• U.S.

Americana: Zany Zach

2 minute read

Move over, Zeke Zzzypt of Chicago and Vladimir Zzzyd of Miami. Few have proved more zealous in trying to be the last personal name in a local telephone book than Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra, who has brought up the rear of San Francisco’s directory for eight of the past 15 years. Several years ago, when he was just plain Zachary Zzzra, Zzzzzzzzzra discovered to his sorrow that he had been zapped from last place by Zelda Zzzwramp, and so he added another z to his name. Last year, as Zzzzra. he was infuriated when he lost put to Vladimir Zzzzzzabakov. This year, tie outztripped all rivals by becoming Zzzzzzzzzra and once again won the last word.

Zzzzzzzzzra is actually Bill Holland, a 59-year-old painting contractor who uses his telephone name as an advertising gimmick, telling potential customers to look him up in the back of the book in stead of handing out business cards. The listing yields jobs, but it also brings a few zingers: Holland has received crank calls in the middle of the night from as far away as Australia. And his phone bill often totals over $400. “People making illegal calls from phone booths look up the last name in the book and charge them to me,” he explains. “I don’t pay a damn one of them.” Zounds!

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