Not to put too dramatic a spin on it, but there’s a warrant been issued for my arrest.
And though the grammar used to communicate the message couldn’t exactly be labelled Oxford standard, I understood enough to at least begin entertaining the notion, within the deepest,wildest recesses of my imagination, that maybe, just maybe, the jig, as Humphrey Bogart or someone of his ilk might have said seven decades ago, was finally up.
This is the word for word transcript (grammar errors included) of a telephone message left on our answering machine (yes they’re still around and some folk like me still use them) earlier this week –
We have received a complaint of you from Australian Taxation office.
We have your reference number as WX 2754.
As there is legal case going to be filed against your name including warrant for your arrest.
Now before the case is sent for execution and you receive a legal course of notification, you can call the Taxation Office on 02 8006 7069.
That number again – 02 8006 7069
Do these people have any idea who they’re messing with sending an only 98% grammatically correct piece of hokum like this to the likes of me?
I’m not ashamed to admit my inner ‘Cambridge University English Professor’ enjoys nothing more than the challenge of uncovering the weird syntax clues that expose this message to be the bogus imposter of authority it really is.
Pull up a seat (ok, you’re already on one) while this shameless shyster gets dismantled slightly-off sentence by sentence:
- An opening sentence of just one word? Attention-getting I’ll give them that but in a phone message? First red flag.
- “A complaint of you”? No fellas. It’s gonna be either ‘complaint against you’ or ‘complaint about you’. Second strike.
- Think you forget the ‘the‘ before ‘Australian Taxation Office’. It’s the little things that count.
- You left out the ‘a’ before ‘legal case’. Whoever composed this piece of comedy has no regard at all for articles. No regard at all I say.
- Sorry if I’m coming across as a stickler for correctness but that whole line that begins – “As there is legal case…” is not even a sentence goddamit! Sentence fragments just don’t cut it gentlemen!
- As for the dramatic signoff ‘Don’t Ignore’, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why this screams ‘non-native speaker riddled fraud‘ so let’s just say while I can maybe picture a finger-waving parent talking to their own flesh and blood in this manner or a born-to-be-stern schoolteacher laying down the law to their class, I’m not entirely convinced the Australian Taxation Department would choose words so dripping in ‘over the back fence’ speak.
And bumping up the weird factor even higher was the fact the ever-so-subtley mangled English was delivered in what might best be described as a robotic, computerized version of a (Sir) Derek Jacobi accent. If you’re not familiar with the English actor, hear him here (he’s the one wearing a tie and black vest in the clip)
To be clear, these shysters will have to get up a lot earlier in the morning if they’re to have any chance of fooling leather-elbow-patch-brown-cardigan-wearing English Professor Donaldson.
Anyone up for a taste of comedy gold should click here for a look at someone hilariously turning the tables on an over-the-phone scammer.
And if that in any way tickled your funny bone, go straight to the three and a half-minute mark of this video and watch a guy call two different random-dial scammers at the same time and then place the mobile phone’s up against each other so each scammer can hear the other one and they think they’re talking to each other. Good humored revenge at its finest!
Ps. ‘Pun of the Week’ award goes to the 4BC radio commentator I overheard while on one of my marathon (2.5km) morning drives to work, who, when speaking about the news that Canada is in danger of running out of maple syrup, wondered what the local politicians might use instead to go with all their waffling.
Pss. A short while back I mentioned about the release of the 35-years-awaited sequel to the movie BLADE RUNNER. This article shines a revealing light on precisely why the movie failed to ignite the box office.
Psss. Coming soon to movie theatres is a sports film set in an era back when I was totally in love with the game of tennis. See the trailer here for BORG VS McENROE.
Pssss. This bonus read is a story for anyone who’s ever found a book they’ve tried reading totally or even partially indigestible, for any reason including – an overly complex plot, too many characters to keep track of or highfalutin or period-specific language.