An Interruption to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Posted on September 25, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Today I walked down the street and saw a 230 pound father at a loss for words as he tried to come to terms with his inability to support his son.  A 15 year old boy holding a plane white plastic bag, uncomfortably back pedaled as his dad tried to discipline him for purchasing the contents of this bag.  “I need a pair of pants dad…why’d you leave me in the store, what’s going on here?”  The dad grasped for words or an explanation, but could only push questions back to his son.  “Why’d you buy those pants?  What were you thinking?  Do you want to be able to eat lunch this weekend?”  It was clear they had both been shopping together, perhaps a little tardy in back to school necessities, and from the looks of it, they were very tight on their budget.  Gently and slowly the two arrived at a middle ground, moving beyond the purchase, as it was clear the child had not acted out of greed, and they walked down the street, arm on shoulder, both knowing that times are hard.

Today I saw a 15 year old kid, with burnt orange hair, methodically and rhythmically dance around a chess board in Washington square park, deconstructed a toothless 40 year old hustler as AM radio pushed muted sounds of an undefined baseball game.  The clock showed only 5 minutes per side, moves emerged in seconds as both players physically bobbed back and forth to the rhythm of the game.  The host of this match, like his 10 bretheren on the benches left and right, did not have the aesthetic of a grand master champion.  Had he not been sitting in front of a board, you might have put a quarter in his cup, but his moves were swift and decisive, and he had clearly been hustling at the table all day.  1:20 left and the kid exposes a weakness in the game.  He watches carefully as a wave of defeat washes over the face of the hustler.  Humbly, he continues back and forth for another few moves, but both men understand what has just occurred.  “You got me” proclaims the bum as he reaches into his pocket and reveals a crumbled wad of dollar bills.  As he reaches forward with the money, the kid is joined by his mother and sister who had been off a safe distance to the right.  In a humble southern accent, the kid relieves the bum of his debt “Oh, I don’t need any money, it was just fun playing with you.”  As he sinks into the background of a crowded park corner, his mother sings to a deaf ear “he’s been waiting a very long time to come here and do that.”

I sit and watch the riders, moving unpredictably across the stones of union square.  Flipping, slipping, wheels on end, the bikes catch light from passing traffic.  I play a song, we listen closely, but laughter and rumblings fill the air, media stands no chance against a see of people, flitting, flooding every sense as I sit, listening, and watching, the real life version of life unfold before my eyes.  Screens light the sky for moments, but  drown against the pulsing adolescence of an Indian Summer night.  I talk and think and watch and walk back to the walls that will separate me from this night.  But rest not with stress, for this is New York, where tomorrow will hold 1000 more versions of today.

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One Response to “An Interruption to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming”

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    About

    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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