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.
“Like many other acupuncture detoxees, Kenneth is on a waiting list for inpatient treatment. ‘While I’m waiting for that, I’m doing this here. When you’re an addict, you have to go to any lengths to recover.’ So for two weeks, Kenneth, a former cocaine freebaser, has been attending daily detox sessions, despite his fear of needles. ‘If you see the way I come in here, all anxious, and then the way I go out, like I’m walking on cushions, you know this is good,’ he says.
“Kenneth is one of scores of people finding sobriety with the help of four public acupuncture detox clinics in the Boston area. The treatment isn’t completely new — the Lincoln Hospital, in the Bronx, New York, has had an acupuncture detox program for 17 years now, and the use of acupuncture to help private-paying patients deal with addictions has been gaining popularity in the US since the early ’70s. But here in Massachusetts, on the substance-abuse-treatment front, publicly funded outpatient acupuncture detox is a relatively new strategy, a form of treatment on demand that offers a great deal of hope to both individual substance abusers and to a society beset with drug and alcohol abuse’s resultant problems.”
The jump-off | 20 years ago | April 22, 1986 | Al Race explained how the all-terrain bike came to be.
“In the beginning, there were just bicycles. We all had one — big balloon tires, long red fenders, a frame built like a Chrysler, the rig weighing in at about 60 pounds. Then came 10-speed technology. Soon everyone was riding sleek, light, skinny-tired touring bikes or reasonable facsimiles thereof, and the old models were abandoned to an out-of-the-way corner of the garage. Then, about eight or nine years ago, some kids on the West Coast bought a few of these old ‘clunkers,’ as they called them, at garage sales and took them into the hills. The idea caught on. Soon, bike mechanics were custom-building clunkers with all the latest 10-speed innovations, and a new sport was born.