. A voice informs you that federal law now prohibits option 1 for campus phones registered to students under 21.

You are automatically connected to Voice Mail.

You curse violently into the phone. A voice responds:

That kind of language will not help your situation. This is not an interactive software game. This is your phone service. This is serious. As punishment, your call will be handled by the last available operator.

Muzak streams through the lines. Voice mail suddenly clicks on.

To leave a message for someone in their voice mailbox you must know their mailbox code, their PAC number, your PAC number, the square root of 67687, the initial enrollment of Justice and the number of first-year students who will fail the QRR the second time within two standard deviations of the mean. You have 30 seconds.

Your finger trembles with a Tetrislike anxiety over the possible mathematic combinations. In frustration and anger, you begin to dream of the ideal voice mail message.

If you want me to die by asphyxiation Press 1.

If you want me to inhale asbestos fumes until I glow Press 2.

If you want me to ride the Harvard Shuttle all day Press 3.

SUDDENLY there is a loud beep.

A seemingly live voice announces:

The Harvard University Network--for one week the sole communication outlet for the campus area--has been forced by the competitive forces of capitalist society to give up its monopoly of local and long distant services.

You must choose one of the new systems or by default you will be enrolled in a 9 am Organic Chemistry section meeting in Van Serg.

Press 1 to continue with HUN.

Press 2 for Quad-Lines--the high energy network.

Press 3 for YCI--Yard Communications International.

Again, you linger too long over the choices and the call is cut off. The last words you hear before heading off to find a map to look for Van Serg are Thank you for using HUN--the network that makes it even easier never to talk to real people.

Beth L. Pinsker '93 apologizes profusely to the nice people at HUN. She really would appreciate having her phone reconnected.

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