Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Complaints Line Day!

You bought an oscillating fan in 1963 that doesn’t work very well. The instructions came with a phone number to call if you have complaints. You’ve been calling once a week for the last 48 years. You missed your call last week because you went to the hospital with a hematoma on your brain. Jeff, the guy who’s been listening to your complaints for most of his life, he got worried so he tracked you down and now he’s sitting by your bedside, his hand clenched tight in your feverish grip. There’s no one else in the room, no family or friends, just the guy who works for the oscillating fan company. You’re fighting an infection post-surgery.

“Come on,” Jeff says. “Tell me what’s wrong with the rotor! Live another day to tell me how that contraption couldn’t blow air stronger than a kitten fart.”

You gasp for a breath.

“Goddammit,” Jeff says. “What about the adjustable stand. That thing slips and drops more than a drunk on ice. Lemme hear it.”

The machine sounds. You’re in cardiac arrest. Nurses and doctors converge while Jeff continues to scream in your ear.

“The cord’s too short! Lemme hear it! That power cord doesn’t let you place the damn fan more than two feet away from a damn socket! You know you wanna tell me, dammit!”

The doctors try to revive you but you’re too far gone. They call the time of death at 8:43 PM. Jeff wanders out of the room without anyone noticing. He goes home and cancels his second phone line. When the fan company shut down in 1988 Jeff managed to secure the complaints phone number and had it installed at his one-room apartment. You were the only one who ever called it and he looked forward to hearing your voice every week. He’s going to miss you. Someone on this Earth heard you, and he’s sorryer than Christ he’ll never be able to hear from you again.

Happy Complaints Line Day!