It seems that several times a day we get unsolicited phone calls wanting to sell us something or at least trying to separate us from our money. Thank goodness for Caller ID. We are able to screen out most of the unwanted calls.
For the most part these calls are the modern day equivalent of the snake oil salesmen of the nineteenth century. The following excerpt from a 1898 newspaper advertisement indicates that John Boyd's great-grandfather, James T. Lorton must have fallen for some miraculous potion.
"In the spring of 1890," writes Mr. Smith, "I took a severe cold which settled on my lungs and chest, and I suffered intensely. I tried several of our best physicians here, and they gave up all hope of my recovery; they said that I had consumption and could live but a few days or weeks. Mr. James Lorton, a neighbor, came to me and told me to write to Dr. Pierce —that he could cure me. I did so, and he wrote me what kind of medicine to get. I took five bottles of Dr. Pierce's Golden Medical Discovery and now I am sound and well. I feel better than I have in ten years. I gladly recommend the 'Golden Medical Discovery' for I know it saved my life."1
Maybe that last phone call from a unidentified number was really Dr. Pierce's computer robo-calling to sell us some of his Golden Medical Discovery.
1. Los Angeles Herald, Volume 25, Number 164, 13 March 1898