Urgent calls

"I'll do anything legal," as I often say, "for $5 an hour." Among other odd jobs, I've wired auditoriums for sound, passed out flyers in drag, and shaved a hairy man's ass. If you're willing to pay, I'm willing to work, but next week's rent has been paid, so I'm not desperate.

Somebody out there is desperate. A man left a message on my voicemail a week ago yesterday, saying he'd seen my ad and wanted to talk about hiring me, but he didn't say what for. That's a little unusual; most callers give me the gist of what they want.

What's odder is, his message was marked "urgent" — something I didn't even know my voicemail could do. 

I returned his call, but not urgently. First I called my own voice mail like a caller would, and learned that if you're patient enough to listen to all the computerized options, you can push an asterisk at the end and it'll mark your message as "urgent."

It doesn't do much, though, and doesn't reach me any quicker. An "urgent" message simply sits there like any other message, until I call in and push the playback code, but when I do, the automated operator will announce, "This message is marked 'urgent'."

That's all. Very faux impressive.

Next I called Mr Urgent, got his answering machine, and left a message, explaining what he already knew, that I'll do anything legal for five bucks an hour.

It was two days before he called my voicemail again, and again he marked his message "urgent," but again he didn't say what the work would be.

The whole "I'll do anything" shtick is out of the ordinary, and maybe the guy thought he was calling an office somewhere, a business with pagers or something. So when I returned his call two days later, I explained to his machine, "I'm just one guy, and I have regular gigs on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, but if you need me on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, please call back, again, and if you do call, please tell me what work you want me to do."

Considering that I'm often an ass, I was seriously proud of myself for being so patient and polite. You can go ahead and be proud of me, too.

But it made no difference. On Friday, he called my voicemail a third time, marked his message "urgent" again, and again did not tell me what work he needed.

Saturday, he called three more times, Sunday once, and again this morning, and you guessed it, every message was marked "urgent" and none of them told me what work he wanted me to do. In this morning's message, he told me exactly when to call him back. "I'll be home between noon and 2:30."

Well, that's nice to know, Mr Urgent, but I have enough twits in my life already, and I'm tired of your messages and your voice. Hire somebody else.

♦ ♦ ♦  

After checking my messages, I stopped at Jose's Produce, to discreetly shake out another baggie full of cockroaches captured in my room. It was the third time I've roached the store, vengeance for their refusal to replace or refund 79¢ for a defective salt & pepper set (5/20)

After setting the roaches free near the meat counter, I walked toward the door to leave, and inside a plexiglass display rack, spotted a fat roach crawling across fresh-baked Mexican-style pastries. (To be clear, that roach was not one my dropoffs from today.)

Loud enough for any customer to hear, I semi-shouted, "Christ, they've got roaches crawling all over the baked goods!" 

And with that, I believe my work at Jose's is done. I've cost them more than 79¢, so I'll go back to killing roaches in my room, instead of collecting and dispersing them.

♦ ♦ ♦  

At the porn magazine where I work every Monday, one of my chores is to sort and shred the week's recycling. Several times that's included snapshots of the same naked woman.

Every few weeks, a 30-ish redhead in Arizona sends several unsolicited photos of herself, doing interesting things naked in what appears to be her home. In today's set of pictures, she was lounging in front of a fireplace, combing her pubic hair.

Each mailing is accompanied by a signed release form, authorizing the magazine to publish the pictures. Additionally, she writes on the back of each photograph, "Please print this," and signs her name.

So we know her name, but nobody at the magazine knows who she is, or why she's sending the pictures. I've checked the database, and she's not a subscriber, not an advertiser.

The magazine, Black Sheets, is highbrow, pansexual, and it's literary, more than just another booby magazine. It's 90% text, so people really do read it for the articles, and we're not looking for simple snapshots of nekked women. Every time she sends 'em, the pictures get tossed into the recycling.

It's a sad commentary on the loneliness and isolation some people feel, don't you think? I mean, I already had six pictures of her on the wall in my room. Now I have nine.

From Pathetic Life #25
Monday, June 3, 1996

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


  1. hahaha, well a more mature Doug today probably wouldn't have pulled that roach stunt...That reminds me of one of my more impulsive moments in my early twenties:
    Once I went up to the dentist at Open Door in Arcata. I sat on the floor of his waiting room barefoot reading the SF Chronicle. He came through the room and looked at me as if I were a barefoot hippie sitting on his floor. I didn't like his attitude. I went outside, down the street to the stationary shop and bought a big piece of poster board and a black marker. I made a sign that said The Dentist is a Pig and stood outside the clinic holding it up for a minute as a few cars went by. I saw him glancing out the window once and a few drivers pointed to the sign as if in confirmation.
    ( I have never been proud of this episode and am maybe lucky I wasn't admitted or committed to Sempervirons, the local loony bin, as they wanted to do when I later applied for Crazy Money.)...Forever Eel

    1. People should take less shit, I think, and I like your antidental protest.

      So did or did not that pig of a dentist ever fill your cavity or pull your tooth?


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