A call came in to my desk Tuesday afternoon. The caller identified himself and said he’d recently stumbled across an old blog post of mine about “how to know you’ve lived here a long time.” I allowed as how I vaguely remembered it.
“Here is my question: Are you a person who is SERIOUSLY interested in local history?” the man said.
Something about his intensity put me off, I guess. We had a halting back-and-forth about whether he’s ever read my work (he repeated that he had merely stumbled across my blog post and immediately picked up the phone to call), how he had once set linotype for the Progress Bulletin, how he didn’t like to waste his time.
“Are you a person who is SERIOUSLY interested in local history?” he repeated briskly. “It’s a yes or no question.”
Oh brother. He had a self-serious “do I have an age-old conspiracy for you!” air about him, perhaps a complaint worrying him for decades like a pebble in his shoe, and the odds that whatever he was selling I would buy were growing poorer by the second.
I told him I do from time to time write about local history, and to my mind, yes, I’m serious. Evidently this answer wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic.
“You just missed out on a great story,” the man informed me with a mixture of pity, disappointment and triumph.
I sighed and said, “Whatever, man,” then hung up on him before he could hang up on me.
If it turns out he knew where all the bodies are buried, and it’s not Bellevue Cemetery, I guess I blew it.