With apologies to the situational stand-up comedy of Jerry Seinfeld, let me posit this question: Don’t you just hate it when some nitwit – and no, I am NOT restricting this fine point only to tourists in New York – slows his or her gait while walking directly in front of you and reaches for a mobile phone?
Then, inevitably, it gets even worse. That yutz stops right in the middle of the street and promptly starts texting someone, chortling the whole time and oblivious to the inconvenience? These people are a public menace and they must be stopped!
I know these types by heart — and so do you. They have absolutely no regard for your feelings. It’s not so much that they impishly want to screw you up, either. They completely fail to acknowledge that you are there at all. Hell yes, they’re as selfish as all get-out. They’re stupid. They’re foolish.
They need to learn a lesson. And we’re just the people to teach it to them.
Meanwhile, you’re walking quickly because you happen to be in a rush to get somewhere and yet you’re STILL mindfully observing the pedestrian’s rule of the road. You always keep your head up, and on a swivel. You step rapidly in the center of the street. You make it a point to pass on the left. You silently curse the miscreant texter. You may mutter something inflammatory and then sprint away.
But you don’t actually go so far as to jostle the pain in the neck. Never, never, never. You just don’t.
But I say: Why the heck not? Go for it. Just do it.
You see, I have a Modest Proposal (sorry, Mr. Jonathan Swift) to curb this kind of antisocial behavior down our mean streets: Go ahead and hit that putz.
Come on, New York. You know you want to.
Understanding, of course, that I am not proposing a form of white-collar wilding, in which hopped up Goldman Sachs employees let loose their pent up rage at the insult of settling for a shitty six-figure bonus instead of the usual millions of dollars.
I recognize that there have to be boundaries. As the ticket scalpers chant in front of Madison Square Garden before a New York Knicks game: Chegg it out.
In my perfect world, you would get one and only one opportunity to give an annoying texter on the street a quick smack in the small of the back. There would have to be a pre-determined area for this action, just to keep everything uniform and on the up and up. One quick jab delivered by either your wrist or elbow.
We are not barbarians. We are not vigilantes. I’m not daydreaming of playing the Charles Bronson role in Death Wish 13. The point is not to inflict an injury on the person. The idea is to send a message. Thou shall not text in an uncaring way.
Forgive my immodesty, but I am rather proud of my breakthrough.
I see myself as a hero, a statesman, even. I have in one masterstroke managed to solve a persistent problem that has plagued New Yorkers for years and will continue to do so unless we take action right now.
So, please join me in taking the first whack. The next time you see someone acting selfish and careless with a cell phone, remind him or her that there is a cop on the beat. Let’s give New York back to the pedestrians.