I’m madder than Spike Lee at one of this summer’s block parties in Fort Greene over the fact that I’ve spent way too much time this winter waiting in line for gas because I’m afraid my wheels will run out of fuel during the latest snow blizzard, and I’ll end up having to high-tail it to Florida atop my trusty steed Tornado instead of in the comfort of my Hyundai driven by my lead-footed (but lovely) wife Sharon!
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher stopped using subways the minute I got so heavy I couldn’t make it up the steps of the el on 86th Street, and my subsequent demands that the MTA put in elevators at every station (and I mean every one of them — even them ones on Staten Island that nobody even knows about) fell on deaf ears.
So it would be no surprise to you that when I am not using Access-A-Ride or it’s too cold to ride Tornado, I spend a lot of time in that great American dream machine, my own personal motor vehicle that’s made in South Korea.
Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Carmine, if you’re such an American, and, for lack of a better term, such a BIG American, why the heck are you driving around in a car that’s too small to fit your left arm inside it, and why do you force your lovely wife to get squashed by you when you cram your enormous self into the passenger seat that can barely support you?”
Well, the answer is simple. Economics.
But I digress.
Folks, what you really need to know is that spending all this time crammed into such a small space inevitably leads me to drop things in areas I can’t fit my fat paw into to pick them back up. Now, that’s not too much of a problem if it’s a pickle or a Marathon Bar (I’ve got grosses of cases of those at the Stop and Store on Shore Parkway that I bought once I heard they cancelled them in ’81), but it can become a big problem when I drop my darn keys down there.
Which is precisely what happened this past week while I was — you guessed it — waiting in line for gas so I don’t run out during this next coming snow blizzard!
I spent over an hour — broken down into three equal halves — trying to figure out a way to get them back. During the first half, I cursed myself and screamed. During the second, I MacGruber’ed it by building a makeshift tool out of a comb attached to a pencil, but that didn’t work. And in the third half, I took a mail flyer tightened by rubber bands curved at the end of it to try to scoop them up.
None of this worked of course, which once again deflated my trust in the things I learn by watching the Zenith in the living room.
So when I noticed an EMT parked next to me, I frantically tried to get her attention, but to no avail, as she was eating a hamburger (which I perfectly understand, as nothing keeps me more focused on myself than a double-meat bacon cheeseburger (which probably makes that triple meat)).
I waited until she finished her lunch and politely asked for her help, and she asked me what was wrong. I told her I dropped the keys, and then, using my cellphone as a flashlight to show her where I dropped it, I dropped the cellphone into the same crevasse.
She got a bulldozer to move me out of the way and, in just four swoops, picked up my cellphone, a set of keys, another set of keys and third set of keys, and a few old Marathon Bars. Fortunately the car keys were the first retrieved and the other sets of keys had keys that were no longer used.
My angel EMT saved the day and it even stopped snowing. I thanked her profusely a thousand times and didn’t know what I could do for her to make up for her kindness. Hopefully she’ll hear about this column and contact me through this newspaper. Oh, by the way, with my cellphone retrieved I was able to call Sharon whom was seen by the doctor and was coming down to go into the drugstore.
The motto of this story is that the EMTs who are real angels of mercy during their tours can also sprout their wings.
Now, normally, this is the time where I go on and on about how awesome my latest “Carmine” award-winner is, but I think I ran out of words. So next week, look for my column on Rosalia Bacarella, our School Leadership Award winner.
Screech at you next week!