Ruining It for Everone

I received the full court press from a little old man on the subway yesterday. Really, I have the digits to prove it. He said, “I’m getting a magic act together and I can see you have a natural stage presence. Have you ever thought of being a magician’s assistant?” That line may have been the only thing in the train car older than he was, but combined they were charming. Then there was more. “Give me an afternoon and I’ll show you the real lower east side. Give me a day and we’ll go to Roosevelt Island!” He went on and on and, frankly, remaining polite became exhausting.

I wanted to give him the brush, but I’ve never been in that position before and I stalled. You’re not supposed to be rude to your elders and I go a little ballistic when people bully little kids or old people because they’re so often disenfranchised. But as I excused myself from the train a few stops early to escape the uncomfortable lack of silence I thought, this guy is taking advantage of being a little old man. His parting words, “I expect to hear from you because we have a lot in common and we have to get together!” solidified his membership in the given-an-inch-will-take-a-mile club. And that was more disappointing than he was annoying, because it all started out as such a cute story.


Hillery eventually learned not to say everything that came to mind. Some were too good not to write down.

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