FOR THE LADIES

Much has been said about public restrooms and the social laws obeyed (“every other urinal, bro!”) and transgressed (“quit looking at my junk, homeboy!”) within them. I’ve never been comfortable in public restrooms. Never understood bringing a newspaper or magazine into a restroom stall, because I’ve never understood the decision to spend some quality alone time in a space zoned for ass explosions. When I was younger, I was so afraid of public restrooms that I avoided them completely, and on long road trips would spend hours straining against my body’s almost-involuntary functions until I returned home.

I’m much better about this now. I’ve been in cramped single-stall bar bathrooms, including one with a missing stall door. (I stretched out a leg and braced my foot against the outer bathroom door—which did not lock, of course—to McGyver myself some privacy.) I’ve been in highway rest stop bathrooms where an entire row of six or seven stalls was occupied around me, producing a symphony of deep grunts, timpani splashes, scrapes, booming flushes, and the light tinkling chimes of belt buckles. I’ve been plenty of places where I first had to prep my workspace by grabbing some toilet tissue and wiping down the previous occupant’s (occupants’?) or, worst case scenario, employing some elbow grease to scratch away someone else’s dry-brushed fecal ‘tracers’ from the rear of the seat, like some kind of crime scene cleaning professional. (What kind of animal lets his ass get so messy it leaves a trail on every surface?) I’ve used porta-johns without too much emotional scarring, and once or twice have peed in one of those degrading group urinal troughs. But today, I think God might have been testing me because I found myself in the narrowest row of bathroom stalls I’ve ever occupied. It was like a sarcophagus, where you could hear the guy in the next coffin moving his bowels.

I don’t think I understood how harrowing this experience would be until I was actually inside, and could see the shoes of the person occupying the stall next to mine. Not the bottoms of his shoes, which is typical and excusable, but the tops of his shoes and most of the pants bunched up around his ankles. The walls on either side of each stall started about 18 inches from the floor, creating the illusion that you’re sharing your stall with your neighbor. In fact, my neighbor had a wide stance (political humor!) and his left foot was practically inside my stall. I could have tied our shoes together, if I wanted to let him know we were bathroom-married.

Because of the great distance between the walls and the floor, and the tight distance between the walls and my ears, using the bathroom became a visceral experience. Kind of like defecating in IMAX. We were so close it was as if all my senses were heightened–I could literally hear my neighbor’s anus stretch and relax. Suddenly, I found myself with terrible performance anxiety. At first I thought I would wait out the other guy, but he remained in the stall for a very long time, eerily silent, and I decided if I also remained in eerily silent he would think I had just come there to unwind, and enjoy the hauntingly beautiful sound of another man shitting.

I made a bargain to fight through my fear by psyching myself up with bathroom confidence. You are an animal, I told myself. You are a filthy animal just like this animal sitting next to you. You’re here to do what animals do, without shame, and without restraint. OK, a little restraint. Finally, I mustered up enough courage to be an adult and do what, as an infant, I regularly used to do without question, provocation, or even concern for loved ones and public health. But first, I reached my hand under the wall and told my co-pilot, “Grab my hand, Goose. Let’s do this together.” And then we got inverted.

100 REASONS YOU CAN’T SLEEP

The latest “RADAR 100″ list has finally migrated from the print magazine to the website. As usual, co-authored by Mike Sacks, Ted Travelstead, Jason Roeder and myself–and this month with a strong assist from former Daily Show writer Scott Jacobson. Hope you like “Dreams Deferred: 100 Reasons You Can’t Sleep.” (And if you want to see earlier RADAR 100 lists, you can search their site or go here, where I’ve archived most of them.)

COME ON, GUYS – VOLUME 314

Although I’m on a somewhat restrictive diet these days (no more dulce de leche I.V. drip), my paper-thin willpower is no match for the new Häagen-Dazs flavor, “fleur de sel caramel.” There’s been a lot of fleur de sel hoopla these days, and I approve of all of it. Sweet and salty is a no-brainer, as far as I’m concerned. My friend, Allison, first disgusted me and then converted me when I saw her dump a package of M&Ms into a bucket of movie popcorn. When she did that I covered my head, afraid of angering my god. I became one of the Skull Island natives in King Kong when they first experienced the beautiful madness of White Man’s new-fangled transistor radio. Since eating that first buttered “M”, though, I was all in.

The Fleur De Sel Caramel ice cream does not disappoint, either. What does disappoint, however, is the Häagen-Dazs website promoting their new line of “reserve” flavors, designed for the more discriminating ice cream eaters shopping at their neighborhood Value-Mart. Besides describing the various flavors–Amazon Valley Chocolate, Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream–as if they’d been discovered on an archeological dig, the site embarrassingly lists “food and wine pairings” for each flavor. Here’s an example, from Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle:

“Serve a scoop atop a banana leaf for the perfect ending to a Thai dinner.”

And for wine? You probably guessed it already, but:

“A sweet German dessert wine such as Trocken Beren Auslese.”

Come on, guys. That’s just showing off, isn’t it? How many people are filling their shopping carts with pre-packed pints of mass-produced ice cream (manufactured by the Dreyers corporation, by the way–a company whose slogan is “Give ‘em the good stuff!”), and then wheeling over to the supermarket’s stockboy to find out where they keep their sweet dessert wines and banana leaves. It’s such a stretch, particularly when the HD suggests one pair their Pomegranate & Dark Chocolate ice cream bar with a “fresh mint garnish.” I guess I could just take a bite out of this ice cream bar on a stick, hold the bite of ice cream in my mouth as I delicately place a fresh mint leaf on the exposed pomegranate ice cream, and then spit my mouthful back on to the bar, making it whole again, but that strikes me as inconvenient. Also inconvenient: asking a 7-11 clerk if he has any fresh mint behind the register, next to the trucker speed, Skoal Bandits, and naked lady cigarette lighters.

As you read through the flavor descriptions, the food pairings get more and more ludicrous, mentioning gorgonzola cheese, or a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette reduction. It even suggests eating Fleur De Sel Caramel ice cream out of the just-spent oyster shell. COME ON, GUYS.

I think I know what happened here. The company’s advertising agency received the creative brief for these new reserve flavors which HD would like to position as being slightly more exclusive than their core brand flavors. There was probably some kind of mention in the brief that the brand’s “aspirational” qualities have been diluted by “clutter” in the category of artisanal-style ice cream, and by the fact that HG has become so ubiquitous that people no longer associate it with driving a Delorean or wearing polo boots and eating mustard with real, fancy mustard grains in it.

Enter: Häagen-Dazs Reserve. The suggested pairings are bullshit. We know it, and HD knows it. No one honestly expects people to eat store-bought ice cream out of a cashed Bluepoint oyster shell. It’s just meant to create a tantalizing fog of rich person fantasy that tastefully obscures the fact that this is a 2000-calorie tub of ice cream loaded with industrial salt and factory-cut caramel fudge nuggets, and that the average consumer (me) is probably going to pair it with some frostbitten chicken taquitos from Trader Joe’s, a Diet Coke, a DVR’d episode of Top Chef, and three tablespoons of existential misery. Either way, that’s good eatin’.

BLACK POSTCARDS

[Warning: This story may contain trace elements of brags.]

Reading Black Postcards, the rock and roll memoir written by former Galaxie 500 and Luna frontman, Dean Wareham. I’m only about halfway through the book, but so far it’s been personally interesting to read about his musical coming-of-age. Galaxie 500 released its first album, Today, right around the time I started seriously listening to music, and I was a big fan of theirs and many of the other bands typically mentioned in the same sentence. So it’s fun when Dean name-checks many of the prevailing figures of “college rock” during the late 80s and early 90s, including Gerard Cosloy (founder of Homestead Records, co-owner of Matador Records–at my first NYC rock show, I saw his band, Envelope, play on a bill with Lois Maffeo and Red Red Meat at CBGB’s), Kramer (founder of Shimmy-Disc records and member of the bands Bongwater and B.A.L.L., among others), The Happy Flowers, Beat Happening, The Sundays, and that other band from Boston, The Pixies.

And while it’s been nice to have my memory jogged and my nostalgia stroked a bit, the most striking thing about the memoir so far has been what a completely selfish, and remorseless creep Dean Wareham seems to be. He often speaks of having his feelings hurt–by a pretty girl he incorrectly presumed was interested in him, or by an unkind review–while mercilessly and needlessly excoriating anyone whose music he didn’t love, or anyone who held an opinion contrary to his self-interest. At times his naif-like prose style makes it difficult to tell if his victim act is meant to be self-mocking, or if his disinterest in other people’s feelings is a device meant to embody, rather than reflect on, his callous youth, but the more I read the more I think that would be giving him too much credit as a writer. Whenever I read a negative impression of a public figure I admire a ton–this person is difficult to work with, is kind of an asshole in person, fucks children, etc.–I try to look at it holistically and tell myself that these stories sometimes get circulated by people who have felt slighted in some way, or have an axe to grind. However, it makes it very hard to be open-minded when the negative impression is actually written by the public figure himself.

Dean Wareham was especially hard on his former bandmates from Galaxie 500, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang. He paints them as spoiled Manhattan elitists, while he’s just a simple kid from New Zealand who moved the rough-and-tumble Upper East Side (64th and Lexington–that’s practically Harlem!) and attended Dalton boarding school and Harvard University, two of our nation’s most humble educational institutions. Wareham has perfect recall of every time Damon and Naomi paid for their own hotel room with their own money–information that would be trivial if its constant mention weren’t so loaded with judgment–but views his decision to record a song alone for a Shimmy-Disc compilation barely worth mentioning, to the reader or to his bandmates. As I read more, I started thinking, “I wish I could apologize to Damon and Naomi.”

And you know how sometimes, when you think about someone you haven’t thought about for a long time, they just kind of magically appear like you were borrowing David Blain’s mind? Because, out of the blue, I received the following text message yesterday afternoon:

Want to meet Damon & Naomi? We’re heading to the Brooklyn flea mrkt in a bit.

It was from an unrecognized number, which gave the text an extra touch of spookiness, if text messages can actually be spooky. (No offense, the movie One Missed Call.) Eventually I figured out it was from my friend and old roommate, Ben, whom I haven’t spoken with in so long his number is no longer in my phone’s address book. Really, nothing about this text made sense. Ben couldn’t have known I was reading Black Postcards unless he, like me, was borrowing David Blaine’s mind. I was in Manhattan, so I couldn’t meet up, but I called him to point out this amazing(ly boring to everyone but me) coincidence. Ben works in the music industry and had also read the book so he was curious about my opinion of it. When I told him, he laughed, and made me repeat it on speaker phone so Damon and Naomi could hear me call their former bandmate an “unrepentant prick.” It was the next best thing to apologizing.*

*Ben was also amazed by how totally lacking in self-awareness Wareham seems to be in this memoir, but added that in Wareham’s assessment of Damon and Naomi he detected a bit of anti-Semitism. I don’t necessarily agree with this interpretation but I have to give Ben credit for refusing to settle on believing Dean Wareham is simply a jerk. He ended the conversation by saying, “wait until you get to the part where he’s cheating on his wife,” as if to say, “If you like being mad at the way he mistreats his band, you’ll LOVE the way he mistreats his spouse!”

WHAT HAS TWO THUMBS, A SWEATY FACE, AND IS GOING TO FULFILL HIS MUSICAL DESTINY ON JULY 4TH

This guy:

Forget everything I said about never attending a rock show again, even though I said all of that stuff exactly one day ago. Thanks to a very kind favor from my pal, Bob, I will be attending The Feelies reunion show in New York City on July 4th. They will be there supporting Sonic Youth, a band I am told are “no Hooters, but pretty OK regardless.”

It is not often your fourth favorite band reunites for a handful of shows that happen to take place in your city of residence, so I am (understandably, if disproportionately) excited. So excited, in fact, I nearly sabotaged a valuable first encounter with my potential wedding cake baker this morning. At 11:59 a.m., without so much as a “pardon me one moment while I behave like a crushed-out girl,” I compulsively whipped out my laptop in the middle of the meeting. This is because my brain—and an email, and an ical alert on both my computer and my iPod—reminded me that Feelies tickets would be available at noon. It was as if my tiny rabbit brain just started screaming “GETFEELIESTICKETSNOWORYOUWILLNEVERBEHAPPYAGAIN” and I forgot where I was for a moment.

Just like that, I was in my own ADD-constructed Fortress of Solitude, oblivious to the fact that I was sitting across the table from a very nice person who had been feeding me delicious cupcakes for the last hour, and seated next to a very mortified fiancee who might have been thinking, “How would I feel if I had a child who grew up to be exactly like Todd?” I was a dog with a bone. Had to have tickets. HAD TO HAVE THEM.

Thankfully, while I was frantically mashing the refresh button on my browser and failing to get reservations, Bob was at his computer, calmly succeeding. So I’ve got that going for me.

Allow me to catch my breath for a moment and explain. (Pretend I’m catching my breath now, instead of just continuing to type. Isn’t that a great literary device, though? “I shall be right back. Oh look, I’m back again! Thanks for joining me on this delightful journey of make-believe time lapse.”) I shuffled through my teens in unlaced Pony high-tops during the sad, pathetic and dark days before the Internet. This primitive existence placed some notable limitations on life, particularly the life of an adolescent. For instance, if one wanted to see pornography, there were only four options, and all of them were dodgy. You could: 1) Hope your father was enough of a pervert to keep a small, well-curated stash of adult magazines in the bottom drawer of his dresser, beneath a pile of cardigans and turtleneck dickies (thanks, dad); 2) Find a wet, rain-damaged issue of Oui underneath the bleachers at the little league field; 3) Visit your local convenient store and try to surreptitiously flip through the Vanessa Williams issue of Penthouse before the store manager hit you with his belt; or 3) Make your own. (thanks again, dad.)

Less significant, but certainly no less frustrating–without the benefits of the Internet, unless you grew up in a “cool” city (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Schenectady, Vespin) it was difficult to scratch that “outsider” itch you sometimes felt if you were the kind of teenager who didn’t care deeply about the outcome of the homecoming football game, argyle sweaters, or classic rock radio. As such, any exposure to interesting music was strictly a word-of-mouth experience, or something passed down from cooler siblings. I have an older sibling, but in the mid-’80s my sister listened to Rick Springfield and had a Quiet Riot poster hanging above her canopy bed so she was not much help. (She was also fond of pointing out that owning an album by the band Yaz made me a “faggot.” We get along much better these days, thank you.)

Fortunately, one of my high school friends had older brothers and his older brothers had friends with cars and those cars could be used to drive to proper record stores, where real music was made available for purchase. (The rest of us who were too young to drive had no choice but to shop at the mall, where we could glumly flip through glam-metal releases at the generically yet still short-sightedly named music chain store, Tape World.) Through the pioneering spirit of these wise old men, a couple of very important cassettes made their way into my hands. The first was The Velvet Underground & Nico, and the second was the Feelies’ Crazy Rhythms.

The Velvet Underground was my first experience hearing music that other people probably dismissed as loud, avant-garde weirdness, but somehow sounded exactly like rock and roll to me. It was different than hardcore punk, in that hardcore appealed to me only because it was different and not because it was good–which it usually wasn’t–while the Velvet Underground appealed to me aesthetically as well. It was like the extended guitar feedback on “Heroin” was telling me, “You’re right. You are better than those other cretins.” In hindsight, a pretentious thing to suggest to the listener but at the time, pretty necessary. Kind of like how reading The Fountainhead as a teenager in a slightly repressed, risk-aversive environment can be a great way to build your creative confidence. (Reading Ayn Rand as an adult, however, is really only beneficial if you’re interested in becoming a heartless capitalist monster, or the subject of one of those workplace reality shows that requires you to yell at aspiring Pilates instructors all day long, on camera. You’ve been warned.)

The Velvet Underground separated me from my peers while reassuring me I was not only being set apart, but above. Its influence was probably more formative than personal. But Crazy Rhythms, aside from being a masterpiece of skilled musicianship, was a precise sonic reproduction of my day-to-day brain activity. It was hyperactive and mumbled, with fast guitars and drums desperately buzzing, circling and reaching for something they seemed to lack the confidence to express. It was a busy interior monologue set to music.

Here’s an example of what I mean, from the song “Forces At Work.” Here are the song’s lyrics in their entirety, sung-spoken after a blister-poppingly long musical build-up played at the speed of hummingbirds:

The tinge of the mind
The mind is in check
The check is the force
The forces at work

I love all four albums by the Feelies, enough to invest in even their more obscure side projects, like Wake Ooloo, Speed The Plough, and Yung Wu, but my connection to Crazy Rhythms remains the most durable. I can even trace the lineage of its discovery, all the way back from my General Electric portable stereo. (It was passed from Andrew S. and Alan R., to Colin–the eldest of the Mathews brothers–then down to Devin, to Simon, and finally to me. Many years later, Simon, Devin and I would reunite our own connection to the band when Devin found himself in the enviable position of booking bands for his college and invited the Feelies to perform on (what we didn’t know then was) their final tour. The band’s appeal was limited at the State University of New York in Binghampton, so I like to tell myself the concert was a gift to us. (And not the abuse of power it probably was.)

Around the time of the concert, I was experiencing a serious heartbreak–the kind that makes you turn Goth. The girl was also a great fan of the band, and she was supposed to join me at the concert. We talked about it for months leading up to the show’s date, as if it was our plan to run away together. Then things slowly broke bad between us. So bad, that at
the last minute I rescinded the invitation. I did this mostly because she had become an ugly stranger to me, but also because I wanted to hurt her for the many nights I spent lying in my loft bed listening to Metallica’s “black” album very, very loud so everyone in the dorm–her most of all–would know my profound pain. Keeping her from attending the concert was the only power I had left in our relationship and, like a boy, I used it without mercy. If we had been ten years younger I would have pushed her face in the mud, but this seemed like the second best thing.

Simon, his friend Jeremy, and I drove together several hours to attend the concert and, together with Devin, danced spasmodically from the first note to the last, sharing sweat with the 100 or so other people in attendance. It was the most fun I’ve ever had at a show, and the only time I can say I’ve danced for an hour and a half without stopping to feel self-conscious.

I even exploited my position as (assistant) music director of my college radio station to meet members of The Feelies before the show, “for an interview and station ID.” Their drummer, Stanley, was the only member who had time to chat and, while I was obviously a rabid fan and counted Stan Demeski as the first famous person I had ever met who wasn’t a local newscaster, I nonetheless approached the interview with cool detachment, bordering on indifference. Because how could he respect me if I let him know how much I respected him? Right? As a result, much of the interview consisted of me saying, “so…you guys are some sort of rock’n’roll outfit? Is that right?” and Stanley rolling his eyes and checking his watch, itching to return to his sound check. I just hope he saw me dancing that night.

IT’S SUMMER, FOR REALS

[I don’t usually do this but I feel I must because I know Heather is an undeniable force, and because I know at least two or three readers of her website will email (as they’ve done in the past) to remind me of how grateful I should be that she linked to tremble.com, thereby granting me untold pageviews. I guess what I’m trying to say is, welcome, dooce.com readers. Please feel free to explore my more professional writing at toddlevin.com, or visit the tremble.com archives if you prefer to read hastily-written and rarely proofread pee pee jokes.]

Recently, on these very pages I mentioned that each year I consider my first sighting of a shirtless man on the subway the signal that summer has officially begun. With temperatures in New York creeping up into the quadruple-digits over the last several days I knew it was only a matter of time before I spotted my first robin barebreast, and last night I was richly rewarded. While waiting on the platform at the West 4th Station–right in the heart of Manhattan’s West Village, a busy bohemian hub for people visiting the city in search of white blues bands, marijuana pipes shaped like naked ladies, and Coldstone Creamery ice cream–a train pulled in and not one, but two shirtless guys stumbled out. As a special bonus, they were both bleeding in several places.

I can’t remember–when the first shirtless subway commuter you see is bleeding does that mean we’ll have six more weeks of summer, or six fewer weeks? Or does it just mean that someone’s going to catch hepatitis before they reach Penn Station? Either way, game on.

DESPERATELY SHOVING BILLS INTO MY COMPUTER’S DVD-ROM DRIVE

Busy waiting for Apple to tell me what to buy next.

CONSOLES I HAVE KNOWN – PART FIVE

Part five of my six-part series of essays about my life as a video gamer is now available for reading and judging at The Morning News. The essay is titled, “Tilt,” and is about the following subjects:

- the dot-com boom
- selfishness
- Sega Dreamcast
- online advertising
- greed
- universal remote controls
- regret
- teaching fish how to curse

Hope you like it.

METRO TRANSIT ALTERCATION

When you ride the subway every day, there are a few experiential milestones you inevitably pass, and never forget. The first time the doors close while your bag is stuck between them. The first time a crazy person holds your entire train car captive during a morning commute–for me it was the time a woman recited the book of Revelations in its entirety, in a loud, monotone voice: “And thine flesh shall be consumed by worms of fire.” The first time a shirtless guy enters the train and sits down, perfectly relaxed, as if riding the subway shirtless weren’t the most insane and filthy thing in the whole world. (This particular milestone is exclusive to outer-boroughs travel and often signals that summer has arrived; like seeing your first robin redbreast of the season.) The first time you play keep-away with an empty bottle of Snapple as it rolls around on the subway floor. And the first time you witness a fight.

I had to ride the subway almost thirteen years before I witnessed my first real-live in-train altercation, but it was worth it the wait. Because it was weird.

It was a crowded rush hour train so I’m not sure exactly how the fight started but here’s what I was able to piece together from the back-and-forth. As we were all entering the train, trying to squeeze in, there was some jostling and squeezing and, in one instance, a hard, aggressive shove. Most would agree that this slightly over-the-line rude behavior, so the person who was received the shove responded in kind, by suggesting the shover have rough sex with himself.

Normally, swearing would be sufficient to defuse the situation but not this time, because apparently the guy who was doing the shoving decided he did not appreciate being told to fuck himself. Maybe he was thinking, “You try to push a guy to ground to gain faster entry into a crowded subway car, and this is the thanks you get?” So after a few seconds of stewing, he made his way back through the car to give this toilet mouth a piece of his mind. And that was not even the weird part. Not by a long stretch.

See, the guy with the toilet mouth–the one who had merely defended his dignity by cursing–was a pretty beefy young gentleman. Leather jacket. Goatee. Not the kind of person you would instinctively bully. And the guy who had done all of the shoving and was now getting right up in this big young guy’s face to defend his natural right to knock strangers around according to his whims, looked almost exactly like Ed Harris…if Ed Harris had been stranded on a desert island without food for six weeks…and then a FedEx box washed up on the Island one day, containing some clothing from the LL Bean Holiday Catalog. He was very bald and tan, wearing a sweater vest and hush puppies and I would say he weighed about as much as a box of animal crackers. If I had to guess what he did for a living, I would say, “heir to the Reddenbacher fortune.” What I’m trying to say is, he cut a very physically unimposing figure.

However, someone must have forgotten to mention that glaringly obvious fact to the future popcorn magnate because he was laying on the intimidation act all thick-like. And he was doing it in a very strange, old-fashioned way, with finger pokes and threats such as, “Wanna tango? Well, pick a dance partner: (Raising his fists) Fred Astaire or Eleanor Powell?” At one point, in a somewhat needless attempt to defend himself, the young guy said, “hey man, I don’t want any trouble but you don’t go around shoving people. That’s fucking rude,” and suddenly Ed Harris with AIDs makes this big show of pretend-shock, addressing the entire train, and shouts, “Well, well, well. I guess you think New York is a real Gentleman’s Tea Party—we’re all soooo polite here—well, let me tell you something. This is a man’s town and you’re just a tourist so why don’t you take this train back to Hackensack if you can’t make hay of the hustle-and-bustle of Gotham City.” (For the record, up until this moment, I had never heard the expression, “gentleman’s tea party,” and can neither confirm nor deny its pre-existence.)

If a fight had broken out at this point, it surely would have been Marquess of Queensbury rules, but it was not to happen. Instead, the young guy became so spooked he jumped off the train at the very next stop, and in the aftermath of this craziness all that was left was a lot of nervous smiling and repressed titters. And that’s where all of this unpleasantness should have ended, but don’t worry–it didn’t.

Because as soon as the train doors closed again, this Junior Varsity Bernard Goetz decided to pick another fight–with the biggest and blackest guy on the train. I guess he reasoned, “Hmm…which passenger on this train is most capable of killing me with one punch? I think I shall provoke him.” So without hesitation he got right in this guy’s face, too.

“You want to tell me what’s so funny, or are you a coward? Say, how would you like to get your dance card punched by Savion Glover and Alfonso Ribeiro? Let’s bring in the noise as well as the funk, except with punches and kicks to the face and kidneys.”

The black guy remained pretty calm, and instead of escalating the situation he just stood up as if to say, “Are you sure about this, dude?” This gesture should have been enough to stop an international war, because when he stood it was like one of those cartoons where a guy gets out of a tiny car and he’s actually a giant. He was enormous. His shoulders were scraping the roof of the train. His arms were sticking out of the windows, and his shadow cast the entire car in darkness. This had absolutely no effect on our tightly-wound subway vigilante, and all I could think was, either this guy is the most confident part-time research librarian I’ve ever seen, or he has a shoe knife–some kind of element of surprise he’s packing away, to which none of us are privy.

Finally, just when I thought the black guy was going to punch Ed Harris Starring In Angels In America so hard it would cause him to explode into forty smaller guys running around, the train arrived at its next stop and our hero makes his exit but not before threatening, “You’re lucky this was my stop. YOU’RE ALL LUCKY.” Then, with a loud harrumph and a few more nasty shoves, he was gone.

Now the train was still packed, and the tension was palpable. And while I’m usually a very reserved person, I felt the words spilling out of my mouth faster than my conscience could stop them, and I found myself loudly announcing to the train, “Does anyone need to talk about what just happened here?”

SUMMERTIME IS HERE

LET’S HEAT IT UP, Y’ALL!!!

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