So I’m running through the streets of Manhattan Friday and I see a police officer doing what has to be the worst job in all of the NYPD.
No, it’s not helping with sanitation cleanup, it’s not working the most dangerous areas of Brooklyn or the Bronx, and it’s not standing at Penn Station answering questions from tourists.
No, what I saw was an officer sitting in a tiny 3×3 booth on the sidewalk, bored out of his mind.
Let me set the scene for you non-New Yorkers: All across Manhattan, there are these booths, see. And they say “NYPD” on them, and they’re literally only big enough to hold one person. From what I can tell, there’s no window that opens, there’s no ventilation, and there’s nothing to do in there.
No TV, no radio, nothing (I actually studied one for a few minutes the other day. Hope the officer in side didn’t think I was weird).
And you’re just sitting there, minute after minute, hour after hour, in this tiny booth, where anyone could (theoretically) attack you, and all you can do is sit there and not think about how incredibly claustrophobic you’re feeling.
You couldn’t pay me enough money to be a NYC cop, for other reasons. But to have to sit in one of those deathtrap booths? Man, just torture.
**As I’m sure you heard on Saturday, we lost a man who had the greatest “between the commas” obituary ever, Neil Armstrong.
What I mean by that is after every person dies, in their obit, the thing they’re most famous for is “between the commas” after their name, and before “died at ???.”
“Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin,” died at. ?” “Ty Cobb, baseball’s all-time leader in hits, died at … ??” You get the idea.
Anyway, when Armstrong died Saturday, every obit began with “Neil Armstrong, the first man to ever set foot on the moon …” and well, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Of all the Armstrong tributes, and there were many, my favorite memory of him will always be the above headline, that I wrote about in one of my very first blog posts a few years ago. It’s from his hometown paper, the Wapakoneta (Ohio) Daily News, from July 21, 1969.
Not “man steps on moon,” just “Neil steps foot on the moon.” Just some kid from the neighborhood who did something nice.
What an fascinating life he led, basically disappearing from the spotlight after one of the most monumental feats in human history. Proof that not everyone needs the spotlight that great achievement can bestow.
**Finally, I might be the only one in America disappointed that the GOP convention in Tampa has been shortened by a day, due to Hurricane Isaac. See, I’m a masochist; I enjoy listening to wildly out-of-touch, extreme wingnuts tell me why America is going to Hades because we elected some half-white, half-African-American guy four years ago, and unless we force women to all have babies even if they were raped, we’re going nowhere as a country.
Sigh. At least we’ll still have 3 days of Mitt and his zany army of white men telling us all how to live. I can’t wait.