Better To Hold The Phone


In the TV series M*A*S*H, Corporal Radar O’Reilly said to his commanding officer, Col. Sherman Potter, that his mother said, “Better to hold the phone than to get a kidney stone.”  I’ll let it go at that.

Rochelle Wisoff Fields heads up Friday Fictioneers.

Janet “Sustainabilitea” Webb brought the picture.

… and away we GO!


Since Pop worked out of our home in those days, our new cordless phone was his pride and joy.  So, why shouldn’t his office be the bathroom … the one off to the left of the front door?  The toilet sat below the window sill and he could look out onto the porch as visitors stopped by saying, “Hi, come on in.  I’m on the phone.”  Who would know, right?

It worked.  Until …

A visitor stopped by, saw Pop in the window conducting both kinds of business and doubled over in laughter. “I know what you’re doing.  I papered that room!” 



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76 Responses to Better To Hold The Phone

  1. Dear Kent,

    You can fool some of the people all of the time but you can’t fool your wall paper hanger. Tanks for the laughter.



    PS The men can encourage each other. 😉

  2. Oh dear, I wonder if he moved office after that.

  3. What a funny take on the prompt!! Well done.

  4. Sandra says:

    You’re in fine creative (if slightly lavatorial) form these days Kent; well done. 🙂

  5. I can just picture walking by seeing him on the phone, lol

  6. My kind of story….
    good to know that you can could get a warm reception while he was getting good reception.


  7. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Kent,

    The stories that are true are the best and you told this one well.



    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Doug! I keep hearing that and not only from you. In fact, I heard about it in my last story, Fire and Water. It wasn’t real, but it definitely took guts to write, and it was kind of like reading to people while they saw me in my underwear. Russell’s comment was hilarious!

  8. You made me laugh, so thank you for that. I like family stories, they hide so many jewels.

  9. Kent, That was hilarious. 😀 It’s great your dad has a good sense of humor. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

  10. BrainRants says:

    A great mini-tale of light humor.

  11. Lots of fun, Kent, a story with lots of movement. 🙂 I’ve heard the bathroom called the office before and this gives that phrase a whole new meaning. Good one!


  12. You opened with a M*A*S*H quote, but while reading this it was Archie Bunker that came to mind, sitting on his “terr-let.” 😀

  13. Perhaps your sense of humor comes from your father! Lots of fun.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Personally, I don’t know where this sense of humor comes from. I DO know, however, it comes from a lot of observing surroundings. I think I get it from my friends who encourage that kind of creativity.

      Right, Rochelle? 😉

  14. Elizabeth says:

    No secret can be kept for long!

  15. Ha… I wonder how many business letters are being written on toilets using smartphones these days.. maybe we should introduce the new toilet office.. but I guess it wouldn’t be a paperless office.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Hahahaha! No, it’d be very handy, though. Many uses.

      Before I forget, Bjorn, IKEA launched yesterday in the KC area and it was a HUGE sensation! Our reporters were out there and they said it was electric!

  16. plaridel says:

    back in the day, we called the bathroom a library where we could read in peace until the knocks on the door become more persistent.

  17. Lynda says:

    I much enjoyed your story, and I am constantly amazed at how many people think they can get away with this trick on a cell phone… the newer technology picks up every little noise in the background… LOL!

    BTW, I am sharing a photo from my husband’s workplace that ties in with your story this week. 😉

  18. Now that was one story I did not expect to end like that. YOu did make me laugh…and to learn it was true…wow! lucky you with all these gems in storage:)

  19. draliman says:

    Oops, rumbled 🙂 Funny!

  20. Perry Block says:

    Conducting both kinds of business? You mean he was an orchestra conductor? Funny stuff!

  21. sandraconner says:

    Just goes to show you that you should never wallpaper your bathroom. A little ordinary, neutral color paint is always a good camouflage. This is a priceless story, Kent.

  22. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but … .

  23. rgayer55 says:

    Was this one of those original cordless phones (about the size of a shoebox) with a retractable antenna? Your Dad was on the cutting edge. Walk into any public restroom today and your apt to hear conversations coming from every stall.

  24. You got to watch out for the contractors, they know everything. 🙂 I think people might catch on too if they heard a flushing sound over the phone.

  25. Sun says:

    multitasking fail…oh, well. it was good up to the “you just got busted” moment. ha! 🙂

  26. I remember in the marketing company I worked in, speaking on the phone to a freelance writer. I thought his voice sounded rather echo-y, and after a while I heard water sloshing. He was definitely in the bath.
    Great story.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Hahahahaha! I had the same thing happen at work with our weatherman. The associate news producer, during the broadcast needed to talk to Don and she said in his IFB earpiece, “Don, Don, I need to say something.” No answer. His microphone was off. Finally, he turned on his microphone and, like your freelancer, his voice sounded echo-y and he said, “I’m seeing a man about a horse! What is it?” What was even funnier, though, was when he came back on camera and we wouldn’t take him on the air. He was asking why and I ran over and said, “Don! Zip up your fly!” He dropped to the ground like a grenade got tossed at him and corrected the mistake!

  27. Nan Falkner says:

    Kent – great story and your office has everything that you would need in a day! Good job!
    Nan 🙂

  28. That really made me laugh!

  29. Amy Reese says:

    Hilarious, Kent! I could just see the whole scene. Really funny. I’m sure lots of business is done these days out of the bathroom “office.” Nice one!

  30. Great story, and a lovely cautionary tale.

  31. Dee says:

    Hilarious Kent. It brought back the scene with Ben Stiller in ‘Something About Mary’ you know the one… still laughing.

    • wmqcolby says:

      I’ve only seen parts of it. My favorite is the reviving of the dog and the scene where he’s arrested in the rest area. hahaha! I met the guy who played the cab driver. He was a guest on our show.
      Thanks, Dee! 😀

  32. That was funny — thanks for a chuckle-worthy moment!
    (And it was nicely euphemistic!)

  33. Very funny and clever, Kent! I love that detail: “I papered that room!” Brilliant detail. 😉

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