Answering Machines That Really Do Answer

“Hello, Peter and Anne can’t come to phone right now, but if you have a question, just ask.”
Well, where the heck are they? And you wouldn’t have a cellphone number I could try, would you?
“Actually, they are home but they’re just too lazy and/or rude to answer the phone. So it wouldn’t do any good to have their cellphone number either, even if I was permitted to give it you, which I’m not.”
Do you have a soul? Or a self-identity?
“Don’t get metaphysical with me, pal. I know I’m just a collection metal, plastic and composite components that, thanks to some smartly programmed microchips, can simulate conversation.”
Did they set you on wise-ass mode today?
“No, in America today, the truth is sufficiently wise-ass that no such mode is needed.”

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