Saturday, February 22, 2003

by Wayne Robins

So I'm in the car and radio dial is set to 820 AM, WNYC here in New York, a public radio outlet. My wife, or a pretentious car thief must have been listening to it, though I don't. I'm entranced, however, in a totally repulsive way, by a voice on the radio telling a story. Sounds like Marlene Dietrich, talking about cigarettes and crying (actually saying, "boo-hoo-hoo") and hoping the phone rings as to sound so pathetic. I'm thinking, okay, maybe it's one of Sylvia Plath's unpublished diaries...but no. It's the voice of someone named David Sedaris, telling a story on Ira Glass' "This American Life," which originates from Chicago. I know it's Sedaris because after this insult to the ears, the hosts come on the air asking for money, because it's Pledge Week. I get home and call the pledge number. A nice young girl picks up the phone and says, "How much would you like to pledge?"
I said, "Nothing. I called to pledge Zero dollars. I would rather give my $50 to the tobacco lobby, or some PR firm for big oil than support a station that broadcasts talentless drivel like this."
The nice young girl says, well, would you like the complaint number?
No, I don't want the complaint number. I just wanted one pledge taker to receive my pledge for zero dollars, and to know why. And of course, to have a nice day.

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