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Messages voice memorable facts

September 06, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Reactions to the voice mail greeting at Jay Frantz work's number vary, but the callers generally hang up knowing something new.

Messages left by Frantz, 63, of Mercersburg, Pa., range from historical lessons marking the anniversary of the death of Geronimo to ones informing callers about an event happening that day that they probably didn't even know existed, Frantz said.

Among the favorite daily themes he has mentioned are Satisfied Staying Single Day, celebrated three days before Valentine's Day, Squirrel Appreciation Day and Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day.

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About five years ago, Frantz decided he was tired of leaving a standard voice mail message stating his name and when he would return, he said.

Instead, Frantz left a message on March 15 saying it was the Ides of March and he hoped the caller was having a better day than Julius Caesar, who was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C.

Using the Internet, he found notable things to mention about each day of that first week, he said.

For a while he used reference materials at the library to help him develop a different message each work day.

Now he uses a reference book he purchases each year that provides information about events and anniversaries on each day of the year. Once a week he goes through the book and picks out his messages.

"I pick the ones I think are interesting, he said. "I just go through and whatever appeals to me, I'll use that one."

Frantz, vice president of Wright-Gardner Insurance in Hagerstown, leaves the message on his voice mail at work at 1-800-733-1236 or 301-733-1234.

The message on his machine Sunday gave a short history of Labor Day.

Reactions to his messages vary from "Thanks for the history lesson" to "God, I finally got to the end of it," Frantz said.

He tries to limit the length of his messages to 30 seconds, but some, such as one last week about the first victim of Jack the Ripper, are longer, he said. While people sometimes give him a hard time about it, he hears from some who call regularly just to hear the message, he said.

There are some messages he will use every year, such as noting the day Buddy Holly died, but others he only mentions once, he said.

At times, people call seeking his daily voice mail message rather than to speak directly with Frantz, he said.

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