Rock/pop Clubs by Night
Rock/Pop Club Directory
Rock/Pop Bands in Town
Jazz Clubs by Night
Jazz Club Directory
Jazz Bands in Town
"Did you mean Linda Linda?"
No, I meant Lipua-Lipua, which is exactly what I had typed into the search engine. I was testing the limits of the Web-based Apple iTunes Music Store, trying to find recordings by a seminal African soukous orchestra from the 1960s. Actually, the limits were pretty easy to find. When I typed in "soukous" it said "Did you mean houmous?"
Okay, if there was to be no soukous, why not a little houmous? I clicked on houmous and was transported to a song called "Post Houmous" by the Dover, England, electronic group Morcheeba, and it was actually pretty good, if nothing like soukous, so there you have it. Thinking maybe iTunes was strong on Brit provincials, I typed in the Manchester, England, group Hermanís Hermits, which had eighteen Top 40 hits from 1964 to í68.
"Did you mean Hermanas Hermanas?"
Well, maybe I did . . . but it was another reminder that we live in an age of diminished expectations ó or did I mean Expectorate Expectorate, which is what I would like to do on the graves of Delta Airlines and a few other companies with whom I have recently had (non-consensual) Customer Relations.
My Delta Hair Day began at the LaGuardia ticket counter, returning home from a trip to New York. The cyber cipher was doing even more typing than usual, and I was getting nervous. Sure enough, she finally announced without expression, "I donít seem to have you on this flight."
I checked my itinerary again. It was for todayís date.
"Ah, hereís the problem," she said. "This reservation is for today of next year."
"Well thatís a mistake. I flew down from Portland three days ago. As you can see from my hotel reservation, this was a three-day trip."
"Nevertheless, the return ticket is for next year."
"Thatís a long wait. Can I get an in-flight magazine?"
"I do have one open seat on todayís plane, but it will cost you $75." Her emphasis on will was preemptive, implying that protest would be futile and possibly a violation of Homeland Security.
"There is a $75 penalty for any change on the return leg of this ticket," she said impatiently.
"But this is obviously an error. Itís not even my error. I mean, itís not like I just decided to come home a year early."
"Iím sorry, sir."
"Did you mean ĎBend over and prepare to receive this propeller, which for your safety and convenience has been dipped in hot tar?í"
I didnít say that. Even though her apology had the gravity of a gluon, like all Americans I have been trained to surrender my credit card and lie prostrate whenever someone in the "service" sector apologizes. Itís a sorry state indeed that this corporate crockery passes for service, and even sadder that this is what Americans who havenít lost their jobs primarily do for a living.
You might think small-town Maine is sheltered from the service-industry scourge and the real world where nothing means what it really means, but folks around here who used to pluck chickens for a living now work for MBNA, selling credit cards over the telephone. You could argue quite convincingly that telephone "service" is a better job than chicken plucking, and not just from the chickensí point of view, but, still, something has been lost in the transition. I wonít go so far as to suggest thatís why I pluck my own chickens out here, but the fact is I do, and now I have two pigs, which has really put me in touch with my inner groveler, which in a roundabout way helps me adjust to our new service economy.
What I mean is, pigs are a lot like many Americans ó fat, pink-skinned, prone to sunburn, and relatively new to this continent, having arrived with the Spanish conquistadors. Like tele-marketers, they spend most of their time in small cubicles; in fact, grocery-store pork comes from antibiotic-laced animals that literally have never been outdoors. Primeval pigs, by contrast, were hardy creatures that roamed the forest, groveled in the dirt, and required no medication. They used their powerful snouts to find roots and bugs, and their well-developed brains to set traps for other animals. But generations of breeding for mass production have turned these noble animals of the woods into pasty-faced hypochondriacs.
My pigs are as pasty as any airline clerk, but at least they live outside where they grovel with glee, uprooting entire trees within their pen. It could be that people, who once lived in the forest and foraged for food, also retain some primeval need to grovel ó one that is met in todayís society by our legions of corporate "service" employees, who stand ready to dish out a pail of slop.
Did you mean Pork Chop?
Yes, but hold the houmous. I just got off the phone with Customer Service, and Iím full of it.
Max Alexander can be reached at email@example.com
Issue Date: September 12 - 18, 2003
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