The first story—20 minutes long—was one of the most entertaining stories I've heard on the program in a long, long time. I find a large majority of stories on this show compelling, from an intellectual perspective usually, but this story was not that. It was just entertaining, and I'm sure it made me look like a dork the number of times it made me laugh out loud on the elliptical machine. Fortunately for me, I don't get one ounce of my self-worth from what anyone at the gym thinks about me.
The story was about a voicemail message left by a mother for her son who was at Columbia University in the early '90s, in which after she hears his outgoing message—and because of the context in which she hears it—after the beep, she flies off the handle with the message she leaves. The boy then forwards her message to a couple of his close friends late at night, and by morning those friends had forwarded it to a bunch of their friends resulting in hundreds of people hearing it overnight. And then it went viral—even though there wasn't a word like that back then—to the entire campus, where it became legendary.
Of course, in true This American Life style, they eventually find the son to make sure this was all true, and even better, eventually talk to his mother. So entertaining. You can listen to it here. Move the slider to 1:30 to skip the plea for a donation and the prologue.
Note to IBMers who work, or did work, at the RTP site years ago, when we had the Rolm phone system, you'll get an extra kick out of this story.
Two people, both of whom I've told I'm "not a phone person," left me a voicemail yesterday, each of which just said, "Call me," and neither of which I did.
To everyone who calls me, in the spirit of graphjam.com, here's how I roll:
- "Text me." — I don't have texting on my phone, so that's not gonna happen.
- "Call me." — Since I'm not a phone person, I'm not calling back with this kind of message, because it could be just to "chit-chat," which I don't do on the phone. And I won't call back if the message says, "Call me. This is not just to chit-chat," either, so don't even think about it.
- "Here's what I'm calling about. What do you think?" — The reason this is only 75% is because, if you're calling about something that's chit-chatty or something we can easily just talk about the next time we're together (e.g., "Gurl, I have to tell you about what happened last night."), I'm probably not going to call you back. If it's a "coordination" question or request (e.g., "Let's meet for coffee at [place] at [time]" or "I'm only going out Tuesday night if you are; let me know.") then there's a very high chance I'll call you back. However I probably won't return a call with a message like, "I'm going out on [night] and I hope to see you there."
- "Here's what I'm calling about. You can e-mail me a response." — I just love you! My preference is to always avoid a phone call whenever possible.
I got to Hibernian at 11:00 in search of my friend Courtney and her birthday entourage, but I didn't find them there. I know they were "starting there" at 10:30, so maybe they'd already moved on to another place. I thought they'd be there for at least a half hour. It was rather crowded there, though, so perhaps if they had a big enough group there really wasn't room to accommodate them.
Since the place was just oozing with straight people (not that there's anything wrong with straight people), I just went over to Flex to be with my people, and where it was Disco Night. Four people—the two bartenders (Jim & Jay), the bar back (Zack), and another other guy who I believe is just a customer who likes to skate, zipped around the place on roller skates. As I've mentioned before, I'm not convinced that skates, alcohol, and cement floors are such a good idea from an insurance risk perspective.
Zack had on a t-shirt that said:
At a little after midnight, Joe T. and I convinced Phil to go over to Legends. I paid the $8 cover—which is outrageous and why I don't go there much—basically to people watch. I said hello to Kurt (Kevin R.'s ex), who was looking good weight-wise as he's been biking (and I said as much to him); chatted for a little bit with Todd W. (Randy F.'s ex); and had a little longer chat with David (Santiago's ex). So many exes, so little time.
On the way out, I walked by the bar on the Legends' side, where young Richard G. was bartending, and he called, "John!" and then said, "What are you doing here?"
"Just checking in on the grandchildren(1)," I replied, and then added, "I made an $8 donation to their college fund at the door." Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready.
(1) Legends is known for its twink clientele.