“CBS 4 News this is Misty.”

“Do you know the difference between a deer and an elk?” CLICK.

As my thought of “did we air a picture and get it wrong?” was forming the caller hung up.  I have no idea why he called.  He sounded upset.  He didn’t sound like he was prank-calling.  With the phone silent against my ear I went ahead and did a search of the rundowns just to check for any possible mistake we could have made.   There had been no pictures or stories of deer or elk for days.

I hung up the phone and then shared the call with Twitterverse.  I figured I’d share it w/the masses so I wasn’t alone in the craziness of the call.  That’s when it hit me.  As the journalism industry is changing, there is one thing that is constant and not changing for either traditional or non-traditional newsrooms.

The crazy caller is not going anywhere.

I’ve never understood why people think any one of us in the newsroom is his/her personal search engine.  I understand calls that relate the stories we’ve done, but I take calls from people asking for street directions, phone numbers, correct spellings of random words and much more.  What about newsroom says map/phone book/dictionary?

Those are nuisance calls.  The deer/elk caller goes under my category of odd because there are truly crazy callers out there.  Most recently I’ve dealt with a man who says Nostradamus predicted his coming.  I forget exactly what he calls himself, something about dreams.  Anyway he calls repeatedly to tell me, and others that answer the phone, that he is the reason President Obama was elected and now the President has stolen billions from him.  He has other rants and raves about the things he’s predicted in his dreams. 

He’s called so often that now I recognize his name and number on caller ID.  I answer and before he’s able to start his rant I tell him that he has no news story that we would follow and that he should stop calling.  Then I hang up.  He calls back several times but I hang those calls up without answering them until he stops calling.

I’d say my all time favorite crazy caller is a man who called for years.  He called himself God.  He had a whole story of how he’s the son of God because he was created by two points of light in the universe that had sex.   Of course whoever answered the phone hung up on him.  He would call back and start talking before you were able to say anything.  He would pick up his story exactly where he was cut off previously.

Eventually he got to know our names and voices.  If I had talked to him two days before and others had talked to him since then, he knew exactly what story he had given me and would start exactly where he left off.  Now there’s some talent in that craziness!  He hasn’t called for years.  My guess is that he’s passed on or is institutionalized somewhere.

So as the journalism industry changes, adapts, and evolves, the one comfort we have is that there will always be that annoying or crazy caller to keep us company!

Whether in a newsroom or another place of business, what’s your most memorable crazy call?