Dial tones

Dear Ace, What’s this I hear about my cell phone number getting released to telemarketers?—Chatty Cathy

Well, Chatty, if you thought when you purchased your handy-dandy cellular telephone-o that you were safe from the grasp of telemarketers everywhere, think again. Looks like those peaceful, uninterrupted nights around the family dinner table are to be no more. As of December 31 all cell phone numbers known to man, woman and dog will be released into the hands of those diabolical phone monkeys that keep you hanging on the telephone at all the wrong hours of the day.

Yet, Ace is here to say, Do not lose hope. There are two ways to avoid letting your digits fall into hands far worse than those belonging to the drooling, badly toupeed man at the bar. Your first option is to call 888-382-1222 from your cell phone, and your cell phone only. Repeat after Ace: “This will not work if I dial from my work phone. This will not work if I dial from a pay phone. This will not work if I dial from a banana.” And so on and so forth.

   The second option is to visit www. donotcall.gov. Click on “Register Now,” type in your cell phone number and e-mail address and make sure they’re typed all correct-like. Then, an e-mail will magically arrive in your inbox, complete with a link to the final piece of the puzzle. Click the link and—presto!—your number is safe from the paws of telemarketers everywhere.

   However you choose to save yourself, do it now, Chatty, because time’s a-wastin’. Either means to the end will block your number for five years.

   And, if you stupidly choose to ignore Ace’s sage advice, remember come January, when your Motorola starts shaking to the digitized melody of “Big Pimpin’” at the exact moment you’re about to settle down in front of “America’s Next Top Model” with a glass of wine and a bowl of ice cream: Ace’s advice may be free, but it’s worth more than that.