Hundreds Of Thousands Of Sad, Lonely People Waiting To Take Your Call

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Issue 3531

Rotating Knife Vortex Closed Pending Safety Investigation

NORFOLK, VA—By the order of the Virginia Safety Commission, the Norfolk Rotating Vortex Of Sharp Knives public-works project was temporarily closed Monday. "Until we deem that this whirling knife vortex fully complies with all state and federal safety regulations, we unfortunately have no choice but to shut it down," commission spokesman James Fenten said. Vortex operators are angry. "Closing the vortex is costing dozens of workers their paychecks," project supervisor Carl Blaine said. "It's costing the city $100,000 every day it's down. This city needs a gigantic, funnel-like chasm with whirling, razor-sharp steel blades protruding from all sides, and it needs it now."

Kleenex Box Inadequately Covered

EMPORIA, KS—Area widow Gwen Reid is said to be "crocheting frantically" following Tuesday's discovery of an uncovered Kleenex facial-tissue box in her home. "Dust is falling on the box as we speak," said Reid, struggling to complete a side panel for a pink cozy. "This is worse than the uncovered spare roll of toilet paper in the bathroom last year." In the past, Reid has knitted coverings for such once-naked items as the TV Guide, radio and grandfather clock.

Natural Light Very Important To Local Man

HACIENDA HEIGHTS, CA—The natural light of the sun is extremely important to homeowner Gregg Dorner, it was reported Monday. "Natural light definitely opens up the place. The living-room space just breathes a lot more and has a much greater sense of play ever since I installed the skylight," Dorner said. "Natural light also really suffuses the kitchen area and mutes the colors. I think it softens the lines, too." According to neighbor Alexander Faulk, the Dorner home looks "exactly the same" as when artificial lights were used.

Area Man Killed In Committee

NEW YORK—K&L Advertising executive Nathan Lohaus was killed in committee Monday, his life voted down by an 11-3 margin at the 2 p.m. departmental meeting. "We threw Nathan out there and discussed him at length, but in the end we decided he just wasn't viable," K&L creative director Marcus Somers said. "We had a lot of really high hopes for Nathan, and we certainly tried to make him work, passing him back and forth and letting everybody take a stab at him, but in the end he just died on the table." Somers extended his "deepest regrets" to Lohaus' wife and children.

A Profanity Primer

It enrages me beyond all tolerance to see what has be-come of people these days. There is not one man jack in a hundred with any back-bone any-more! Why, scarcely one man in ten butchers his own swine, wives are no longer taken by brute force, and duels are hardly ever fought, and then only with childish pistols, I am told, not the great spiked leaden mattocks of my youth! Why, the thick and fiery blood of this great Republic must be but a thin, pinkish drool in the veins of its so-called manhood.
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  • Man’s Body Running Out Of Ideas To Convince Him He Full

    BAYTOWN, TX—Having repeatedly ratcheted up the 34-year-old’s level of discomfort with no noticeable effect on his behavior, the body of local man Kent Dugan confirmed Wednesday that it was starting to run out of ideas to convince him that he was full.

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Sad, Lonely People Waiting To Take Your Call

OMAHA, NE—According to industry leaders, the nation's $7 billion phone-assisted-sales industry is thriving, with more than 450,000 desperately sad and lonely people standing by at this time, eagerly awaiting your call.

Despondent, suicidal service representatives assist customers.

"Call now from any rotary or touch-tone phone," said Charles Flannery, president of the American Association of Telephone Representatives, "and a friendless, deeply depressed wretch trapped in a sterile cubicle will be happy to assist you with your order, be it for flowers, magazine subscriptions or collector plates."

"Hi, Miraclean Cookware, this is Jill speaking, this call may be recorded for quality-assurance purposes, how may I help you?" a heavily medicated Jill Montrose, 41, intoned into her telephone handpiece, the pre-scripted greeting long stripped of any enthusiasm or inflection. Staring at the gray, fabric-like covering on the far wall of her cubicle, she again spoke into the lump of beige molded plastic in her hand after a 14-second pause: "Yes, ma'am, I'd be happy to process that order. Just to confirm, you'd like three of the Miraclean stainless-steel EZ-Broil pans at $22.95 each and one Miraclean Minute Wok at $31.95. Thank you, and have a nice day."

"I had to take this job to make the ends meet and whatnot after Gary left," said Montrose during her daily 3 to 3:10 p.m. break. "Gary brought out my psychiatric record in court and ended up with custody of the kids, so it's just me now." Taking an enormous draw on her unfiltered Kool, Montrose continued, "But I try to help with the kids' medical bills, because Gary's been barely getting by ever since the screen-door factory closed."

Added Montrose, "When the traffic is light, I get home before Grace Under Fire starts."

One of the many windowless buildings in which America's phone-service representatives toil.

Montrose is just one of the legions of friendless, gray-skinned flotsam whose ongoing misery keeps the phone-sales industry thriving. Matt Orman of Wixom, MI, fired from his job as an electrician following a nervous breakdown caused by his divorce, now works as a phone-sales representative with Continental Promotions in nearby Southfield.

"The ad in the paper said you can make $200 to $1,400 a week," Orman said. "Because, like, you make commissions when you sell extra stuff that the caller didn't ask for. I never made more than $250, though. I guess I'm bad at my job."

"I made $212 last week," Orman added. "I think I'll reward myself with this one magazine I've been thinking about getting."

Montrose and Orman are not alone. According to U.S. Labor Department statistics, a soaring number of pitiable, dead-eyed husks are finding steady work in the phone-sales industry. Almost 350,000 forgotten, utterly alone societal dregs worked in the field in 1998, up from 200,000 in 1995. In the first half of 1999, another 100,000 only-technically-alive shells joined their ranks.

Some experts feel the relationship is largely symbiotic.

"It stands to reason that a large-scale mail-order company would attract broken individuals," Wesleyan University sociologist Dr. Jonathan Kinnard said. "But beyond that, we see that the typical pathetic loser is well-suited to perform the repetitive and unchallenging tasks required by phone reception. Sitting in the same bare cubicle, repeating the same 10 lines from a script for 40 hours a week, every week with no vacation, would psychologically break a healthy person with any sort of zest for life. But the dead-eyed invertebrates of the world would be hard-pressed to think of a better job. Pet stores are filled with unfamiliar sights and smells, driving a vehicle carries too much responsibility, and libraries contain books. With phone sales, you've got your workspace that's not too small or too big, and you've got your phone and your script. It's perfect."

Added Kinnard, "Much like the way retarded people will watch the same TV show for the rest of their lives, even when they've seen every episode 20 times, these spiritually empty drones retreat into the safety of the familiar and unstimulating, lest they are forced to confront an outside world of ambiguity and potential rejection. Euthanasia would be the most humane treatment of these walking tragedies. But on the other hand, when I want to order something off an infomercial, who else is going to take my credit-card number?"