When my book To Begin Again was published, I wasn't preparedfor the numbers of people who began phoning me at home. Isoon realized that I needed a separate work line. I was leafingthrough a newspaper when I saw an ad for a voice mail company.For just a few dollars a month I could rent a phonenumber that people could leave messages on. This was perfect.I called the company, set up my voice mail message, and congratulatedmyself for the brilliant idea. I could relax in peacenow and respond to the messages whenever it was convenient.But there was no peace in store for me.
Each time I checked my messages, there would be a fewcalls for speaking engagements and many more calls frommen who seemed to be unusually interested in meeting me. Ithought the picture on my book jacket came out quite nice,but now it seemed it had become a source of attraction. Atypical mild message went something like this: "I saw yourpicture and I like the way you look. Call Steve." The moregraphic messages I simply can't repeat. Something verystrange was happening, and I decided that it couldn't possiblybe due to my book jacket photo. These men did not soundlike they had found me as they were browsing in the inspirationsection at Barnes & Noble.
I returned the calls for the speaking engagements, but Ididn't even begin to know what to do with the scores of malesuitors. I could have requested a new voice mail number, butthere were too many legitimate people who had been giventhat number, and I didn't want to lose touch with them. Thenone day I got a clue. In a message a man said, "Hi, Island Girl.I saw your picture on Desert Island. Call Bill." Island Girl?And what in the world was Desert Island? I spent all day tryingto figure it out. I called information and checked the YellowPages, but no luck. It was late at night when my husbandhad the brainstorm: Maybe it was an Internet address. We satdown at the computer and typed desertisland.com-and,behold, it was a pornography site. It was the United Nationsof naked women. But still I couldn't figure out what this allhad to do with me.
Then I found her. She was toplesswith large breasts and a grass skirt that could have used alot more grass. And below her photo was my voice mail number.
Days passed but my male callers weren't letting up. And Inever received a reply to my e-mail. So I got back onto thewebsite to look for a new solution. I found a second pictureof Island Girl and this time there were two numbers listed.The first one was mine. I decided to call the second number.The phone rang a few times and then a woman picked up.
I said, "Is this Island Girl?" She said, "Yes,honey. I like girls too." "No, you don't understand," I quicklyexplained. "There's a mistake. You have my phone number listed under your picture. You need to change it. You're losinga lot of business because I'm getting your calls." She asked,"Are you getting a lot of work? I hardly get any." I said, "No,you don't understand, I'm not in your line of work. I'm arabbi. I just want you to change the number under your picture."She didn't seem to know what a rabbi was, but she saidshe would correct the problem. And we hung up.
Within a matter of days the lust-filled messages disappeared,and I breathed a sigh of relief. Now I could concentrateon all the real messages and return them in order. Onewas a very polite message from a man named Jeff (I'vechanged the name) who worked at a movie studio. I called Jeffback, and he picked up the phone. I said, "Hi. This is RabbiNaomi Levy returning your call." He said, "Who?" I repeatedmyself, but he still seemed confused. I said, "I have a messageon my voice mail from you." And then it hit me. I asked him,"Did you get the number from the Desert Island website?"And Jeff said, "Can you hold on, please?"
He went to close his office door, then got back on thephone. "Is this some kind of joke? Are you really a rabbi?""Yes," I replied, "But there was a mix-up and the pornographysite accidentally listed my number." I felt bad for Jeff. Thepoor schlemiel called a prostitute, and he got a rabbi.