A few weeks ago I made a personal vow to not spend more than one hour online, excluding the time it takes me to write these few lines every day and handle the e-mail. To some extent I’ve been successful, but I’m appalled at what I find myself coming late to.
For instance, only today did I find the photo of what Page Six is calling Jude Law’s nanny-poking stick. (That link is not safe for work, as the nerds say.) I like “nanny-botherer,” myself, but no one asked me. Anyway, it wasn’t until I spotted a dashed-off Salon essay on the subject that I even knew this vital Internet story was breaking.
And to think we tell these people to “get a life.” When they already have the only kind that matters! The kind lived on the internet, where we can look at long-lens photos of naked movie stars.
(By the way, I may be betraying more than I wish to here, but it didn’t look all that negligible to me. Just average. Also, consider: It’s connected to Jude Law. Please.)
I think what I need to do instead is cull my blogroll, make it tight and light and info-dense and b.s.-lite. But then I’d miss so much. Only today I learned it’s possible, on this very same internet, to buy a black-velvet painting of Zell Miller. Actually, there’s an entire gallery of black-velvet Republicans. Even Dick Cheney.
And this is what you learn when you violate your one-hour rule.
Something I learned the other day was the story about the couple who got their check at a New Jersey restaurant and discovered they’d been ID’d by the bartender as “Jew couple.” Today it was a woman who had trouble with — imagine this — Comcast, and received her bill some days later, only to find she’d been called an amusing, stress-busting-for-the-operators name, too. “Bitch Dog,” in this case.
God knows what they called me last month.
Maybe the coming Battle of Armageddon won’t be between the Forces of Freedom and those of Medieval Islamofascism; maybe it won’t be between Christians and Antichristians. Maybe it’ll be between customer-service operators and the customers they are supposed to serve. And if we have any brains at all, we’ll band together and attack the people who imposed this crap on us in the name of cost-cutting.
Today I got a call from someone who’d been trying to reach me for a while, judging from how often “out of area” turned up on the Caller ID the last few days. It was an automated bill-collecting call, for a person I’d never heard of. Press 1 if you’re this person, I was instructed; 2 if the person is there and can come to the phone; and 3 if you want to hear the options again. No option for “you have the wrong damn number, fool,” so I pressed 1, what the hell. I was transferred to a computer voice that informed me the person I’d never heard of owed $40 and change to the Quality Paperback Book Club and did I intend to pay it? Press 1 if yes. Let’s build false hope; I pressed 1. I was given an address to send my check or money order to. I hung up wondering if I’d just thrown a monkey wrench into the QPB Club or my own personal life, because obviously they didn’t get the message. Communication, they taught us in high school, is a loop. If you don’t hear back, you’re not communicating. If someone owed me $40, I’d want to hear what they had to say about it.
Oh, well. A random Thursday, it was. We seem to be ramping up for yet another hot spell, so I tried to do cool things short of turning on the air conditioner — sitting quietly under the ceiling fan, washing the car, going to the library. Kate and I rode bikes there, then stopped for lunch at the Mack Avenue Diner. She ordered grilled cheese and a milk shake. When the latter arrived, it appeared to be the Super Big Gulp of milk shakes, so I made her share. I’m convinced 40 percent of all the calories you consume as a mother consist of sharing food with your kid, picking at their french fries and raiding their Teddy Grahams when you’re depressed. On the other hand, it frees you to drink milk shakes again, so where’s the harm?
I have a deadline tomorrow, so probably no more posting until…hey, it’ll be Friday by then. No more posting until “Six Feet Under” wraps. I’m sure there’ll be plenty to discuss.
alex said on August 19, 2005 at 1:04 am
With names like LaChania and Jefferoy, it’s a wonder the disaffected college grads doing customer service didn’t do these customers any more clever than “Bitch Dog” and “Scrotum Bag.” Note that both are redundancies. Of course, so were their irate calls, probably. The secret to getting good customer service is not to be an ugly American. It doesn’t work all the time, mind you–some reps have no power to do anything for you. But cussing them out for something they have no control over absolutely wrecks your chances for getting, say, a break in your cable bill, from someone who might. They’ve been cussed out a bazillion times all day by people just as pissed off and even more pompous. To whom do you think they’ll grant any favors?
I’ve found the win-the-worker-bees-over-with-honey approach works, at least with the airlines. Never would’ve believed it ’til I saw it in action. One time when our flight was cancelled, my travelling companion was sweet as can be to the poor desk attendant, who’d just taken a litany of filthy epithets from a “do-you-know-who-I-am” Sansabelt sombitch trying to get back to the Bible Belt from Boca. I got three more vacations outta the voucher she gave me for being understanding. Empathize with the downtrodden. Joke with ’em. Works a fair amount of the time.
mary said on August 19, 2005 at 1:34 am
It’s been a long, really bad day. I’m tired. What do I do before crawling into bed? I look at the painting of Zell Miller. Then I look at the gallery and see Richard Nixon. Several versions of Richard Nixon. I thought the day couldn’t have got worse, but it has.
Connie said on August 19, 2005 at 7:43 am
Gee whiz Mary, you could have at least looked at Jude Law’s dong. Which looked pretty average to me as well, but what do I know, I’ve been married and monogamous for almost 28 years.
John said on August 19, 2005 at 8:20 am
“almost” married, “almost” monogamous, or
“almost” 28 years? Enquiring Minds Want To Know!
Visiting granddaughter Lily this week!!! She is a cutie!
Dorothy said on August 19, 2005 at 8:26 am
Now, now John – Connie’s word was perfectly placed. She is nearing the event of her 28th wedding anniversary. I don’t think she meant she’s “almost” married or “almost” monogamous! (that’s a fun word to spell – try it)
I looked at it, Connie, and I agree. Nothin’ special in that package. Then again he was only at half mast or so, wasn’t he?
Post a new picture of Lily and tell us when it’s there!
Rory J. Thompson said on August 19, 2005 at 10:02 am
I agree with Alex about treating service folks with compassion, dignity and a little humor. Works every time (for me, at least.)
A few years back I was flying from Miami to JFK at the end of a business conference. Ticket counter at American Airlines was pure havoc and everyone was giving the poor guy behind the counter some grief. I walked up to check in, gave him a smile and said, “So! How’s YOUR day goin’?” He smiled back and said, “You don’t wanna know.”
“I hear ya,” I replied. “By the way, any chance of an upgrade today?” This was back before everyone used their miles to get upgraded. Airline folks used to be able to upgrade anyone at will. (Those were the days.)
Anyway, he looked at me and said, “Whaatteryou, kiddin’? (Hadda be a transplanted New Yorker). I simply smiled and said, “Hey, you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
He said, “OK, wait over there.” (Score!)
After dealing with more angry morons, he called me over and handed me a new ticket for First Class. Sweet!
Moral: It always pays to be nice to those serving you.
Epilogue: The flight was WAY overbooked, and they offered a $200 voucher and a guaranteed seat on the next flight to NY to anyone who’d give up their seat. No takers.
They upped it to $400, same deal. No takers.
They then upped to to $1000. Folks were FLINGING themselves out the door, but not me, ’cause I had a seat in First.
Made the mistake of telling the wife what I’d done when I finally strolled in the door, refreshed from my comfy, leather-chair-wrapped flight. She was not amused that I’d passed up $1000 worth of free tickets just so I could have unlimited Cabernet and steak for dinner.
Note to self: Censor future self-serving stories in the re-telling.
mary said on August 19, 2005 at 10:32 am
I looked at Jude Law’s dong a couple of days ago. I try to stay on the cutting edge of important celebrity news.
I spent many hours in life drawing classes, so I’ve seen many dongs. Jude is pretty average. I do like the term nanny- botherer myself, as well. The in-house Brit appreciated it as well. It reminded me, a bit obtusely, of an archaic term I learned years ago: catchfart. A catchfart is a personal servant who follows closely behind a wealthy person.
Nance said on August 19, 2005 at 10:57 am
Thanks, Mary, for that helpful excuse: “I’ve seen so many dongs because I’ve done so much life drawing, fool. It’s not like I’m promiscuous.”
And yes, average. That’s very different from tiny, which is what the Page Sixers seemed to be saying.
mary said on August 19, 2005 at 11:37 am
Well, I was in art school in the seventies. You know how things were then. Ahem.
But I’ve drawn and painted many a dong.
4dbirds said on August 19, 2005 at 11:52 am
I’m married to an Irishman so Jude looks just fine with me. 🙂
colleen said on August 19, 2005 at 12:04 pm
“Sansabelt sombitch”?? Heh. And I immediately pictured him.
I never understand why people want to be rude to (and possibly piss off) people who can yank you off a flight or spit in your food. I mean, DUH. We like to watch “Airline” on A&E. Not enough money in the WORLD for me to be a ticket agent. On a recent episode, a poor woman’s bag got dragged across the tarmac, and its contents, including her trip mementos, shredded. She was nice, not happy, but understanding. The baggage agent called in a bunch of favors and pretty much replaced everything that was lost. Why people think calling customer service people names and being vile and rude will make said people want to do something extra for the jerkwad is beyond me…..
brian stouder said on August 19, 2005 at 1:17 pm
“Why people think calling customer service people names and being vile and rude will make said people want to do something extra for the jerkwad is beyond me…..”
that A&E show is a hoot. Have you noted how many of the unruly folks are drunk?
Bars in airports, like cold beer in gas stations, are trouble waiting to happen
Claire said on August 19, 2005 at 4:37 pm
Oh I remember my mother used to bring home “naked lady” and “naked men” watercolor paintings when I was a child. I was so embarrassed! Now, however, I’ve matured somewhat and, well, can embrace the idea. Jude seems rather normal-ish to me. I made the mistake of telling my husband last night that I saw the photo while reading your blog. He seemed somewhat obsessed with the whole idea. I assured him it was no big deal!
BTW Nance, I laughed out loud as I got to the end of your post since I was compulsively eating my daughter’s Teddy Grahams (chocolate) while reading it..for real!
brian stouder said on August 19, 2005 at 4:52 pm
Luckily, we all “viewed Jude” last night, because there is a lawsuit in the works, and the pics are now gone from the sites that had it.
My wife saw in the paper that such a pic existed and I told her to follow the links on NNC – and when she did, it was gone!
So I went off half-cocked, you might say.
harry near indy said on August 19, 2005 at 5:02 pm
i’ve been on both sides of the cust. service rep. thing, so i always try to act as politely as i can with a csr when i deal with one.
i do not want to be a fg ae; i believe that will be held against me, and it’ll either be extra time in purgatory or reincarnation as an insect.