Hotline! (3) © 1987 James Zachary
Every now and again, a caller to the water and wastewater department will ask about issues of national concern.
Southeast Plant, this is Zack.
"I am taking a survey for my organization. Do you have time to answer a few questions?"
Ma'am, this is a sewage plant…
"You are a taxpayer and a voter aren't you?"
Yes Ma'am, but …
"This will only take a few moments. Do you think prophylactics should be on television?"
"Prophylactics… condoms… they are…"
I KNOW what they are lady.
"Should they be on your TV?"
What good would they do on my TV? It never leaves the house…
"DO YOU FAVOR ADVERTISING THEM ON TV!?"
I could care less.
"WELL, YOU BETTER CARE! THERE IS AN AIDS EPIDEMIC GOING ON AND THE PUBLIC IS BASICALLY IGNORANT!"
You seem to be a living testament to that…
"Would advertising them on TV offend you?"
After 14 years in sewage, nothing much does offends me.
"Now, as a viewer of TV, what names would you find the least offensive?"
"I mean what descriptive name? Condoms …? Prophylactics…?"
Call them rubbers. I don't much care.
"That's a bit crude don't you think?"
Here at work, we call them whitefish or bottlebass …
"What do mean 'at work'…? You wear them at work?"
No ma'am. Remember that this is a sewage plant and that anything considered disposable usually winds up being flushed down the commode. Everyday we get a few thousand of them buggers floating in the clarifiers and filters. You seem like you are preparing to lobby for having them advertised on TV, so maybe you can give me a break and tell people to quit flushing them.
"What harm does flushing them do?"
Ma'am, they plug the sewer pipes and everything else. I remember one of the many times that I had to pull a plugged pump. You can never see what is in that mass of goo stuck in the pump impeller, so you just have to reach in and grab hold of it all. Well, some bozo had flushed one of those 'exciter' types…
"What type is that?"
… the kind with antlers. I mean to tell ya, it scared the hell outta me when I latched onto that thing! It was wiggling like it was alive! For a moment, I thought I had an octopus by the ears…
"Uhhh… you mean… there is more than one type?"
Oh yes Ma'am! Should be interesting to see all of the marketing approaches they will use on TV. Should also be REAL educational for the "ignorant public" that you are so worried about. We used to keep a bulletin board filled with all of the different sizes, models and colors…
"You are kidding of course…"
Oh, no Ma'am! We fished out all of the novelty items and tacked them up for display. My favorite was one that had the American Flag on it.
"The Flag? Just where did they put The Flag?"
Hmmmmm. She must have dropped the phone while saluting…