Working for the Catholic Channel

Old people. Helping them seems to make up 99% of my job. Working for a local, Catholic television station brings in a very specific audience, as in age 70 to about 95 specific. Most of my conversations go something like this:

“Catholic Life Television, this is Collette, how may I help you?”

“Yeah this is Pauline.” (I don’t know Pauline.)

“Hello, Pauline.”

“Yeah, where’s your Closer Walk program?”

“Well today we…”

“I watch Closer Walk every day and I’ve been watching this channel for thirty years!”

“Well we appreciate that! Yes ma’am today we had..”

“I donate five dollars every month to see that show. Well I don’t send it myself, I live in a nursing home, but cousin Cheryl sends it in for me. That’s what she says, I don’t know.”

“Well ma’am we appreciate that donation but the Pope was giving a special mass this morning, so we showed that instead.”

“Well I don’t think I’m gonna send my five dollars anymore.”

I then proceed to tell Pauline or whoever that while she missed the show today, it will be showing a bazillion more times throughout the week. I then tell her she can even find an entire schedule of the show on our website if she’d like!

“I don’t use the internet.”

We hang up.


Even more interesting are the viewers who still live at home but are retired, and all they do, literally all they do, is sit at home and watch our channel. They probably know more about what runs than I do, and I schedule the damn thing.

“Catholic Life Television, this is Collette, how may I help you?”

“It’s Darlene.” (Darlene I do know, she calls me about once a month to complain about something, accompanied by her peanut gallery husband, Henry, somewhere in the background.)

“Hi Mrs. Darlene.” (Darlene sounds like she’s had cigarettes and black coffee for breakfast for the past 50 years.)

“Where was the mass this mornin?”

“Well we had a…”

"What's she saying?"

“She ain’t answered yet!”

I wait a moment for them to finish. “That mass comes from Boston, and we aired a local production of our own, instead.”

“Yeah I seen it. They’re always talkin’ about crazy things and little toys ain’t nobody knows what is. Ain’t nobody care to be seein that.” (She means she means smartphones and ipads…)

“Well we’re not obligated to air anything from Boston, Mrs. Darlene.”

"What's she sayin?"
"She says that mass is from Boston, and they ain't obligated!"
"They ain't obligated?! You tell her we obligated, we tryin'a be good Catholics!"

“Yeah, we tryin to be good Catholics! ”

"Tell her they ain't givin us what we need to be good Catholics!"

“Yeah, you ain’t givin us what we need!”

I can see them, sitting in an old house on stilts in the middle of the bayou, our channel one of the ten local ones they get. He lives out of his recliner, running a small commentary about each show, and she controls the clicker. When they catch something out of the ordinary, they both agree it’s a scandal and give me a call.

After about thirty minutes, most of which Henry and Darlene are talking to each other, I talk them down, until she hangs up with that sugary southern phrase, “Bless your heart.”




4 thoughts on “Working for the Catholic Channel

  1. Bahahahaha, I LOVE THIS. It reminds me of conversations I have at the practice when older people call. Every one of them seems to think we’re on a first-name basis, and I guess the complaints are about the same whether it has to do with eye health or spiritual health. Hahaha, Collette, this was AMAZING.

  2. This was SO ENJOYABLE. Oh my gosh! I felt like I was on those phone calls myself. I wonder what our generation will be like when we’re old; I have a feeling we won’t be so adorable.

  3. I burst out laughing … writing about a Catholic show, not giving people what they need to be good Catholics, and then this line: “…. and I schedule the damn thing.” O! so ticklish! hahahaha!! The word damn amid all the Catholicism, so homey. I would love a continuing report on your involvement with your viewers, k?????

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