While I was emerging from a subway station on Manhattan’s upper West side last week, I was hollered at by a chap in his mid-to-late twenties sporting a black t-shirt and ginger beard who was standing on a corner handing out newspapers.
“Hey man,” he said “you have a red shirt on, you should read this!” He thrust a newspaper in front of me that was some Commie publication and had as its headline a call to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. I have read that reinstating Glass-Steagall wouldn’t solve much despite its repeal being blamed for the Global Financial Crisis, but I was in no position to argue this particular technicality.
“Where are you from?” he asked me.
“Britain” I said.
“Oh man, with Barclays! Those assholes have screwed everything!”
“So what are we gonna do about it, man?” he asked, thrusting the newspaper at me.
I thought about a response. What are we going to do about it? I was going to suggest hanging politicians and lawyers, but I guessed his victim list would differ from mine and I didn’t want to encourage him. As I was pondering the question he chimed in with “And no, war with Russia isn’t the answer.”
“Ah Russia,” I said “I know the place well. Lived there for a bit. No, going to war with Russia won’t help much.”
“You were in Russia? I heard St. Petersburg is beautiful!”
“It is. It’s a shame everything over there is built on a few million corpses, though.”
“Corpses?” he asked, looking doubtful. “Which corpses? Nazis?”
“No. Ordinary people. And that’s the problem, isn’t it? Which way is Central Park?”
“That way,” he said “but you gotta read this…” His voice trailed off as I walked away.
I hope he somehow gets to read this.