Tom Mabe deals with his hang ups – November 2000
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Tom Mabe deals with his hang ups  Print

By Robert Loy, November 2000

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"And quit signing up for everything. People see where they can win a free Ford Explorer or whatever. One Ford Explorer for the whole country. What they're doing is building a database and they sell these names and demographic info to list brokers. They actually make more money selling your name than they do from whatever they get directly out of you. They can sell your name and number a thousand times. Say you bought furniture; they'll sell your name to people who want to sell extended warranties and stuff. And the people you buy your caller ID from they sell your name too. It's like giving your lunch money to the school bully so he won't beat you up."

They can also join Mabe's grass roots organization P.E.S.T.

"That's People's Efforts to Stop Telemarketers," explains Mabe. "I know we're not going to stop them, but what I hope to do is put a dent in 'em. One of the things we're doing is in January we're sponsoring National Hang-Up Week."

"I'm going to go on tons of radio shows to get out the message 'hey, this week when they call, just hang up on them.' Because they make hundreds of thousands of dollars a day, and this would really send a strong message to the telemarketing industry."

All of which puts Mabe in an interesting position. As he's gotten more well-known, he's about to get so big that telemarketers will know and fear the name Mabe and not call him anymore?

"The next record's going to be under another name. I went to the State Fair recently and signed up for a bunch of stuff under a different name."

But even if he does topple the telemarketing Mafia, there are plenty of things that arouse the Mabe ire.

"We're working on a television pilot. It's called Mabe in the USA. And it's just me going around getting some revenge. It's comic with a cause. 14 pilots were arrested about a month ago. 8 out 10 pilots in the US have admitted to being under the influence within 8 hours before they fly. So, I went to the airport dressed like a pilot and got drunk at the airport bar. Another time I went to a car lot. You know how pushy they are, test drive it, take it home, show your wife. They want you to get emotionally attached to the car. So I went to a place with the hidden camera in my glasses. I take the car out, bring it back two hours later. I've got a pizza delivery sign on top of the car, and I'm dressed up like a pizza delivery boy. And I go 'I'm still not convinced. I want to drive it some more. How about Thursday night from 6 to 10.' And they just went off."

Tom Mabe is living proof of Mark Twain's words: Power, money, supplication, persecution -- these can lift at a colossal humbug -- push it a little -- weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

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