Caller ID and Hangin’ Tough (oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)

So I’m deep into research on my next book project, which means a ton of random calls to a ton of ex-teammates, ex-coaches, ex-friends, ex-enemies, etc. For my first three books, random calls went relatively well. They’re always uncomfortable (I’m actually sort of shy on the phone, which makes my profession an odd fit), because you have, oh, eight seconds to convince someone you’re not a telemarketer. But in the old days, if I cold-called 10 people for a book project, seven or eight would work out.

No longer. Because 90 percent of Americans seem to have caller ID, 90% of Americans know ahead of time that JEFF PEARLMAN is calling on the other line. And since none of these people (with rare exception) know who JEFF PEARLMAN is, they don’t pick up. Which has me doing one of two things:

A. Leaving as vague a message as possible, asking for a callback for a “project” I’m working on (Details are never a good idea via message)

B. Hanging up and calling again later—only to get voice mail yet again.

It’s insanely frustrating. Tonight I probably called 20-30 people without getting a single interview. I’m really starting to lose my mind …

On another note, let’s take a moment and appreciate what the New Kids on the Block have accomplished—one of the greatest musical comebacks in modern history. An early-’90s boy band with minimal talent (I’m being polite here) regroups, records a decent single (Summertime) … and cracks the Top 40. As a 36-year-old guy with fading hair and an aching lower back, I’m psyched to see my fellow geezers bilking the young folk out of their dough. So Joey, Jordan, Marky Mark’s less-talented brother, Bob, Justin—go get ’em!

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