Bruce Hornsby… I didn’t set out to despise you

Dear Bruce Hornsby and the Range,

I’m writing to you, collectively, to apologize for the vitriol I have channeled in your direction for the past twenty years. If the theory is true that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the World can cause a wind storm on the other side, then the outpouring of venom issuing forth from me has surely caused in you several internal organs to fail or at the very least the inopportune malfunctioning of a bass guitar.

Sorry, Joe Puerta. I made this happen I’m sure.

I didn’t set out to despise you. It’s quite possible I even enjoyed your music before I was irrevocably poisoned against you for all eternity. I blame my Mother. I blame canned radio but mostly I blame Heatsaver Windows.

I was sixteen years old living in British Columbia, Canada. I was in grade ten, doing passably well.

On the inside, I suffered from intense insecurity, vivid imagination, a predilection for romanticism and a softness that rivaled Winnie the Pooh. On the outside I presented like a lazy bastard who cried a lot and listened to Pink Floyd. It was then that it was decided, for me, that the work force would rectify these wily teenage ways and set me straight.

I wonder where her hair is now…

My brother’s girlfriend had a job working in an office of sorts and so it was that I should also work in that same office. If it was good enough for her then it had to be good enough for me. Thank God she wasn’t a hooker or a phlebotomist!

The job was… telemarketing. Not just any ordinary telemarketing job that one might, if blessed with the gift of gab, possibly succeed at; promoting a new dentist in the area, soliciting donations for the Children’s Hospital or acquiring subscriptions for a fancy new cable package.

Nope. It was selling windows over the phone. Fancy fucking heatsaver windows. I was sixteen years old for Christ’s sake – how the hell was I, with my squeaky five-year old sounding child’s voice, going to convince anyone to buy windows over the phone?

I was too inexperienced in the World of housery to even understand what the hell a heatsaver window was!

Oh Herr’s, you were my only beacon

I would drag myself to work on the bus after school, armed with ketchup potato chips and orange pop, and sit at a desk confronted with a behemoth of a phone book and a phone (probably rotary.)

The older girls would already be there, perched on their desks, gossiping and tossing their hair band hair. They would look at me with pity and relief that they had marched through that awkward time and emerged what?

Not pregnant, still in love with Van Halen, still able to rock a feather roach clip attached to their favourite black leather handbag? Who knows? I tuned them out as being frightening projections of what life had in store for me.

And then there was the radio. The canned radio that played the same rotation of songs hour after tedious punch me in the face hour and thus enters Bruce Hornsby and The Range.

I’m sorry I prayed for your demise a lot of times

As I dialed numbers and frantically whispered my prepared opening to whoever answered the phone, Hornsby taunted me with, “That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change.”

“Hello, are you prepared for winter? Is your heating bill through the roof…”
“Fuck off!”
That’s just the way it is, some things will never change.
“So can I have an appraiser come by and give you a free estimate?”
“You can come by and…”
That’s just the way it is, some things will never change.
“Hello, is your Mummy or Daddy there?”
“I have a froggy what jumps really high.”

And so, out of desperation and humiliation, began my random conversations with a small child who spoke to me endearingly of the antics of his frog. Whether the frog really existed, I didn’t care. I would listen with rapt attention, giggling and asking questions and if someone passed by my desk, I would speak authoritatively about the benefits of double-glazing.

After three months, I was let go. I hadn’t sold a single window. Big surprise. I was relieved but tainted somehow.

It doesn’t matter where I am, the bank, my car, the grocery store but if that goddamned song comes on, I have to get away from it as fast as I can as I instantly feel nauseous and volatile.

Sometimes it’s great to suck at something

I have a similar reaction to Enya but that involves waiting tables in a traditional silk kimono.

I hope you understand, Mr. Hornsby and the Ranges. I don’t mean to despise you with a blackness so deep it threatens to swallow Echo Park.

Some things will never change. That’s just the way it is. Get a job.

With all my heart,

Furnie

P.S. Furnie’s stories are absolutely true and if you know Mr. Hornsby or the Ranges, please let them know what she said.

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