Calling card | 5 years ago | April 20, 2001 | Sara Houghteling recalled her time as a telemarketer.
“My muse first appeared in a strange earthly form. Eddie, the Most Valuable Employee in the telemarketing department of the Fresh Springs Bottled Water Company, lacked a front tooth and had greasy black hair that stuck unevenly to his forehead....
“Eddie approached my cubicle, singing Bon Jovi, the cord from his unplugged headset dancing around the knees of his acid-washed jeans. ‘Sara,’ he whispered, ‘think about the psychology of the customer. Look at their names, their businesses, get into their brains!’ Eddie smiled, his missing tooth like a darkened window in his mouth, and danced off with the headset cord wrapped around his leg.
“Perhaps the problem was my accent. Mostly I called Southern area codes, so I adopted the slow, syrupy drawl of my college roommate from Arkansas. My success rate crept upward. I changed my name to fit the customer’s business. For florist shops, I was Rose or Lilac. Ophelia dialed the bookstore crone, Prometheana called the fire station, and Mary Catherine rang up churches. Ginger and Candy, my porn-star alter egos and most successful saleswomen, phoned gas stations and hardware stores. These names inspired comments such as ‘You must be thirsty, Candy. Like a drink of me?’ Or ‘I’m a very dirty man, Miss Ginger. I’d like it if you were dirty for me.’ ”
Second coming | 10 years ago | April 19, 1996 | Carly Carioli considered Rage Against the Machine’s second album,Evil Empire.
“Phil Ochs once wrote that if there was any hope for America, it lay in revolution, and that the only hope for revolution lay in Elvis Presley’s becoming Che Guevara. So with the King fertilizing his Memphis lawn, what hope is there? Maybe none, but as Yoda prophetically whispered to Obi Wan Kenobi as Luke ran off to face the Evil Empire, ‘There is another.’ Imagine if the Unabomber had turned out to be Mariah Carey, or if Garth Brooks had walked out of the Freeman ranch in Justus, Montana. Like, what if Led Zeppelin became Che Guevara? Nah, fuck it. We’ll probably have to settle for Rage Against the Machine, who on their second album, Evil Empire (Epic), actually aren’t far off from that last scenario.
“... [Zack] de la Rocha bounces back and forth between the styles like a caged animal, affecting a slightly scrawnier version of Chuck D’s authoritative style; or varying his emphasis, pitch, and tone over repetitions of a phrase until it resounds like the word of God. Whether he’s whispering or shouting, it’s a voice that won’t be denied a hearing … whether it’s at the end of a microphone cord or at the barrel of a gun. Either way, you’ve been warned.”
Needlework | 15 years ago | April 19, 1991 | Liz Galst described the role of acupuncture in detox programs in Massachusetts.