Today, I acted like an asshole of Republican proportions. Thing is, I’m nice, despite what you might think — actually, you probably don’t think anything about me, because only I am obsessed with me. But let’s pretend for a second that I am a more interesting topic of conversation than, say, current events or smoothies. For the record, I am quite kind when not adopting one of the annoying dramatis personae — Arch-Conservative Housewife; Hot Tan Person; Documentarian — that I channel for purposes of hilarious social satire. (That said, I am presently adopting the persona of Ernest Penitent Wry Self-Reflective in a transparent attempt to endear you to me via my captivating honesty). Regardless, the most assholish I ever get is on this very page, where I am protected because you can only see half my face (actually, that’s not really me, I’m much tanner), and I have this column and you don’t, so what are you going to do about it, dork? Write a letter to the editor? That just makes you look like a crank. Fuck you!
See, that there was just an asshole move, the kind I don’t usually make because I am a sweet person. An empathetic person who cries when she sees fictional lonely people on TV, who loves her grandpa, puppies, kitties and George McGovern. So you would think that being a wuss, I would be the target demographic for New York’s answer to the telemarketer: those fuckers who accost you on the street. Whether it’s some imaginary salon ("Who does your hair?" I cut my own hair, dick, that’s why I look so hot all the time!), Greenpeace, or, most often, some dubious organization for "the children," the well-meaning putzes who make $5 an hour filling street-sale quotas usually cream in their pants when confronted with someone like me. Yes, I enjoy the environment and I don’t entirely hate little children, as long as they’re not on an airplane with me. But speaking of me, one thing I don’t like, one thing that turns me into an asshole, is being accosted on the street unless you are trying to tell me a dirty bomb has just been detonated.
You would think the headphones and pensive scowl would put these guys off, but it turns out that, like cockroaches who build up immunities to Raid, sidewalk predators have simply become more aggressive as a result of the inherent hostility of New York’s pedestrians. You might play devil’s advocate here, like certain people’s boyfriends who think they know everything, and point out that organizations like "Feed the Helpless Children Intercontinental Children’s Crisis" are grassroots and can’t afford to advertise on the television like Coca-Cola, and, unlike Coca-Cola, they are striving to make the world a better place instead of getting us all addicted to sugar. However, I argue that every dollar you give some doofus in a parka merely encourages the ruthless theft of New Yorkers’ most precious resource of all: our solitude. We sleep crammed into tiny apartments and waste our days stuffed into cubicles eavesdropping on our vacuous coworkers. All I have are those ten minutes walking to the subway, and the street-teams’ assault on my time is making the world a worse place, one "Do you like the children?" at a time.
So what I did today was yell at one of these guys, "Don’t even think about it," like an asshole. And then I walked down the subway steps. It was a nasty thing to do — I’m sure he was a perfectly good guy, ostensibly concerned for the children — but when you think about it, I was really just taking back my time and yours, making the world a better place, one jerk move at a time. Man, I could use a Coke.