"Operator, well could you help me place this call? See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded. She's living in L. A. with my best old ex-friend Ray, a guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated.This backstory from a website about Jim Croce and his work:
[Refrain] Isn't that the way they say it goes? But let’s forget all that. And give me the number if you can find it, so I can call just to tell them I’m fine, and to show I've overcome the blow, I've learned to take it well. I only wish my words could just convince myself that it just wasn't real - but that's not the way it feels.
Operator, oh, could you help me place this call? ’Cause I can’t read the number that you just gave me. There’s something in my eyes, you know it happens every time I think about the love that I thought would save me. [Refrain]
Operator, well, let's forget about this call. There's no one there I really wanted to talk to. Thank you for your time - Oh, you've been so much more than kind - You can keep the dime." [Refrain]
"I got the idea for writing "Operator" by standing outside of the PX waiting to use one of the outdoor phones. There wasn't a phone booth; it was just stuck up on the side of the building and there were about 200 guys in each line waiting to make a phone call back home to see if their "Dear John" letter was true, and with their raincoat over their heads covering the telephone and everything, and it really seemed that so many people were going through the same experience, going through the same kind of change, and to see this happen especially on something like the telephone and talking to a long-distance operator-this kinda registered."(reposted from 2013)