This one hung up on me. Not so much as a "goodbye" or a "thank you" just an "Oh" and a click. It was for the great and serious crime of working in the movie business while she was planning to give me a survey about movies. I'll admit that was pretty nervy of me, but this kind of rejection is one of the reasons people loathe telemarketers. Be rude to them and they indignantly proclaim that they are only doing their jobs and you ought to have a bit more sensitivity towards people trying to feed their families through legal means. Try to be kind and responsive towards them and they hang up on you without a hint of remorse as soon as you've outlived your usefulness. Now granted I am quite used to being rejected and ignored by women after my usefulness to them has come to an end, it's pretty much standard operating procedure in my experience, but this time it was particularly unsettling. This time I was trying to help the lady out and since I didn't fit her allowable demographic she just hung up on me without so much as telling me her bra size, even though I asked. That's just rude.
The truth is that everyone hates telemarketers, which makes it unfortunate that last summer I trained quite a few ex-convicts to perform that very task. It wasn't something that I intended to do, I was under the impression that I'd be training them for tasks like typing and showing up to work in a timely fashion on a regular basis, you know, most of the qualifications George Bush has for being a president. One day my boss, who was a pretty and rather evil woman, decided that we needed to teach telemarketing and that I was just the fellow to do it. I had mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand telemarketing jobs were something that some of the ex-cons were qualified to do. On the other there's the fact that such jobs are dead-end for the most part, and the fact that they're a horrible public nuisance. "Congratulations, you've served your time for assault and you're a free man. We're now going to put you in a government sponsored program to call people during their dinner hour and annoy the crap out of them. Also if they aren't particularly useful you'll hang up on them in mid-sentence. Productive membership in society is yours for the taking."
I did it though, and they liked it. Some of them are probably engaged in telemarketing as we speak. Calling you at dinner to sell magazines or give you a survey about your fishing habits. Earning minimum wage or less in one of the new jobs created by the Bush economy (Don't call list notwithstanding.)
The thing is, I really think I should have taught them phone sex.
For the puritans and moralists among you this statement might be quite shocking. Like finding out that paragon of virtue Richard Cheney managed to spawn a daughter who is, well, not to be overly indiscreet, an homosexual. I should explain.
There are several reasons why I think teaching phone sex to convicts beats teaching them telemarketing. The first of these would probably be my own skill and comfort level. I'm a terrible salesman. I lack the courage of other people's convictions, and pushing junk makes me feel unbearably sleazy. Asking me to teach telemarketing is sort of like asking Michael Jackson to teach proper child care. It's possible that he'd be able to do it, but it goes against his nature in a fundamental way. I kept wanting to tell them not to be pushy or pursue conversations with uninterested parties with the same fervent strength that Michael would feel compelled to suggest that parents check their childrens' diapers at least 200 times a day, smell or no, and send photographs of clean bottoms and genitals to him so he could make sure there was no issue.
I've been told that I'm pretty good at the phone sex. By real live females. I think. They could have been fake falsettos. I try not to think about those possibilities. Phone sex is actually pretty easy. All you really need is a decent vocabulary and an imagination. You can make up for any deficits in those areas with a thesaurus and a copy of the Kama Sutra. I think where most people stumble during phone sex is in keeping the conversation from sounding repetitive and hackneyed. You need a ready supply of positions that would have a %28 of causing a broken neck if you attempted them in real life and enough synonyms for genitals and other erogenous zones that nobody would mistake your exchange for a discussion about two pet lovers lavishing attention on a rooster and a kitten.
An Atlas can help as well. Look up a nation and it's national flower or something and you can instantly create an exciting exotic scene sure to tittilate the imagination of the person on the other end of the line. Discretion must be used here though. "It's midnight in the mountains of Peru. I'm lost, having wandered away from my tour group in an attempt to get a picture of a rare and exotic bird that I got a glance of through the tree-tops and pursued for a couple miles before losing sight of. Dusk is falling and I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I see you. You are sitting at the edge of the river I've been following down the mountain, dangling your legs in the water, between us is a field of Kantuta, or Inca Magic Flowers, and you are humming the most beautiful melody I have ever heard. The sunset illuminates your silhouete against the horizon, and I can tell the water's cold because I see your nipples straining at the tight cloth of your blouse. Suddenly the tour group doesn't matter so much." can work if your intended partner is into the exotic or romantic. "It's summer in Poland and we're hiding from the acid rain beneath the tin roof of a merchant's shack. I look down and see a corn poppy growing from a crack in the concrete. 'Hey look there, a corn poppy' I say in my husky voice." not so much.
Not only would I have been better prepared to teach phone sex than phone sales but I think my students would have been better prepared to learn it as well. Let's be honest. Do drug addicts and convicts know more about sex or magazine subscriptions? I'm not saying that all convicts are easy or even sexually active, just that many of them aren't exactly reading Atlantic Monthly cover to cover either.
Maybe the benefits it would grant me and the convicts aren't enough to convince you that public funds should be used for this purpose, so let me appeal to your naked self interest. The advantages that converting telemarketers to phone-sex operators would offer are numerous.
1) Economic benefits: Telemarketing is a dead-end job. It doesn't provide a lot of economic stimulus and it's being outsourced anyway. Phone sex makes money hand over fist, and it can't be outsourced. Nobody wants to hear Rajik say "Please do be telling me about your cock. How I can touch you today?"
2) More supply means lower prices: Phone sex is a great American tradition, but it's out of the reach of most Americans today. $3.99 a minute to hear "Candy" talk about how wet she is? A man shouldn't have to choose between phone sex and his Hustler subscription. More phone sexers would drive the price down considerably. You could pay only, say, $0.99 a minute while
3) A living wage: Phone sex pays the bills in a way that shilling crappy vacuum cleaners just can't. This has an upwards influence on wages AND it would force the Christian right to put their money where your dirty mouth is. Don't want people talking filth for greenbacks? Then pony up some wage hikes Mr. evangelist billionaire. If Walmart can't beat 99-Pleasure in what it plays its employees then it's just not doing its Christian duty.
4) Annoying dinner interruption calls a thing of the past. Yeah the phonesexers might do some telemarketing of their own, but when you pick up the phone at dinner time which would you rather hear? "Is anyone in your household a male between the ages of 25 and 34" or "Oh baby, your rock hard cock makes me so horny, please give me a call, I need to cum so bad." Suddenly getting up from that plate of whipped turnips will hardly seem like a chore at all. If the wife complains just remind her that it took her 1 hour 17 minutes and two packages of double A batteries to finish up her conversation with Raul last weekend, and he wasn't pitching linoleum.
There you have it. I'm sick of receiving prying calls from rude people, and I know I'm not the only one. Let the conversation of the telephone centers begin. If they're going to raise our blood pressure by calling at inappropriate times and being nasty on the phone, at least let them raise other things as well. Write your congressman or senator. Ask for tax cuts and incentives. Let's get this thing going.
Or cumming, as it were.