Sunday, March 26, 2006

Disposable Hardware

While out with some friends last night I took a walk down some old hallways. One of them took me back to a brief time in Dallas when I sold closed-circuit satellite feeds of events like boxing matches to sports bars and topless bars. It didn't last very long. It's not that I didn't enjoy the job. But it didn't go over too well as a "Career Day" presentation to my daughter's third grade class.

This was back about the beginning of the age of pagers. There was a topless bar in the Metroplex that ran a daily "Businessman's Special" starting at 11:00. (Never go in before they open at 11:00. The only thing more depressing than having lunch at a topless bar is seeing one before they open; Empty, all the lights on... It's a sad, cavernous hole where the only things that seem alive are the stains and the stench borne of years of gathered frustrations.)

Which leads us back down that hallway, to the point of this post. A large, matronly lady ran the place. She used to greet everybody at the door during the first hour or so of each day. She'd collect all the guy's pagers from them. "Honey, you ain't gonna call them back from here, anyway...."

A little after noon she'd set all the pagers she collected to vibrate and strap them somewhere on her body. Then she'd get up on the stage, grab the microphone, look out at the assembled suits and say, "OK, I'm ready. Page me. Page me NOW!!!!!"


I have to believe that little scenario played itself out in joints like that all over the country; all over a lot of countries. I'm just wondering how much the topless industry had to do with shaping the attitude that pagers and cell phones were "disposable" hardware.


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