Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Rest Of Us

Did you ever wonder why there are mall cops? Why are there holding tanks in arenas and stadiums? Why does the IRS have auditors or why do banks chain their pens to the service desk?

When I was 12, I went to my first concert. It was a life altering experience. But not because of the band’s performance or the transformative power of music.

I quickly learned a valuable life lesson after witnessing an entire section of fellow concertgoers get escorted out of their seats because security couldn’t figure out who had a stash of drugs. So instead of ferreting out the nefarious person, or persons, security decided to take everyone out, frisk them, and when they found the person with the stash of pot down his pants, they let everyone else return to their seats.

But it was too late. They missed the drum solo.

It was on that fateful night I came up with a tenant that hasn’t failed me yet. It’s a simple fact that is so pure in it’s form; it’s almost a metaphysical certitude. It goes something like this: five percent of the population ruins it for the rest of us.

Now I know that sounds misanthropic, but hear me out.

The news is full of stupid people who have nothing better to do than ruin it for the rest of us who do the right thing, remain law-abiding, act with some kind of grace and civility, not trying to flip off society with their acts of cretin ignorance, insipid rebellion or alcohol-induced courage (or all of the above), they make it incredibly difficult for the rest of us to just get along.

Case in point: a homeless man got on the Valley Metro light rail the other day with a box of fecal matter. In and of itself, this is a disgusting display, a total violation of all things civil in society. You can carry many things onto a mass transit vehicle, but no reasonable person should be caught carrying a box, bag or any type of container or waste, human or animal. But for some reason this five percenter decided that he would use it as some kind of finger paint, flicking and smearing poop on the floor of the light rail car.

This continued for a couple of stops until police at Washington and 38th Street escorted the demented Jackson Pollack wannabe along with his box of feces off of the light rail.

Luckily, Valley Metro said they have been prepared for a biohazard emergency. Although I don’t think anyone could have come up with this doozy of a crappy situation.

Light Rail spokesperson Hillary Foose commented on the excrement experience by saying, “The comfort and security of our passengers always comes first.” That may be true. But this homeless guy just ruined light rail for the rest of us.

Even though Valley Metro took the car out of service and scrubbed, hosed and sanitized the violated vehicle, the next time anyone steps onto the light rail line, this is the thought that will continuously run through the passenger’s mind. “Am I sitting in the crap car, am I riding the excrement express? Am I on the turd train or poo-poo choo-choo?”

Light rail has forever been tainted by one homeless guy’s penchant for poop. Way to go, homeless guy – you’ve ruined light rail for the rest of us.

Couldn’t you have just performed an air drum solo?


  1. Oh Crap! and tomorrow night I'm hitting LRFN too. That's light rail friday night and you know... I'm going to be thinking about this blog and am I in the crappy car! I'm not telling my husband he'll end up sick and then that's a whole different thought process on the light rail.

  2. I agree with the broader point you are making in this blog, however, your example of the homeless guy isn't really that good, I don't think. Ever go to a hospital and wonder "gee, I wonder is someone died in this bed I am laying in?" Its the same thing. Again, I agree with your point as a whole, but this guy didn't "ruin" light rail, at least not for me.