The Jerky Misread
So way back in the day after college I worked part-time at Gannet Newspapers doing customer service. People would call in with wet papers or vacation holds or whatever and us reps would sit at these banks and enter the information and whatever. It was a pretty mixed bag of people. Couple Vietnam Vets. 20-something guido types. Some large housewife women. Secret quiet crazy guy. I remember liking the job alot tho. Tthe grab bag of people was really sort of interesting. And the conversational shifts were pretty dramatic. Like one minute you're talking about Saigon with some guy who still seems a little out of it. Next you're talking to some guido about his hubcaps or whatever. And I felt like one of the gang. We were all characters. And with my last name being Rosenberg I guess I fit in as the nice jewish boy character.
Anyway, one day one of the guido guys slapped me on the back and was like, 'Hey Mr. Rosenberg... Do you have your glasses today?' He said it in a weird whiny voice. I was like, 'Heh heh... Yup. Got em....' As I dorkily pointed at my face. He walked away saying, 'Good for you Mr. Rosenberg...' I was like, "What the hell was that?' Later on in the day another guy stopped by and asked me in a similar old mannish voice if... 'When I fall down do my shoes fall off? Do they, Mr. Rosenberg?' I was like WTF?! For a couple days, people kept calling me Mr. Rosenberg in a weird voice. Asking me random questions. Telling me I should be careful when playing with fireworks or insisting I'm giving them punitive damages.
I was sad. I thought I was part of the gang-- and now emerging was what I could only gather was a twisted level of anti-semitic teasing?!? The tone of 'Rosenberg' always emphasized in a whiny old man voice. I was like, 'Why are they turning on me!?' My exposure to 'in my face' anti-semitism had been pretty limited up until then so it was just strange to have my guido friend all of a sudden calling me 'Mr. Rosenberg' and asking about my glasses.
Finally (took me days) I asked him what his problem was... He looked at me like, 'What?' I was like, 'What the fuck? With the glasses bullshit??' He was like, 'You haven't heard them!?' I was like, 'Heard what!?!' He goes back to his desk and hands me a cassette tape that said 'Jerky Boys'. They hadn't had their album out yet. It was actually viral on cassette which is sort of amazing to think about now. In any case, I listened to it and felt so relieved that there was an explanation other than what I assumed.
If you haven't heard Sol Rosenberg-- here's a clip... (thirty five eight seven)
PS. Also a sad realization that prank phone calls is an endangered species...----------------------------------------------