Monday, September 6, 2010

People are Cowards

People are cowards, and you probably are a coward too, but not me. And don't be mad at me for name-calling you what you probably are, a coward. And if you're mad, it's just because The Truth Hurts, coward.

You see, today as I was walking with my girlfriend and my puppy at the boardwalk here in Long Branch. We walked from Seven President's Park on the north end of the city down to West End, hit the ATM machine at the Wachovia and walked back. Just as we were in front of the ballroom area at the Ocean Place Hotel, a Hispanic man, a term I'll use loosely to simply describe the gender, mistakenly dropped his plastic cup on the grass between the boardwalk where he was walking and path where I have to walk my dirty, filthy dog who is not permitted on the boardwalk because some people can't remember to clean up after their pets, or themselves.

So I paused for a moment to see if the man did indeed mistakenly drop his cup, but alas, he just kept on walking. That litter bug.

Now one thing you should know about me is that I speak quietly. I also don't say much, really, despite the length of some of my blog posts, comments or letters. But my 12th grade English teacher in Keansburg High School (and I just can't remember her name - Mrs. N...), where I was bullied and beat up a few times while trying to learn a thing or two, taught me how to use my loud voice, really getting the volume from deep down in the chest to be, well, Loud. And I don't mean yelling loud, I just mean having the ability to talk, LOUD. Another thing you should know about me is that I eventually grew tired of being bullied so I lost a hundred pounds, packed on some muscles and learned some self-defense and hand to hand combat techniques; I fear bullies no more.

So I LOUDLY say in the general direction of this Hispanic man "Sir, you dropped your cup.". And the man turns and mumbles something back at me. So I repeat, again, quite loudly, "Sir, you dropped your cup in the grass but there is a garbage can right there" as I pointed to the trash can no more than ten feet away.

At this point, there were fifty or more cowards who stopped to see why I was speaking so loudly or what the commotion was, and this Hispanic man then told me to "shut the fuck up, and keep walking". Hah, as if I was about to join him and the other cowards who can't just make an honest effort to Do The Right Thing.

Again, I resorted to the loud to the voice and the in the general direction of the cowards who were now standing around waiting for something interesting to happen, I say "Everyone watching, this man dropped his cup on the ground", as I pointed to it, "and is refusing to pick it up and put in the trash can right there" as I again pointed to the trash can 10 feet away.

Not one, not a single coward in the crowd had the courage to even boo the man, or ask him to Do The Right Thing, and the Hispanic man then repeated to me "just shut the fuck up and walk your dog - you see none of these people care. They all think your an asshole". And sure enough, as I expected, everyone of the cowards just walked away, not saying a word or even trying to Do The Right Thing, well, everyone except for three black girls who found it funny that "that man just told the white boy to shut the fuck up and keep walking (laughter) ".

But there is a happy ending to my story - one of the Hispanic man's more level headed friends came up from further up the boardwalk and did go pick up the cup, and put it in the trash, and told me "just let it go, he's drunk" which I was fine with leaving it at, but the drunk's girl friend or wife couldn't let it go and now had to run her mouth, again, as if I was the one who littered and was yelling obscenities in public, and the cowards who were still watching still didn't care to suggest that it was pretty easy for the man to just Do The Right Thing.

My girlfriend, now convinced that she was going to have to explain to the police why I just used years of hand to hand combat training to assault these people, convinced me to turn around and look 50ft away, where one of Long Branch's finest was parked "doing some paperwork" (or checking out the girls in bikinis, can't say I blame him). So Doing The Right Thing, instead of applying some vigilante justice, I simply walked away from the confrontation and politely explained to the policeman that "a drunk man was littering and yelling obscenities at me in public on the boardwalk for asking him to clean up after himself", and I was on my way while the drunk man was then harassed, by a "special officer" who probably just wanted to close out his summer of work by checking out the girls. But remember - I can't walk my dirty, filthy dog on the boardwalk because good, clean people like that man, and the cowards who wouldn't confront him, need a clean place to put their feet.

Now I could end my story here, but I won't, because lately walking at the boardwalk has been one adventure after the other for me, this time I'm just SO mad at you cowards that I feel the need to share another story.

About a month ago, in fact, it was July 25th, the same night that those two swimmers drown in the Shrewsbury River near Plum Island, when I was walking with my mom, girlfriend and dog on a Saturday night at the boardwalk. I had planned to take the dog to the beach over there that evening since it was one of those days where it was 100 degrees out and still in the 90s by the evening but my mom came to visit so we went for a walk in the heat instead. Again, we walked from Seven Presidents down to West End and back. It was a typical Saturday night in Long Branch and the the boardwalk was packed from end to end with cowards walking, jogging, biking, etc. As we were approaching the apartment complex between Morris and Pavilion, I spotted a person in an electric wheelchair just inside the gate. There was a group of younger cowards walking about 50 ft in front of me who turned and looked at her but just kept walking. I handed the dog off to my girlfriend and ran over to her. "Mrs. are you ok?". No response. I checked her pulse, could see, hear and feel her breathing so I ran down to the security desk to see if someone at the building knew the woman or any conditions she might have. The only person there was another old black man in his electric wheel chair. First he told me "nah, she's fine, she likes to take naps" once we got closer he agreed something was wrong and I was on the phone with 911 (first county, then long branch, clock is tickin' here boys). Meanwhile, crowds and crowds of cowards just wondered by, oblivious to the woman or any problem or just too cowardly to try to help. Eventually a woman who lived in the building next door who was a nurse saw us outside and came over to try to assist until the First Aid department arrived - but if I told you hundreds of cowards walked by without even asking if they could somehow help, I might be underestimating - it could have been a thousand cowards that night, it was that busy, and I was there that long waiting for first aid to show up. And when the police finally did show up, right after first aid, they mostly seemed bothered to have to deal with an conscience old lady instead of getting to yell at people like me who just want to walk on the boardwalk, with their dog. Not even a "thanks for trying to Do The Right Thing" just a "name... phone number... we'll call you if we need you". Great, glad I could help - now maybe you guys should assist the first aid people with getting this woman out of her wheelchair and onto that stretcher?

I never followed up to make sure that the woman was alright after the ambulance took her away, I figured I Did The Right Thing by checking on her and calling 911 even though I could have been like the other cowards and just kept walking, but hopefully Stephanie was alright, and hopefully if there is a next time she or anyone else needs a hand, out of the sea of cowards comes one person with the fortitude to Do The Right Thing.

...and for the record, if I DID take my dog to the beach that fateful Saturday, I'd of hopped right into that river and tried to save both of those men who drowned, unlike the cowards who did nothing, and I'd of never had to chance to Do The Right Thing for Stephanie, and I doubt any of you cowards out there would have even tried.

So don't be mad at me for calling you a coward, be mad at yourselves for being cowards, and maybe next time you see someone trying to Do The Right Thing, maybe a good start would be to help out and not just stand around, being a coward.

1 comment:

ambrosiajr said...

I've kind of done the same thing. One day, walking in Red Bank, there was a car stopped at the light at Monmouth and Broad Streets with a couple of kids inside. (Of course, anyone under 40 is a kid to me...) Then, the window opens up slightly and a bunched up cigarette wrapper comes falling out. Now, as I'm watching this, I notice that the window was left open, so I went over, picked up the crumpled wrapper, put it back inside the window saying " I'm sorry, you must have dropped this by mistake" and then walked back tot he curb giving them the hairy eyeball. Well, next thing you know the window goes up, the light turns green, and the car drives off....taking the crumpled wrapper with them.

and Damn, that really felt good to do.

Good for you Jimmy.