Don't ask, please, why I decided to do it, but I did. I started my own business on the side. Truth be told, I have an abundance of idle time in my work here at the Free Press (please don't say anything to Mrs. Peaves or the nasty little cuss who is the managing editor, neither of whom read what I write). And so, with that time, I went into business for myself. What that business is, isn't important. It was the motions I had to go through to start that business that is at issue. Like any new business owner, I assumed I would need a business phone and, of course, a calling card. I believe you Americans refer to them as business cards. Either way, I needed some, or so I thought. An acquaintance designed and printed my card, though not exactly in the timely manner he had described. Eventually he proudly delivered them to me. At the time he brought them around, I was on hold with the telephone company, had been for 20 minutes. No sooner had my calling cards arrived did the telephone salesperson return to the line. My calling card man had to shove off before I was done dealing with my key concern, my new business telephone. Having dealt with that, I opened my box of new calling cards, which were supposed to feature an image of my own rather chiselled visage. Instead of my rugged, manly face, there appeared a line drawing of a face with the words: “your image here” placed within that line drawing. I have not yet decided if I will order new, more satisfying cards. I have more pressing issues at the moment. Now, about that “business” phone. Once it was installed, my plan was to set up an automated answering system, you know, “If you'd like to speak with Fitzwilliam, press two now.” I spent the better part of an afternoon trying to navigate the menu to set up such a system. I failed miserably. What puzzled me was, what sort of “business” phone wouldn't have such a common feature? I called the telephone company again (I shall not name the company as I have no desire to enter into battle with a corporate giant whose barristers could crush me like a bug). After an overly long wait, I finally reached a person who explained to me that I would need to purchase additional mail boxes to do what I wanted. I gritted my teeth and made the purchase, which took three days to clear. Following that long wait, I spent another afternoon trying again to set up my answering system. Again, “If you would like to speak to Albert, please press four now,” and so on. Lacking any success whatsoever, I rung up the phone company once again. I explained what I was trying to do and the steps I had thus far taken. “To do that,” the “helpful” person said. “You have to get 'auto assist.'” You've probably deduced by now that what the telephone gent was getting at was: I needed to, yet again, buy something else from his company. In the course of my duel with the telecom giant, another “helpful'” person explained that there was an internet company that would do exactly what I was trying to do. He volunteered to take care of the details and I happily accepted. He accomplished the initial steps, but not before I had to purchase yet another service from yet another company. I was no longer gritting my teeth, I was biting my tongue. A few days later my “helpful' friend explained that we would have to turn over the phone number to the internet company for the whole thing to work. The drawback? The phone would no longer ring in my “office.” If I wanted that, he explained, we would have to call the telecom giant and install a second phone line, which would be a different number. My initial thought was, “I will most definitely need a new calling card.” More than likely, however, I will call this business idea quits, as it is far more work than I thought.