Monday, April 13, 2015

Microstory 36: Questions or Comments

Late at night many years ago I was soaking in a bath when I noticed the label on the shampoo bottle. It had a phone number listed near the bottom for questions or comments. So I called the number. A young man named Sean answered the phone, evidently surprised to be getting a call. I got the impression that he had other things to do, and the phone usually just sat case. I proceeded to tell him this fabricated story about being raised by wolves, and never having used shampoo before. I was excited to find that he knew that I was referencing a bit from stand-up comedian who was noting the irony in shampoo directions. We carried on a conversation for hours, segueing across multiple topics. We eventually discovered that we both had this unusual passion for research. We hated school, but we liked exploring and learning new things. He sounded relieved to be getting a break from the monotony of his job. Then things took a turn for him. His supervisor, who had started listening in on the call at some point, jumped in and asked me if there was anything else I needed help with. It was clear that if I wanted to talk about anything other than shampoo, I would have to look elsewhere. We hung up. The next morning, Sean called me from his home phone and admitted that he had memorized my phone number from the customer service management screen before being fired. We kept talking, and ultimately decided to go into business together. And today, we run one of the largest Question and Answer boards on the internet.

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