'Hey lady, I'm just trying to make a living" - Denese Rodgers

I only thought that weekends were precious when I was a kid. Now, I absolutely treasure that wonderful part of my life between quittin' time on Friday and Sunday evening dinner.

I genuinely enjoy spending time doing, either something productive, or nothing at all, with Stuart.

Last Friday, we were sitting there happy as all get out when the phone rang at 8:45. At night. Like, almost 9 p.m. It was a telemarketer. Ew yuck -- what a buzz kill.

And dang if he didn't call me back Saturday morning at 8 a.m. If I hadn't already been up, I'd have been hot about being awakened by a telemarketer at 8 a.m., on Saturday.

Does that actually work in some alternate reality? I asked him if he knew what time it was and where he was located. He mumbled some response and tried to get on with the pitch.

No deal. I explained that we are on the Federal/Local/International/Most Holy DO NOT CALL list. He promptly spouted something about charitable organizations being exempt.

He was totally pleased with himself in imparting that knowledge. May I point out, at this time, that he stood a snowball's chance in hell of getting any cooperation out of me?

I did not fall off a turnip truck, and I cannot be bullied, cajoled, or guilt-tripped out of my money. Period.

Let me see if I can 'splain something. Calling first thing in the morning or last thing at night might get the phone answered -- but unless you're one of my family or friends, we ain't going to have much of a conversation.

I know that Stuart and I are targets for marketing because we're DINKS (double income, no kids). With that in mind, we've almost gotten to where we won't answer the phone at home.

We know about when one of our moms is likely to call, but we almost won't answer it other than that. It rings and we grin at each other, "It's for you." "No, honey, I'm sure it's for you."

Now I've got an idea here. I do understand that telemarketing is a job (as it were). And with the strange nature of people, someone, somewhere, is actually willing to sit and listen to the spiel. It isn't me - but someone is willing.

Everyone now has voicemail, yes? So now, it is time for the telemarketers to evolve. Have them leave a message during normal hours exactly the same way the rest of us do. Have them leave a return phone number, so that if and when the call is returned, it is a person that wants to talk to a telemarketer.

I realize that it means a shift in the telemarketing paradigm, but it would have to be more productive and less frustrating than trying to talk to me when I'm not feeling so friendly. You know that a telemarketer's ego must take a fierce beating as often as they are cursed and hung up on -- so my idea should have some merit.

Now, for how I can communicate my fabulous idea to the marketing masses? I think I may put it on my answering machine. "Hi, you've reached us at home. If you're a telemarketer, please press 1 for your personalized message."

I can fantasize, can't I?

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-service, networking, community organization in Henry County.