...a potent blend of Miss Manners and Batman

Friday, November 30, 2007

Parking Pricks

Between crosswalks along the parks in Manhattan, there are spaces where no more than two cars can park...but only if the drivers cooperate. Occasionally someone parks in such a way as to take up both spaces. These people really annoy Voice of Society Man because the drivers of these cars don't bother to think of others when parking, and nothing irks VoSMan more than thoughtlessness.

Of course, VoSMan _should_ have special tools in his utility belt to help him deal with such crises. A fast-acting jack could perhaps raise the car enough to move it a foot or two, but my alter-ego carries nothing of that sort. Then there's the French trick, but even that wouldn't work with most modern American cars.

I first saw the French trick in, well, France -- hence the name. On my way back to my cheap hotel, I came upon a man who was looking for a parking spot for his lovely Citroen. His car wasn't especially large, but space is at a premium off the beaches of Cannes as much as it is off Central Park. But apparently my French doppleganger knew just what to do. He leaned against the tiny car in front of the spot and DRIBBLED it, lifting it off the ground so that the brakes didn't keep it from moving up. A few bounces did the trick, and he was able to park his car with ease. Bravo, Voix de la Societe Homme!

Back home, I have no similar recourse. The cars are too heavy (and New Yorkers, too ornery) for that maneuver. And pushing the other car with mine doesn't work (I've tried). So when I came across a car taking up both spots this afternoon, I knew I had to act fast. VoSMan hopped out of the car, sticker in hand, and affixed a little message to the world (and to the parking prick who had robbed the world of a spot).

As if the parking gods were smiling on this, no sooner had I gotten into my car to continue the search than another spot opened up a block away. Had VoSMan left alone that Prick Parker, I might still be looking for a place to park. Thanks, VoSMan!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Really Supporting our Troups

A report on National Public Radio yesterday (11/12/07) noted that veterans make up 12.5% of the population of US prisons but only 10% of the US general population. I would have thought that veterans would make up a smaller percentage of prisoners -- perhaps no more than 7% -- but the reporter mentioned post-traumatic stress syndrome and job loss as possible causes for stress in veterans that could lead to criminality.

All of this reminded me of my earlier post about those ubiquitous "I Support the Troops" ribbons that people sport on their cars. When people say that they support our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, what I hope they mean is that they:

* work hard to maintain friendships with their soldier friends when those veterans come home, even when the vets rebuff them.
Remember, folks: PTSS makes people depressed, cold, and/or mean.

* offer them back their jobs, or offer replacement jobs when necessary.
Many returning veterans find that their work has dried up. The government is totally to blame for this situation (employers can't hold jobs forever), but if you hired someone who was later called to arms, one way to support the troops is to hire that person back.

* do whatever they can to help their friends and family adjust to life back home after a stint in the military.

Anything short of this is just twaddle. And anyone with a ribbon touting how they support the troops when they really don't should get a new ribbon: "Better them than me."

About Me

My pesky alter ego who will set you right if you break one of the unwritten rules of getting along