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The phone rang Wednesday afternoon; the number was unfamiliar.

I answered it, hoping for the best but expecting a telemarketer.

I got both.

some text
Jay Greeson

This kind fellow said his name was Greg and he was with the Republican National Committee.

My mind instantly flipped to the glorious State Farm commercial with Greg playing the role of Jake and he almost assuredly had to be wearing khakis.

So Greg was quick to ask for a moment of my time, and with my lunch in the microwave and the dog in the yard, I had a moment.

"What's on your mind, Greg?" I asked him.

"Well," Greg answered before detailing his pitch.

The Republican National Committee wanted my money, and considering I have voted that way in the past, I was listening.

Greg detailed how much trouble Hillary Clinton had securing the Democratic nomination against "admitted socialist" Bernie Sanders.

Greg went into the talking points about how contributing would help the GOP secure the Congress and, as Greg was quick to point out, hold President Barack Obama "accountable" for the last eight years.

Greg was smooth and pretty good at his job.

Then he hit on the biased media, certainly unaware that I'm a member of that collection of ink-stained wretches and those with a face made for radio.

"Whoa, Greg," I stopped him, "I'm a member of the media."

This caused him to pause, and realizing that we were now more than a minute into a pitch from the GOP to someone sympathetic to the cause, I realized one man's name had not come up.

Donald Trump. He was absent from this conversation.

"Why have you not mentioned Donald Trump?" I asked. "What is the message you are pitching?"

Greg quickly bounced back (I mentioned he is good at this).

"Can Chairman Paul Ryan count on your support?" Greg asked, skipping a few steps and trying to get straight to the closing line.

Yes, I had been agreeable, and that's better than what most in Greg's field get. But I also had started asking questions, and while it seemed Greg was pretty doggone good at his work, that's not a "think on your feet" gig.

It's script work that features the "Glengarry Glen Ross" mantra of A-B-C — always be closing.

"Well, I still have some questions, Greg," I said. "Is there a supervisor there or someone who can discuss your message?"

This likely ruined Greg's day, and for that I'm sorry. You have to know that in the world of telemarketers there is a certain hierarchy.

There's the immediate hang-up, which you have to think is better than Mr. Rude Pants, who curses the telemarketer for simply doing the job they have been assigned.

There's the "Thanks, but not interested," responder, which is a category I fall in most of the time.

There's the listen to the spiel before saying "Nope" guy, who probably is disliked more than any of the others, since the telemarketer gets paid for results, and spending all that time for an unproductive call is financially worse than getting a quick insult.

Then there's Mr. Question, the random journalist who picks up the phone — and wants more information than the script provides.

I asked Greg again if I could speak to his boss, becoming more and more intrigued about the calculated decision not to mention Trump in the campaign to raise money.

It was met with a pause from the other end, before Greg finally spoke up.

"Sorry, I can't hear you. I think we've lost the connection," he said.

"Let me walk outside. Can you hear me now?" I asked, the irony of that cellphone commercial kicking in.

"Nope, can't hear a thing," he said.

OK, thanks Greg. Sorry the connection was interrupted, but the overwhelming and intended silence about The Donald screamed volumes.

Man, the Republican convention in Cleveland will be something.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and at 423-757-6343. His "Right to the Point" column runs on A2 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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