Thursday, November 28, 2013

In Your Face

The other day, on the subway, I inadvertently smushed my handbag into some girl's face. She voiced her displeasure thusly: "You get your BAG outta my FACE."

You may sympathize with this reaction, particularly if you're the type who doesn't like handbags in your face. I, on the other hand, got mad, because I'm the type who doesn't like getting shoved.

Many might have crumpled before this show of aggression. However, I, an unrepentant Tough and Gritty New Yorker, was not about to back off. So I looked her squarely in her eye and I said  - and I want to stress this is a real thing I said -

"You COULD say EXCUSE ME. You DON'T HAVE to be RUDE about it. "

That's right.  

You DON'T HAVE to be RUDE about it. 

 All the bloodlust in the world, or at least the Bronx, coursing through my veins - and all I could manage was to sound like somebody's uppity granny. She should have slapped me around. I considered slapping me around. The words still replay in my brain daily, in all their gooky self-righteousness. You DON'T HAVE to be RUDE about it, my brain squeals, on medical appoinments, at work, at dinner with friends. The shame is real.

What is to be done about this? Well, the ideal would be to go around with a mental repertoire of scathing retorts at the ready. But if you're anything like me, you can't remember scathing retorts.  So your best bet is to carry a handy list. Then you will have conversations like this:

PERSON ON TRAIN: You get your BAG outta my FACE.
YOU: (Stand there blankly for a moment, because you remember faintly, back in some dark recess of your mind, that this is your cue to do something. You just can't remember WHAT. So, stalling for time, you reply as follows.)
Oh YEAH? ... YEAH? Well...
(Suddenly it dawns on you, and you fumble around for your list.)
Hang on a second.  
(You dig madly through your bag, throwing things every which way: a lipstick, a wad of receipts, a coupon for Chock Full o' Nuts-brand coffee, etc. Finally you locate the list of witty retorts.
A-HA! Here we go! Well, uh...
(You stare at the list.)
Um. I'm sorry. Can you start over?
PERSON ON TRAIN (having forgotten the whole affair): Huh?
YOU: Um, well, I mean, we've kind of lost momentum. Can you say it again?
PERSON ON TRAIN:  Say what again?
YOU: "Get your bag outta my face."
PERSON ON TRAIN (deeply affronted): My bag isn't IN your face.
YOU: No, no, no. "GET YOUR bag OUTTA MY face."
PERSON ON TRAIN: (shoots you at close range)

Naturally any thinking court would rule this a justifiable homicide. So now technically I've forgotten what my original point was, if I had one. But I do want to close, on this Thanksgiving, by offering this heartfelt counsel to all my brethren, human and train-travelers alike: don't shove people, because shoving makes enemies. Then the shoved enemy will write a totally anonymous blog entry about you that you'll never see, and boy will YOU be sorry. So be a lover, not a shover. OK?

And if you disagree with me, fine. But you DON'T HAVE to be RUDE about it.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Animal, Vegetable or Mayoral?

Every so often, I decide it would be fun to put enormous amounts of stuff in a suitcase and lug it between Maine and New York at considerable expense. This is just one example of how human beings are criminally insane compared to animals. I cite as scientific evidence my cat, Danny, whose undertakings differ from mine as follows:

Me: Lug enormous amount of stuff from Maine to New York at considerable expense
Danny: Sit on couch. Occasionally lick self. Communicate with unseen Zen master.

Me: Go to meetings.
Danny: Sit on couch. Occasionally lick self. Communicate with unseen Zen master.

Me: Attend professional "networking" events.
Danny: Sit on couch. Occasionally lick self. Communicate with unseen Zen master. 

Me: Attempt to socialize with the opposite sex.
Danny: Get neutered at a young age.

I think the animal advantage is clear here, which is why it baffles me that we keep selecting humans for - to take just one example - high office, when we could instead have, say, Labrador retrievers. Sure, there would be enormous amounts of butt-sniffing, and periodic humping orgies, but in other ways the government would be very different from how it is right now. For example, Congress would frequently be adjourned for a rousing round of Fetch.

What I'm getting around to here is - obviously - the impending New York City mayoral race. Right now we have two candidates, Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota, both of whom are widely suspected to be humans. This would appear to be a classic case of speciesism. That's why I'm urging you, my fellow voters - New Yorkers and otherwise (hey, why not?) - to write in an animal as an alternative candidate for mayor. Of course you don't get to choose just any animal. No, it must be an indigenous animal current with the Concerns of the People of New York. That's why I've taken the liberty of narrowing it down to the following three:

1. A cockroach named "Roscoe," formerly of my building in the Bronx, at least until my roommate and I - I admit to this - actually caught him in a cup and set him free outside, because we lack the moral strength that would allow most thinking persons to stomp him to a stain. Who knows; perhaps as soon as Roscoe was released, he was squooshed by another enterprising foot. But more likely he is out there happily spreading disease to cute children. Assuming Roscoe lives, he is on my short list.
- ADVANTAGE #1: Stalwart citizen of the Bronx; of sufficient mass to carry his own personal Bronx ZIP code.
- ADVANTAGE #2: Carries slightly less bacteria than Anthony Weiner.

2. The rat I once saw scampering around in the tastefully arranged garden square outside of Bergdorf Goodman. On the other hand, given its real estate, this individual is probably a Republican. So forget it.

3. A small, yappy, vicious dog such as is found in the dog runs of Riverside Park, when it is not being casually consumed by German Shepherds as an hors-d'oeuvre. I'm suggesting these dogs because they never get a chance to shine. Granted, this is because they are basically little hateful walking wads of hair, fangs, poop and evil. But these qualities are of great advantage to a mayor.
- ADVANTAGE #1: These dogs are invariably owned either by Paris Hilton or elderly ladies named Edna, which means that - presuming the owner were appointed city energy czar, and evil could somehow be harnessed for "green" energy - we'd have enough energy to power all Brooklyn, or one Trump bathroom.

Okay. Let's get ready to cast our primary votes! Think carefully, now. Ready?


Good job! I've tabulated the votes, and here's how the city voted, borough-by-borough:

BRONX: Too pissed off at you, personally, to vote; ask again later; will still be too pissed off later.
BROOKLYN: Recused itself. Thinks it remembers hearing that all three animals were involved in a non-fair-trade coffee enterprise awhile back.
QUEENS: A nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.
STATEN ISLAND: Unnecessary.
MANHATTAN: 13% for the dog; 15% for the cockroach; 9% for the Bergdorf Goodman rat; 25% remind us it's all Bush's fault; and the remaining 38% say HEY! WHADDAYA LOOKIN' AT??!! YOU WANT ME T' TEAR YOU A NEW ONE?!! I'MA RIP YOUR FACE OFF'N USE IT AS A POTHOLDER! STANCLEARADA CLOSIN' DOORS! I SAID STANCLEARADA CLOSIN' DOORS, #@$!%&-HOLE!!! HAVE A NICE DAY. OH YEAH? YOU 'N WHAT ARMY? And meanwhile, the one remaining resident, loveable mensch Milton A. Frumpklein of Chelsea, says shyly that he knows of a really good place to get bagels.

Personally, I think - and I know you were wondering - that Roscoe, the cockroach, is the obvious future of the city. But you may disagree with me, and in that case, if you think I give a rat's ass, that would be very interesting. One way or another, I look forward to seeing how this city decides. Say what you will about our system of democracy; it always brings a tear to my eye. And just wait'll I get into what they do in France.