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When Carmine takes on the world, we all win

for The Brooklyn Paper
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I’m madder than a praying mantis at an atheist convention over this deal Israel made exchanging more than 1,000 dangerous prisoners for one guy.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Carmine, you work for a local paper, and you write about local things, so why are you suddenly going off on some tangent that involves international intrigue and James Bond superspy stuff?”

Well, I’ll tell you why: because I feel like it!

Look, you all know that Israel has always been the staunchest ally of the United States, so it is totally mind-boggling to me that it would do such a dangerous action that sets a cowardly precedent. I’ve always admired Israel, but cannot understand or condone the release of all those killers and terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

Of course, if they released all those thugs to bring Gene Shalit back to the Today show, I’d be all for it! That guy’s a national treasure!

And in other international news, how about all these companies sending jobs to countries where the people speak bad English?

Well, here’s a hot tip from the Ol’ Screecher on how to get back at those companies that make you talk to somebody on the other side of the planet every time you need help getting your Interweb connection back up. The next time you’re stuck talking to a customer service representative who speaks with anything other than a Brooklyn accent, do what I do:

• Step 1: Make sure they are not in the U.S.A. The simplest way to do so is to ask them how the weather is. If they say it’s sunny and 75, and you know that it is cloudy and 70, they are someplace else!

• Step 2: Don’t hang up! Politely say to them, “I’d like to speak to a customer service representative in the United States of America.” At that point, the rep will suggest talking to a manager. Don’t fall for it, because the manager is sitting right next to them, laughing! So politely say, “No thank you. I’d like to speak to a customer service representative in the United States.” The foreign rep will again try to assist you and so will the manager, so hold your ground and insist that you won’t do anything to your machine unless you speak to an American. At that point, you will immediately be connected to a rep from the United States. And best of all, it’s the law — you just have to be patient enough to jump through those hoops.

STEP 3: Wait patiently, because it can take a few minutes for your call to be re-directed back to the U.S., but the end result is worth it. Tonight, when I got redirected to an American named Mary Ann, I asked where she was and how the weather was — she said she was in Somerset, New Jersey, and I have the weather from there on my iPhoney because I vacation there sometimes, so I knew she wasn’t lying.

STEP 4: Restart your computer. That always solves the problem.

Imagine what would happen if every U.S. citizen insisted on talking to only United States reps from this day on. Imagine how many U.S. jobs that would need to be created!

But I’ve got one warning for you — try not to be abrupt or rude to a foreign phone rep. Like you and me both, they are only trying to make a living. It’s not their fault that they got a job that one of our greedy corporations exported. But if you stick to your guns, you will get correct answers, good advice, and solutions to your problem — in real American English.

Of course, I could be wrong, but you can’t believe everything you read.

In local news, what has the MTA got against feeding rats? I just heard that the guys responsible for our trains and buses want to remove the garbage cans along the platforms, just like the city has done on 18th Avenue.

That’s just swell. You know something, the MTA could save a lot of money if it reverted back to its 1970s policy of having everyone throw their garbage under their seats, and get rid of all their extra spray paint on the sides of the trains.

If the MTA used MY plan, it could save a lot of cash — and save travelers time by not having to wait for that garbage train that interrupts service! Guys could just clean up the train when it gets to that last stop in Coney Island! It’s too bad none of the trains go to Staten Island, because then they could just open the doors and sweep the stuff out there. You can see that dump from space!

Helloooo! If you want to keep the station and trains clean, hire cleaners instead of six figure know-nothing, do-nothing executives. That’s even more jobs for Americans!

Now’s the point in the column where I take a minute to wish all of you a Happy Halloween, and to tell you that I’ll screech at you next week! Boo!

Carmine Santa Maria, whose column appers on BrooklynPaper.com every Sunday, logged more miles on the subways before he was 20 years old then all of you whippersnappers have since you moved here — combined.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I've actually gone as far as to write a physical letter to advertisers in the Brooklyn Paper, telling them that as a professional 20-something w/o children, they can kiss my business goodbye if they continue to support such publications as this.
Oct. 30, 2011, 6:34 pm
willie from staten island says:
hey santa maria how about i open my door and sweep some garbage on your doorstep!
Nov. 3, 2011, 12:04 pm

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