I was a cable guy. I saw the worst of America.

Maybe that “irate” was an “irate fn ch72 out.” Fox News. Those we dreaded. It was worse when the comment was followed by “repeat call.” Repeat meant someone had been there before. If it was someone I could call and ask, he’d tell me: “Be careful. Asshole kept calling me ‘boy.’ Rather he just up and call me a [that word]. Yeah, of course I told them. Forwarding you the emails right now. Hang on, I have to merge. Anyway, it’s his TV. Dumbass put a plasma above his fireplace. Charge the piece of shit ’cause I warned him. Have fun.”

I’d walk in prepared for anything. There was sobbing, man or woman, didn’t matter. There were the verbal assaults. There were physical threats. To say they were just threats undermines what it feels like to be in someone else’s home, not knowing the territory, where that hallway leads, what’s behind that door, if they have a gun, if they’ll back you into a wall and scream at you. If they’ll stop there. If they’ll call in a complaint no matter what you do. Sure, we were allowed to leave if we felt threatened. We just weren’t always sure we could. In any case, even if we canceled, someone else would always be sent to the same house later. “Irate. Repeat call.” And we’d lose the points we needed to make our numbers.