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President’s Message

Marty-eJournal column pixby Marty Hayes, J.D.

Last month, Gila and I went on a week-long motorcycle trip. Our journey took us to the small community (pop. 15) of Aladdin, WY, where Gila is related to 30 percent of the town’s inhabitants. We try to get back to visit her Aunt Pearl and Uncle Jimmy as often as we can and we also like to ride motorcycles as often as we can, so the trip was a natural. But, as we also run the Network, a vacation isn’t simply a vacation, because we need to still make sure our members are taken care of.

Case in point:
On a Wednesday at 3:52 a.m., the Boots on the Ground phone rang. Unfortunately, Aladdin has only minimal cell service, not enough to have a legitimate phone conversation, but enough to make the phone ring and to receive an occasional text message. So (knowing this in advance) I let the phone ring, figuring that I could at least listen to the message that would indubitably be left by a member in need at 3:52 a.m.

Alas, no message was left, which removed some of the urgency of the call, as I figure if someone isn’t concerned enough to at least leave a message such as, “This is member John Doe. Please call me at 123-456-7890” then the phone call probably wasn’t a call for assistance.

So, I went back to bed and tossed and turned for an hour, until I finally was able to get back to sleep. The next morning after breakfast I hopped onto the bike and drove to a nearby rest stop with a cell tower, where I could actually return the phone call, to see who was calling and why. When I redialed, I got a recorded message and so I left a message saying who I was and requesting a call back.

A few hours later, I received a phone call from a member who lives in New York, who sheepishly and apologetically confessed to being the 3:52 a.m. caller. He said he was programming his new phone (it was, after all, 5:52 a.m. in New York) and he was sorry that he ended up calling the Boots on the Ground phone by mistake.

I receive a half a dozen calls like this each year, and really, it is no big deal, but please, members, do me a favor, okay? If you pocket dial or otherwise inadvertently dial the Boots on the Ground phone number, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stay on the line. You WILL get a call back anyway, because in the event I don’t get a chance to answer it when it is ringing, I will call back as soon as I can. If my voice mail answers instead of me, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE leave a message. I can get back to sleep much easier knowing that someone simply pressed a wrong button, as opposed to wondering if a Network member somewhere out in Gotham City is sitting in jail wondering what happens next.

At the same time, please DO NOT use the Boots on the Ground phone number to call and inquire about your membership status!