Be warned: eastvillageidiot.com will be down for most of the weekend. The only thing you’ll see in this space over the weekend is the Friday Funnies. Shed a tear, I know.
The blog is getting some plastic surgery. Once its scars have healed, it’ll be back up in the same space on Monday.
Like many early adopters of GMail, I have a relatively simple e-mail address. This has an unfortunate consequence: I get Someone Else’s Mail all the time. I presume they have the same first initial and last name that I do, because it’s generally addressed to a Connor, Craig, Cathy, or Caitlyn. So, let’s start this new feature. Here’s the most recent message to land in my mailbox, and my open reply:
Just checking in! How was your first day of work?
How’s ROsie? Are you taking her out for walks?
Have you heard from Matt? Is he okay?
We got an email from Erin. She sounds good.
We’ll email you on Saturday. Let you know when we will be home.
Make sure the cleaning crew that you hired cleans up everything! get rid of all the evidence of your parties!
Love, Mom and Dad
Hi Mom and Dad,
God Dammit! You go on some fancy vacation while you leave your poor daughter home alone with the burden of walking Rosie while she’s trying to focus on her first day of work? It’s a miracle you even remembered that today was your daughter’s first day of work. You can’t even remember her e-mail address! And you have the nerve to joke about parties. Do you think she has time for parties? She’s dealing with abandonment issues right now because she’s been left home alone for God knows how long, and she still hasn’t heard from her own parents!
I think it’s become abundantly clear that the entire city of New York hates Crocs. They cast them off as an ugly trend in footwear reserved for bandwagon-jumping local yokels from flyover states. They insist that they have no useful purpose – especially not in New York.
I, too, was among those who detested Crocs. I saw no need for brightly-colored decorative plastic footwear with holes.
Then, one day earlier this month, I got a pair of Crocs.
(Note that I did not buy a pair of Crocs. They were given to me as a gift from a sales rep at work. I was actually slightly offended by the gift. I was embarassed just to carry them home.)
One night later that week, just to entertain myself, I finally put them on. I was incredibly disappointed – disappointed in how comfortable they were. I didn’t want to take them off. It was like little plastic gnomes were massaging my feet with every step.
On vacation in New Hampshire, I wore my Crocs every single day. I basked in the comfort of their soft plastic soles. I let my feet feel the breeze through their ventilated holes. I even wore them to a bar. Nobody scoffed at them. Nobody pointed out my unsightly footwear. Nobody said a word about my Crocs. You see, everyone in New Hampshire understands that while Crocs are not particularly attractive, they are functional.
Seriously, New Yorkers. What the hell is your deal? Why you gotta hate on Crocs? I would think that New Yorkers would be ones to understand that things can be ugly, yet functional. Hell, this entire city is “ugly, yet functional.” Just look at our subway system: ugly, yet functional. Look at the Queensboro Bridge: ugly, yet functional. Look at the Meatpacking District: ugly, yet… actually, that’s a bad example. The Meatpacking District is completely dysfunctional.
You will never see me walking through Union Square in Crocs. I will not be the scorn of swarms of you overly-fashion-forward New Yorkers. But I will pity you, because you just don’t know what you’re missing.
(This moment is not particularly embarrassing. But looking back, I made it out to be a much bigger deal than it probably was.)
My parents said I was mature beyond my years in elementary school. This was confirmed when I tried to stage a rebellion in fourth grade.
In our school cafeteria, my fellow pupils were rather rowdy. On most days, our “lunch monitor” would have to get on the cafeteria’s public address system to quiet us down. She would first start with a polite, hushed request. “Shhhhhhhhh,” she would echo into the microphone.
This would never work.
About thirty seconds later, this would be followed by a more aggressive request. “Quiet down,” she would state, sternly.
This, too, would never work.
Just seconds later, the cafeteria would go completely dark. She had turned the lights off. I and my fellow students would panic as we waited for her deafening shout into the microphone:
“PUT YOUR HEADS DOWN!”
This would usually work. The entire cafeteria would be in complete darkness and silence, and a mass of young children would have their heads in the arms on the cafeteria tables. Peace at last for the lunch monitor, who, for some inexplicable reason, thought that 100 school-aged children would not be loud when seated with each other over a meal.
This particular day, two of my classmates would not stop talking. They continued talking. And because our entire classroom sat at one lunch table, we were singled out.
“Room 10,” the monitor yelled at our table, “BE QUIET!”
We were quiet… except for those two kids, who were naturally the class clowns. Even after our entire class shushed them, they still whispered and giggled to each other.
Were there consequences? Oh, were there consequences! The lunch monitor told us that because of these two students, we would have to stand in line at recess the next day. Yes, because of two students, all twenty-five of us would be punished. Yes, despite our own fruitless efforts to silence our classmates using the same means as our cranky sixty-year-old lunch monitor, we would all be punished. I was pissed.
I stomped back up the stairs after lunch. I seemed to be taking this harder than anyone else. I would not be punished for someone else’s actions. I would not be guilty by association. Still twenty-two hours shy of serving my sentence, I was already plotting my appeal.
Recess came the next day, and as a class, we were paraded out into the schoolyard. Our class would stand in a line and face the school’s brick wall while all of our fellow students enjoyed a brisk and sunny spring day.
But I would not stand in that line.
I stepped aside. I stood out of line. Perhaps I was out of line. The lunch monitor certainly thought so.
“STAND IN LINE,” she barked.
“No,” I replied, sternly. To this day, this has been just about the only moment in my life that I have talked back to an authority figure. “I don’t believe in group punishment. I was quiet yesterday. It’s not fair.”
“Too bad,” she snapped back. “Stand in line or go to the principal’s office.”
I considered her options for a few seconds. And, for the first and last time in my entire grade school career, I went to the principal’s office. I was not even escorted. I stormed out of the schoolyard myself and walked directly into her office. She was sitting at her desk.
“Hi,” I said. “I’m here because I’m being punished for doing nothing wrong.”
I was convinced I was in the right. The principal said, more or less, that group punishment was, indeed, unfair. With her inaction, she convinced me that I was in the right. I was never punished for standing up for what I thought was wrong. I would have thought of it as my own Last Stand, but I would not learn about Custer’s Last Stand for another five years.
I sat in the principal’s office until recess was over. When I got back in the classroom, my students looked at me in awe. Just this one time, I was a badass. I was the guy who stood up and fought against the man. Or the woman, in this case.
Never again in my elementary school career was our class, or any other, punished as a group. That could just be a coincidence, but I’d like to think I had something to do with it. And maybe, just maybe, group punishment is still discouraged at my elementary school because of the brave actions of one principled fourth grader in the spring of 1991.
Things I have come to learn about Rhode Islanders:
- They are bad drivers (the worst in the nation!)
- They elect and re-elect corrupt politicians, then give them jobs as radio hosts when they get out of jail.
- They need instructions in order to operate an elevator:
In the elevator at the Kingston, RI railroad station
From today’s amNewYork:
tamp [tamp] – v. 1. to force in or down by repeated, rather light, strokes: He tamped the tobacco in his pipe. 2. (in blasting) to fill (a drilled hole) with earth or the like after the charge has been inserted.
No. I don’t think that works here.
Also, I don’t think most readers of amNewYork have ever even heard the word “tamp.”