My voice mail greeting used to be the litmus test of my emotional stability. If I happened to be going through an especially schizoid period, the girl on the machine (um, me; see, i'm veering dissociative already) would either solicit callers warmly to leave important data and sweet nothings, or bark her number and something monosyllabic in closing.
And when other people I know change their voice mail greetings, I always think: something's wrong. They're angry. Lonely. Broke. Hunted. Or maybe they've been chastised by someone close to their hearts or paychecks. But if the greeting isn't linked to an actual human voice, then I don't take it as hard. It then seems less personal and more whimsical, like changing the wallpaper on your myspace. And for people who do like to thusly outsource their greetings, there are countless options.
If you're a PETA supporter, you can have the guitarist for Good Charlotte intone a voice mail greeting for you. If you're concerned a percentage of your callers aren't registered to vote, Mary J. Blige will remind them during the time you dash to either answer or silence your ringer. YouMail has a ton, including a whole category devoted to "Fake Errors"--for the poor dears among us who actually are being stalked? Or who are just malicious--I shutter at the "Earthquake" one (but thought the "this call requires a 25Â¢ deposit" was cute).
I might even prefer getting any of these over the one I can't stand the most: the "fake-out" greeting, in which the person actually records himself answering the phone and starting a conversation, responding to you, etc., then laughs and breaks the news that, sucka, leave a message after the beep.
Are there greetings out there that make you want to jump through the phone?