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You won't hear him now: Verizon guy out of ads

Actor Paul Marcarelli says he has been told that Verizon is taking its ads in a new direction.

First, the tech world had to learn to live without "Get a Mac" actor Justin Long.

Now it appears that another young, handsome mainstay of tech advertising, Paul Marcarelli, will no longer be soothing you on-screen. You might know Marcarelli better as the chap in the glasses who, at the end of the Verizon ads, is desperate to know if you can hear him.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Marcarelli said that Verizon had told him last September that the ads would be going in a different direction.

Astoundingly, it has been 10 years since Marcarelli first began his trek around the country, desperately trying to find those very spots where customers most derided AT&T--while being terribly concerned if you could hear him now.

His last appearance seems to have come in the heartless and cutting ad that Verizon used to launch its fresh love affair with the iPhone.

Indeed, it could be that the last words Marcarelli might have uttered in defense of Verizon's network were: "Yes, I can hear you now."

What more fitting climax can there have been to one man's quest for perfection?

Marcarelli told The Atlantic that the terms of his contract--and his desire to protect it--had forced him to keep a very low profile in his personal and professional life. Only now has he been able to promote his first significant post-Verizon Guy project, a movie called "The Green."

The story is about a gay couple living in a small town who have to face gradual ostracism after one of them becomes embroiled in scandal.

In its prime, his contract with Verizon required up to 200 of his days a year. One of the sadder stories Marcarelli told The Atlantic was of going to a wedding, dressing to be as anonymous as possible, and still being inundated by more people wanting pictures with him than with the happy couple.

But the saddest must be of his grandmother's funeral. As her coffin was being lowered into her grave, someone had the witty wherewithal to whisper--yes, you got there, didn't you?--"Can you hear me now?"

His fame has led him to be the object of drive-by taunts and epithets at his home. But he has made his money and, even though he will still reportedly make some appearances for Verizon, he can now enter a perhaps more artistically satisfying phase of his life.

People somehow connected with him. Now he can attempt to connect with them in a more normal environment. He has, however, had to give up his favorite Buddy Holly glasses. They're just too much trouble.