: Febuary 2002:Requiem for a heavy breather
used to be a hell of a good country, a place where you
could leave your door unlocked at night, where you could
stroll down Main Street and everyone knew your name, and
where lonely pervs with their cocks in one hand and a
telephone in the other could scare the shit out of unsuspecting
But just as video killed
the radio star, technology has rendered the obscene phone
call an emblem of a bygone era during which sexual predators
could roam the fiber-optic prairie free from the fear
of Star 69.
Like streaking and flashing,
the obscene phone call has become a lost art, conjuring
daydreams of a simpler time's golden perversions. Before
the emergence of gizmos such as answering machines, digital
voicemail, and Caller ID, a mildly imaginative deviant
was able to satisfy himself merely by dropping a thin
dime into the big slot. But our precious Global Village
has shrunk to the size of a cramped studio apartment,
and privacy has gone the way of the wood-burning stove
and the home-baked loaf of bread.
Granted, technology makes
us safer, but it also enslaves us. We now have safety
because there's no place left to hide. Sure, some menopausal
librarian with her hair in curlers and a Noxzema-smeared
face will never again be forced to pick up the phone and
endure some faceless meatball describing the veins on
his dingy, but at what price to our cherished freedoms?
obscene phone call has become a lost art, conjuring
daydreams of a simpler time's golden perversions."
THE OBSCENE PHONE
CALLER plumbs the
shallow end of the deep, dark ocean that is Sex Offenderdom.
Too timid to go buck-wild and forcibly seize what he wants,
he cowers behind the receiver and commits Rape Lite.
He is more an annoyance than a threat, more a jerk than
a menace. Too uncomely to attract a mate, too timid to
rape someone, he is a small soul who takes small risks.
He is alone. This is implicit. He has been unable to secure
himself a suitable mate. We all understand this.
And so does he. He knows
this all too well. So he goes for what he knows. He drools
and snorts, pumps and chortles, tugging, twisting and
pinching his greasy, inflamed Love Antler, huffing and
puffing his way to a blown wad and a dial tone's despondent
The obscene phone caller
is typically a loser in the Sweepstakes of Love. He can
garner no female attention other than through being feared
and rejected. The schmo has no other way to wield power
over the women who intimidate him. His victim is everything
he wants, everything he'll never get, everything he'd
never be able to procure if he were to step into the harsh
spotlight and reveal his monumental homeliness and insurmountable
inadequacies. So he pleasures himself by causing displeasure
in someone who has denied him pleasure. Pity the poor
victim. Perhaps she was fixing herself a cozy mug of hot
cocoa, the kind with the friendly miniature marshmallows
floating carefree on the top. Then came the phone call,
and with it an unwanted sexual encounter that will tatter
her frilly emotional fabric for life. Although there was
no sexual contact, it was sex nonetheless, a disembodied
bodily function. And though he leaves no physical evidence,
he squirts an invisible cum shot onto her brain. He and
his unwanted penis enter her consciousness, leaving an
indelible gravy stain on the once-virginal apron of her
mind. His grimy boots mercilessly trample upon her sexuality's
delicate flower garden. Even in her own home, after all
the showers and scrubbing, she'll never feel clean again.
One hopes she'll be able to get over it, but given her
typically feminine emotional brittleness, such hope is
doomed from the get-go.
"HANK" (NOT HIS
REAL NAME) is a
former obscene caller who
was convicted of misdemeanor harassment stemming from
a nasty habit of cold-calling women and talking dirty
to them. (A minister's wife whom Hank had repeatedly
badgered finally nailed him using Star 69.) As part
of a plea agreement, Hank served six months in county
jail and is now midway through a three-year probation.
Hank spoke on condition of anonymity through an arrangement
with his Seattle-based probation officer. Predictably,
Hank insisted that he contact me via phone rather than
Though Hank is nearing
50, he has never been married. He displays a near-palpable
bitterness about his romantic failures. He lives in
a basement room in (surprise!) his mother's house. Beyond
that, he is reticent to reveal much about his personal
Hank admits that in his
heyday, he was making up to a dozen obscene calls daily,
yet he's evasive regarding the calls' juicier details.
When I ask whether he thinks any of his victims enjoyed
his overtures, he's silent, as if their capability for
pleasure never occurred to him.
Hank swears that he'll
never lapse into his old ways, not because he feels
what he did was wrong, but because the risk is too high.
"You just can't get away with it anymore. They've got
it rigged so it's impossible to be--what's the word?--anonymous
Hank downplays the idea
that his actions caused anyone harm. "Really, what did
it cost THEM?" he asks, some emotion finally seeping
through his voice. "Maybe they got a little upset for
ten minutes after I called. But I spent six months in
JAIL! I went through a lot more than THEY did! Where's
Life grows hard for the
anonymous pervert. Where can the cowardly phone predator
go these days? The Internet comprises a thick new pipeline
for covert sexual harassment, but as yet, a keyboard
and monitor lack the obscene phone call's luscious immediacy.
And yet there remains hope that the dedicated sociopaths
among us will manage to keep pace with technology. If
there's a match for the vast scope of human technological
ingenuity, it is surely the bottomless depths of human
sexual perversity. When the going gets tough for perverts,
there is no choice for the perverts but to get tough.
And so they soldier on, searching for a techno-loophole
through which to slip their
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