For many years – I honestly can’t recall how many – I have stated a personal goal of being a teacher. I did not hold back in any conversation using either the old preface “If I were to win the lottery, I would…” or “My actual career goal is to…” and the rejoinder was “…be a middle school or high school social studies teacher.” While I haven’t become exactly that, I am happy to be teaching Digital Marketing as an Adjunct at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
My joy has been further enhanced by being able to proudly and enviably live vicariously through my stepson Jacob who actually HAS become a high school social studies teacher (starting tomorrow!) at the People’s Prep charter school in Newark, NJ.
Teachers are one of the most valuable but underappreciated assets we have – and I don’t mean what I am doing – but what people like Jacob and others who give so much of their time and themselves to help others advance. I am sure 99% of us can name at least one teacher who inspired us to learn more, do more, work harder, or just be a better person. Mine were Frank Bent, Eileen Frankel, Jon Beauchamp, Mildred Lasky Beauchamp, Eleanor Birdsall, Mrs. Gunn, Robert Roman and Jim Nunno. I appreciate them and thank them.
Heading uptown on the 1 train, I boarded along with the man seated on the left in this photo, let’s call him Don. The man on the right was already sitting there, let’s call him Roger.
Don, dressed in an expensive suit with a fancy silk tie, pulls a section of the USA Today from his very nice brown leather briefcase. Roger, who unfortunately apparently has had years of dental issues and has but one tooth remaining, leans over and asks “So, what’s the good news?”
Don turns to Roger and says, “Trump. Trump is the good news! He is going to get rid of all the waste in the government. It’s about time someone runs it like a business.” Roger retorts “That’s interesting, I never heard a businessman’s perspective on Trump. That’s very interesting.” They continued briefly on about Trump for about a minute. I figured it would end there. Au contraire!
Don now leans over to Roger and asks, “So who do you think is going to win this thing?”, obviously referring to the upcoming NCAA tournament and showing Roger the brackets. Don said he was going with Villanova because he was from the Philadelphia area. Roger thought Gonzaga would do well. Then that conversation ended.
Not half a minute later, Roger turns to Don and wishes him a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and asks him if he has any plans to be drinking some green beer. Don said he doesn’t drink and has no plans. Roger suggested lemonade. Green lemonade. Don said he might try that and they discussed how neither had anything green to wear.
Roger then shared a movie recommendation with Don, pulling me into the conversation. “Have you ever seen ‘Leprechaun in the Hood‘? Ice-T is in it and it’s hilarious and scary at the same time. You can catch it on Netflix.” I asked what it was rated but he wasn’t sure. Roger insisted again, “You gotta see it!” as I made note of it on my phone. Don seemed less interested although I watched him silently mouth the words of the movie title with a clear question mark following them. We were approaching my stop on 79th Street, when Roger informed both of us, “If you see this movie, you will never f**k with a leprechaun ever again!” Duly noted. Thanks Roger.
So this guy is sitting next to me on the train… he starts doing his email on his iPhone so every time he sends one it goes “Swoosh!”. I’m thinking “OK, a couple of emails and he’s done.” Nope. Now it’s time for solitaire. Dink. Dink. Doink. Dink. “Hey dude, you can put that Jack on the Queen…and either turn your effing volume off or put in some earphones!” No, I didn’t verbalize it.
Why is it that people think it’s fine to engage in their own form of entertainment and share the sound with the rest of us? For decades, the Surgeon General told people smoking could kill them. It wasn’t until the scientists showed that second-hand smoke could kill the other guy that smoking bans popped up all over the country! [Which of course pushed those smokers out to the street where sidewalk pedestrians like me get to partake in their smoke…but we saved the other bar patrons from it!]
I’m going to start a movement. Going to find some scientists who will prove his stupid game sounds will cause me cancer or deafness or a mental breakdown. That’ll do it!
By the way, I think while I was tapping this out, he glanced over here, saw the title, and turned off his sound. What’s the word for visual eavesdropping?
I realized that I knew several people with today, September 16th, as their birthday [Maria, Donna, Breyon, and Emily… at least]. That led me to wonder what the most common birthday was – well it turns out there are several answers. I have checked a number of studies and there seems to be three common answers: September 16th, September 30th and October 5th. That of course leads to the question of what is the average human gestation period? Answer: 280 days. Now, doing the math backwards from those three dates you get December 11th, December 25th, and December 31st. I guess two of those are no surprise.
By the way, besides February 29th, the least common birthday is December 25th.
I was walking along West 81st Street yesterday and saw this wonderful specimen of a Checker Cab parked on the street. It appeared to be a working cab, but the last one checked out in 1999 [See New York Times article here]. I do recall riding in one or two when I was young.
It made me think about Latka Gravas working on them in the garage while Alex, Elaine and Tony schmoozed. I loved that show. The best scene, bar none, was when Jim had to get his drivers license – “What do you do at a yellow light?”
I enjoy peace and quiet. Remember when the biggest noise annoyances we had were airplanes overhead and people talking during the movie? Now we are bombarded everywhere we go with people’s phone conversations, phone notification tones, game app “music”, and the tinny sound of loud music leaking from earphones of people who can’t afford good ones.
What is it that makes people think this is okay? What happened to thinking about others? Something has changed, caused by this omnipresent digital tether we now all have in front of our face more often than not. Ironic, I know, that my recent living has been highly impacted by the existence of these devices. And many of you who know me know I am as addicted to the device as the rest of them. But can’t we just keep it a little more quiet please? Where’s the crying baby when you need one?
My family and I have been spending a lot of time on the New Jersey Transit trains this last year. Not complaining. Most of us enjoy taking the train. My go to train song is City of New Orleans as sung by Arlo Guthrie, although Willie Nelson did a good job with it also. So then I wondered if there are more train songs than car songs? Tried Googling it. Couldn’t find the answer.
Here is a list of train songs, in case you were wondering.