Three years ago, I gave a guest-lecture entitled “Conspiracy Theories, American-Style” in an British-university American Studies class. Fifty-plus students sat in a lecture hall furiously taking notes on a variety of conspiracies surrounding topics such as Marilyn Monroe’s death, the assassination of JFK, Denver International Airport and The Illuminati, DTV transmission, and the Frozen Envelope.    Trust me, these are just a few of the conspiracies that occupy the mind and social media lives of more Americans than you probably imagine. Don’t believe me? Google “conspiracy theories in America” and read on . . . and on . . . and on. 

I closed my presentation with the wry comment that, although I have never been a conspiracy theorist, I had to admit that more than once as I was doing research for the lecture, a fleeting thought passed through my mind. Were my hours and hours of online and university library research bringing me to the attention of some government agency monitoring such activity? The students chuckled at the irony.

Similar thoughts — minus conspiracy theories — crossed my mind more than a few times the past few weeks as I’ve done research for a novel I am working on. Oh, I highly doubt that anyone is even remotely interested in my activities, but I wished more than once that, just in case someone out there somewhere was, I could somehow put the following disclaimer on my activities:

   I am only researching ‘phone actresses’ and ‘phone sex operations’ in order to write a novel.

I’m sure that would get someone’s attention!

But it’s the truth. As much as I’d love to work from home in comfortable work-out clothes and no make-up, readily-available (healthy) snacks at my side, I am not considering a career talking dirty over the phone with complete strangers.

The entire idea makes me laugh hysterically.

I don’t have the requisite sultry voice, my hearing aids often make telephone conversations an iffy proposition, and I can’t bring myself to use “those” anatomical terms — not even with my doctor.

There is no doubt that if I counted on income as a phone actress, I would starve and my beloved bank would be auctioning off my home on the steps of the county courthouse.

It’s a good thing, then, that what I’ve learned about the phone sex industry will only be put to use in a manuscript.