Joybubbles passed away recently. I knew him as Highrise Joe.
A guy in my high school English class clued me into the "Zzzzyzzerrific Funline." In the days before the Internet and weblogs, Highrise Joe kept us up to date on his latest silliness with an answering machine in his Churchill Building apartment in downtown Minneapolis. The name of the Zzzzyzzerrific Funline was designed to be the last entry in the phone book. When you called it each week, Joe congratulated you on finding the "super secret" phone book entry and then went off on a stream of consciousness until he got tired or the answering machine tape ran out. You could also call him on his personal line, which ended with four zeroes. He would relate the phone number after the prefix as "uh oh, uh oh."
One funline story was about a hurricane near his childhood home in Florida. Neighbors sought refuge at Joe's family's house. So the story went on about the delight that the young Joe had in greeting the "six wet neighbors." As he related the "Night of the Six Wet Neighbors," you could tell that the middle-aged Joe was every bit as amused and delighted by the story as young Joe was.
When the most of the copper content in pennies was replace by zinc, Joe (blind from birth) asked funline listeners why the coins smelled strange to him. Many stories about him mention his heightened senses and perfect pitch.
The funline was a combination of new age philosophy ("Crying is not a breakdown, it's a breakthrough") and old-fashioned silliness. As a high school sophomore, I think I was on the high end of the age demographic. One final memory is a little squeaking toy frog Joe had. "Squeakerific" had the job of taking on the things kids ordinarily would worry about. If you had a test or a doctor visit, you didn't have to be scared because the frog would be scared for you. That's good advice for kids from seven to 70.
May he rest in peace.