Occasionally, the Poetry Crisis Line counselors need retraining. Below is the transcript of a meeting with counselors from the Main Desk, the Deus ex Machina department, and the Unrequited Love Desk.
SUPERVISOR: Do you know why I called this meeting?
UNREQUITED LOVE: Screening errors?
MAIN: Mixed metaphors?
SUPERVISOR: Do you remember this caller?
[plays back recording of HAMLET call]
HAMLET [recorded]: To be or not to be…
MAIN: Oh yeah. I transferred him to the Deus Ex Machina Desk.
DEUS EX MACHINA: And I sent him to Unrequited Love.
UNREQUITED: And he wadered off in the middle of the call. How is he?
MAIN: Oh no.
UNREQUITED: Did he kill himself?
SUP [nods]: And his girlfriend.
UNREQ: Oh no.
SUP: And her brother.
MAIN: That’s terrible.
SUP: And their father.
SUP: And his mother.
MAIN: Are you sure? All of these people?
SUP: And his uncle and stepfather.
MAIN: His uncle and his stepfather. On top of all the rest?
SUP: No, his uncle and stepfather. One person.
UNREQ: That’s kind of creepy.
SUP: Apparently he was the target. The rest were collateral damage.
DEUS: Dude must have lousy aim.
SUP: So when you had this caller on the phone, did he seem depressed.
MAIN: Oh yeah.
SUP: Did he talk about death?
UNREQ: Oh yeah
DEUS: Whatever he said, it always came back to death.
SUP: And you didnn’t think to call me?
UNREQ? Not really.
MAIN: Why would we?
SUP: Because he was depressed, and talking about death.
MAIN: This is the Poetry Crisis Line, you know.
UNREQ: Everyone’s depressed.
DEUS: And death obsessed.
UNREQ: And lonely.
SUP: [long sigh] OK, we’re going to do some training to recognize when a caller is in danger. But if something like this happens again, please get a supervisor on right away. Or…at least somewhere along the line.