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Thursday, August 17, 2006

One Is the Loneliest Number

John Cougar Mellencamp sang about the feeling in 1985 in “Lonely Ol’ Night.” The following year, KISS asked about it in “Who Wants To Be Lonely.”

Music reflects life; we all get lonely sometimes. I’ll admit to loneliness at times in the early and mid 80s. Back then, we didn’t even think it was strange that E.T. felt lonesome and tried to phone home.

So we can appreciate how a Japanese man called directory assistance just to listen to the female operator. Odd, but understandable.

It went beyond odd to creepy—and criminal—when he started doing it all the time.

As he told police in Hiroshima, “When I made a complaint call once, the operator dealt with it very kindly, so I wanted to hear these women’s voices.”
And he meant it—for five months earlier this year, he did little but call directory assistance, listen to the pretty voice, and hang up.

Not five times, not a hundred. No, not even close.

He did it 37,760 times. Sometimes more than 900 times in a day.

I’ve got to tip my hat to this guy; all of my moments of loneliness combined never drove me to make more than 30,000 prank calls.

And yet I doubt this manic phoning actually provided him with any close personal connections. How could he feel better about himself hearing “Hello, city and listing please!” thousands of times? After all, he hung up without even responding to the phone greetings.

Maybe he should have wallowed in his solitude a while longer.

As Martha Davis of The Motels sang in 1982, “Only the lonely can play.”

45 Comments:

At August 17, 2006 7:51 AM, Blogger Death Warmed Over replied to my musings ...

"Telephone line, give me some time, I’m living in twilight
Telephone line, give me some time, I’m living in twilight"
-ELO

I'm more shocked that he could reach a live operator in his own country than anything else.

 
At August 17, 2006 8:03 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

Now he will be "Alone Again" (Dokken, 1984).

 
At August 17, 2006 8:47 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

Awww...you I feel bad for this Owner of a Lonely Heart. I guess he didn't realize that's much better than an owner of a broken heart.

(This story is almost as sad as the lady Bruce wrote about weeks ago who called 911 to find out the name of the cute cop that had stopped by her house to tell her to stop making a racket.)

 
At August 17, 2006 8:55 AM, Anonymous fred charles replied to my musings ...

That guy must have a lot of time on his hands. You would think that they would have cracked down on him after the 12000 call.

They should put this guys phone stamina to good use and make him a telemarketer.

 
At August 17, 2006 9:01 AM, Blogger OnMyWatch replied to my musings ...

Hummala bebhuhla zeebuhla boobuhla hummala bebhuhla zeebuhla bop...he ain't got nobody, and nobody cares for him - - not even the directory assistance operator.

900 calls a day?! that's about 897 more times than I would've called a radio station for free David Lee Roth tickets.

 
At August 17, 2006 9:28 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

I don't know what good that does him. If he can get off listening to that over an over again, he has other problems (not that he obviously doesn't have problems already)

 
At August 17, 2006 11:15 AM, Blogger Ben replied to my musings ...

I just worked it out. 900 calls per day equates to calling every minute. Jeez did that guy get a chance to eat, drink or s8it ?

What a dimwit

 
At August 17, 2006 11:36 AM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

Christ...I feel lonely almost daily, but I've never been that desparate.

 
At August 17, 2006 11:39 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

I simply can't IMAGINE how that guy could possibly be alone ;-)

 
At August 17, 2006 12:00 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

It's a rather bizarre movie, but I love the way the 1973 film Electra Glide in Blue covered the issue of loneliness.

It starred Robert Blake in the lead, it was directed by former Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, and Beach Boys producer James William Guercio (and incidentally it featured cameos from most members of Chicago, one of which even had a speaking part).

The basic gist is that a motorcycle cop looking to get promoted to detective (Blake) is called in on a routine suicide... But something about the suicide doesn't quite add up and the cop suspects foul play and sees it as his opportunity to prove he's worthy of being promoted to detective.

 
At August 17, 2006 12:02 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

Now that's lonely!!

 
At August 17, 2006 1:06 PM, Blogger CT replied to my musings ...

the real question is was this guy tuging his tube steak everytime? You know what I mean Punching the clown, Flauging the dolphin, charming the snake, yank the wank.. Was this freak getting more than just a pretty voice or was he getting a total fantasy? If he was I bet his wanker was raw... lol

 
At August 17, 2006 1:19 PM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

I would suggest they invest in caller ID. They could've had the cops at his house after 17 calls and saved themselves 37,743 hassles.

 
At August 17, 2006 2:19 PM, Blogger Will replied to my musings ...

Seriously, why spend money on a therapist. I'm calling the operator all the time.

 
At August 17, 2006 2:41 PM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

Uhh yeah i'd say that's a little out there, get him some help!

 
At August 17, 2006 3:57 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Working in a radio station in Atlanta in the early 90's as a DJ; there was this one woman who would call over and over and over.

She would say she was depressed and wanted to kill herself.

We were not allowed to not answer the phone. The manager would call the request line to test us (or I guess to make sure we weren't playing the Gospel version of "Inna Gadda da Vida" and smoking a joint.)

It was a Gospel station, and I would tell her to just call one of the preachers. No such luck--(at least maybe they could have gotten a donation out of her...)

We eventually had to block her from calling us.

It was my own personal "Play Misty for Me"-moment. It was extremely creepy. I get chills thinking about it to this day 13 years later.

When you work in Gospel radio, you don't WANT to meet your groupies. (Trust me on this one...)

 
At August 17, 2006 4:30 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

DWO, Mark, Curare, OMW: I was hoping to spark some other songs thoughts from the early to mid 80s. We almost have a CD collection with these additions.

F.C.: I had the same thought. 900+ calls in one day? Don't the fingers get tired after about 800??

Mike: I'm guessing they've only scratched the surface of this guy's issues.

Ben: "Dimwit" works. We would have also accepted "dorkwad" and "dumbass."

Bruce, Lisa, Angel: Let's hope we never get to that point.

Perplexio: Never even heard of it. Curare: Can you get that on NetFlix?

CT: If he WAS doing that, and doing it up to 900 times a day, I am officially impressed with his recovery abilities.

Cube: I would imagine that directory assistance does have caller ID, but Japan is different in so many ways it wouldn't surprise me if not.

Will: We're behind you 100 percent. Don't forget about us little people when you make the news for this and get your fifteen minutes of fame.

Phats: He didn't call you, too, did he?

ZW: Great story. Sad, but great. I wonder if she ever found peace ... of if she just starting stalking hip-hop DJs instead.

-- david

 
At August 17, 2006 4:38 PM, Blogger Jenna Howard replied to my musings ...

So...this is a bad thing?

*Quietly settles phone back in the cradle*

 
At August 17, 2006 6:27 PM, Blogger Scarlett replied to my musings ...

I wonder why he didn't just call a sex hotline if this was really for sexual gratification. Or gone to a chat room and met some lonely woman to talk to. Obviously the thrill had something to do with the repetitivenessm, or maybe the thought of possibly getting in trouble
was alluring to him. Or maybe he should have just broke down and joined Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band?

 
At August 17, 2006 7:19 PM, Blogger fatty ~ replied to my musings ...

that really is quite sad, and only a tad pathetic and creepy.

one is definitely lonely.

 
At August 17, 2006 7:54 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

OCD for a little assistance can be a bad thing maybe he should stick to handwashing.

 
At August 17, 2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Alex replied to my musings ...

Contrary to what the rest of you are saying, I find this more hilarious than anything else!

Okay, it's still sad, pathetic, and creepy too.

 
At August 17, 2006 8:42 PM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

You are right, lonliness strikes all of us at one time or another. The internet has really opened my eyes as to how many people really are lonely (look at all the online dating groups).

That story is really sad and strange. I just cannot imagine. Seems it would create even more frustration.

 
At August 17, 2006 9:35 PM, Blogger Michelle replied to my musings ...

Like Roy sang....Only the Lonely!

 
At August 17, 2006 9:44 PM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

I hope he had unlimited use of directory assistance with his phone plan. Or that would have been one big bill!

 
At August 17, 2006 9:53 PM, Blogger ~ good girl ~ replied to my musings ...

Jen, your comment cracked me up! Hahahaha!! That's it, put the phone down now...you can do it, come on..

How does one make 900 calls a day?? Someone shld tell this guy to blog. 900 comments a day will keep him occupied, I'm pretty sure. I can only imagine his list of bookmarks.

It's sad. How do people get that lonely, you know? And then they do all things that make it even lonelier.

GG

 
At August 17, 2006 10:29 PM, Blogger Laurie replied to my musings ...

Good thing he wasn't calling 1-900-HOT-BABE at $2.99 a minute, eh?

 
At August 17, 2006 10:32 PM, Blogger ChickyBabe replied to my musings ...

Loneliness or obsessive behaviour? Sad, nonetheless.

 
At August 17, 2006 11:12 PM, Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. replied to my musings ...

I'm feeling some Jim Croce right about now... "Operator, oh won't you help me place this call..."

 
At August 17, 2006 11:58 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Calling Long Distance, how appropriate that the Kinks sang that song?

If it's city info, it's probably free, much like 311 info centers in cities across the US, Austin included.

 
At August 18, 2006 1:19 AM, Blogger Paige Burns replied to my musings ...

Half the time I call assistance I panic that I forgot what I was calling about, so I probably hang up a lot too, though, not 900 times a day.

 
At August 18, 2006 3:10 AM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

Amazing that they were able to track down how many calls he did make. I wonder if he'll be able to break the habit.

 
At August 18, 2006 7:05 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Jenna: Perhaps Canadian operators are almost as fun to talk to as Japanese ones.

Scarlett: I guess he preferred to get by with a little help from his friends.

Fatty, Alex, Lee Ann, ChickyBabe. Thankfully for me, there's nothing in pathetic, sad, and creepy that utomatically rules out funny.

Fuzz: This guy would have the cleanest hands in the universe.

Michelle, Ray, Mike: There we have it--enough songs for the first Now That's What I Call Blogging CD!

Mimi, Laurie: I think we can assume the calls were free, or esle the story would have focused on his massive phone bill. And somehow that fact that they were free makes it even more pathetic.

GG: That self-defeating cycle remind me of Fat Bastard's famous line: "I eat because I'm unhappy ... and I'm unhappy because I eat."

Paige: I'm sorry, I started this comment but I forget what I was going to say. So I'll just ...

80s Nut: Perhaps he can break the habit by visiting our sites. But we wouldn't know it if he did; he doesn't seem the type to leave comments.

-- david

 
At August 18, 2006 7:51 AM, Blogger DaBich replied to my musings ...

One is the loneliest number that you ever knew, two can be as sad as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one...
Was he really alone? That's the 64,000 question!

 
At August 18, 2006 8:11 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

DA: we can get ANYTHING on Netflix. :-) Antidote and I watched a Russian vampire movie last night. :-) Tell me when.

 
At August 18, 2006 3:05 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

David & curare_z: If you guys do indeed end up checking out Electra Glide In Blue let me know what you think of it. I especially love the song that plays at the end of the film which is a rather slow fade to black (it takes several minutes to eventually black out completely). It's one of Robert Blake's best performances.

 
At August 19, 2006 12:39 AM, Blogger Miss Hobby replied to my musings ...

Maybe the 800babe hotlines took too long to get his motor running. All he needed was a good, "hello, my name is Lynn, how can I help you?" and BAM! he was off...over and over and over..

After reading a few of these comments (mind included) maybe we need to toss a little Devo in the mix.

 
At August 19, 2006 2:02 AM, Blogger Fated replied to my musings ...

I'm not sure how to feel about that. When we call directory assistance here you have to talk to a machine before you can even get a person!

On the other hand that is very sad. It reminds me of calling wrong numbers. I have in the past dialed a number wrong and been stuck on the phone with a lonely elderly person. I feel very sad that these people can be so lonely that they are happy to speak to a perfect stranger.

At least the operators always have to be polite and pleasant.

 
At August 19, 2006 9:37 AM, Anonymous fred charles replied to my musings ...

I was listening to a local radio station and they were talking about fetishes. The host said that he had just read an interesting story that involved a japanese guys and a really strange fetish. Guess who he was talking about, lol. They had a whole section of the show dedicated to this guy.

 
At August 19, 2006 10:49 PM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

So he made some phone calls. At least now he'll have great memories.

And I hear the operators issued the following statement to him:

"If you should ever be lonely, think of the times, think of the moments we
shared."

 
At August 20, 2006 9:43 AM, Blogger Cinderella replied to my musings ...

Awwwww how sweet!!! LOL..I outta try that!!

 
At August 20, 2006 10:16 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

DabIch: Maybe he'll find a close personal friend in jail.

Curare, Perplexio: The Blake move is on the list, but it will take a while. After all, there a Russian vampire movie that just shot to the top of the list.

Miss Hobby; Good suggestion. And we can add one from Curare's recent posts, "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls.

Fated: Same here with the machine. Looks like they should switch to that in Japan ... but then they'll get all the robot fetishists clogging up the phone lines.

Fred Charles: It's a small world. Perhaps the DJs had visited here and seen my post. More likely, we just stumbled on the same story.

Janet: I had no idea you were so well connected to the Japanese telephone operators' media relations office. You are a woman of many surprises.

Cin-city: Just don't try it more than 37,000 times, or they will charge you with disrupting telephone operations.

-- david

 
At August 20, 2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

Hi David,
I have been guilty of this type of behavior on a much much smaller scale. Going to my favorite bartender, or my favorite cashier at the grocery store for just a small does of human interaction. But this guy is over the top and very sad.

"All the lonely people, where do they all come from."

 
At August 20, 2006 7:47 PM, Blogger Enemy of the Republic replied to my musings ...

It's strange how you can be with people and feel lonelier than ever. Why is that?

 
At August 21, 2006 7:46 PM, Blogger Beth replied to my musings ...

This blog lurker is so sad ... but at least I'm not lonely.

 

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