i love living in the city

Back in the day, I loved living in the city.

I drew this back then in the 80’s while hammering out payment arrangements on the phone for the poor, the rich, the politically connected to keep Philadelphia Electric (PECO, now Exelon) from getting fined by the PA Utility Commission for shutting off power without giving folks every last chance to pay their bills.

There were customers that put cable over electricity, lottery tickets over lights, and even those that insisted on running pool heaters in Villanova during the fall who would then cry poor. I was fresh from the western suburbs, attending the Art Institute of Philadelphia and getting a daily earful of lies, sad stories, and endless rage against me and PECO. It was an early lesson in the realities of Reaganomics, people under pressure and the ability for folks to make up the deepest drama to keep their lights on.

When I first worked there, I used to tell people and friends that I was a member of the team that changed the lightbulbs at the top of the PECO building. Back in the early 1980s, the building would be lit at the top to spell out messages for a week or so. It was done from the inside of the building by literally disconnecting light bulbs to spell out words. I let people believe that we unscrewed the lightbulbs on window washer scaffolds.

By the late 1980s they had it computerized and now they can change the messages easily and often.

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