We have news for the beautiful people. There's a lot more of us than there are of you. — Lewis, Revenge of the Nerds
One time in the bookstore at Miami University (Oxford, OH) I was told by a clerk that they couldn't do something. I asked, "Could you do it for ______" and named the president of the university, or the president of the United States (whatever). The clerk answered that, yes, indeed, they could do it for President Whatever. "Then you can do it," I said; "but you won't do it for me because I'm no one special."
The clerk was taken aback and repeated they couldn't do whatever it was, and I politely took my leave and left. I was no one special and lacked the clout to get the bookstore to accommodate my minor need and middling-strong desire.
Moving into old age and toward retirement, I found that some of my younger colleagues didn't return my calls, or took far longer to get back to me than they did when, say, they were up for tenure and I was active on the Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Part of the reason for the few or delayed callbacks was generational, cultural, and subcultural. The data-deluge/sensory overload I'd grown up with as a War Baby had only gotten worse, and we in America had raised a couple or more generations for whom ignoring "inputs" was necessary for sanity. More important, "da younger guys" had not grown up as I had in a subculture where "not returning calls" was available as an insult, a calculated or casual reminder to the caller that s/he was "nobody special."
Arguably, as a professor of English and more so as a retired professor and current semi-pro in the film biz, I am so unspecial that my major function in the American economy is as a consumer. Hence, it makes sense for my society to see my time as generally unproductive and best spent with my tasks as a mere user of public services and purchaser of private services and products.
So it makes sense to demand that I spend my time working through phone menus trying to talk to a productive worker. It makes sense to expect me to put in a fair amount of effort on the privilege of paying middle-class-rate income taxes — or researching anything expensive I might want to buy.
Nor should I complain if KrogersCorp et al. decide that grocery stores are best set up as mazes of "points of sale." The idea is to make me devote more time to consumption, and, also to the point, spend more money on impulse buys. And if I can be made to do the work once done by, say, a travel agent or insurance agent? Then I should be grateful for being empowered and given greater choice (and not ask wise-ass questions such as whom I should bill for my labor).
I recall being asked as a kid and young adult, "Hey — you waitin' for a personal invitation?!" The question was rhetorical, but my answer now, as often as possible is, "Yes, actually, I am waiting for a personal invitation."
You want me to volunteer for some good work or send significant money to a cause or spend a fair amount of my money on your product? Well, I want a call from someone I know, or at least to talk to someone who'll try to pronounce my name correctly or call me "sir."
You want to do business with me in more serious ways? Then if I call you, return the goddamn call. Even if it's just to tell me, "Go to hell; we don't need your business; you're nobody special" — show me at least the respect of recognizing my (emphatically non-special) existence.
Don't try to call me with automated multiple-dialer phones; don't have me called by robots; and definitely don't put me on hold, send me to a menu, and then have a synthetic voice tell me, "Your call is important to us."
OK, I'm nobody special; my time isn't important; and I don't have a lot of money.
Still, dear salesfolk, volunteer seekers, politicians, and others out there — you-all ain't so special either, and neither is your cause nor candidacy nor product. My time isn't commercially valuable, but it is my time, and growing shorter; I don't have all that much money, but it is mine. So, yeah, I'm waiting for a personal invitation. And yeah, I want personal treatment.
I am a nobody; but I am a human-person nobody with something you want or from whom someday, just maybe, you may need a favor.