I’m madder than a ancient Egyptian with a broken abacus over the fact that technology today has people walking around the streets of Brooklyn like a bunch of zombies with no idea about what is going on around them.
Look, you all know that ol’Carmine has his share of modern electronic gadgets like Kodak disc cameras, Walkmen, Rascals, and flip phones. But that doesn’t mean that I am a slave to these things — so infatuated with them that I can’t even recognize when someone on the street is in desperate need of help.
Well, that is exactly what happened to me last week while riding my trusty steed Tornado to my boss Assemblyman Bill Colton’s rally against the city’s plan to bring a waste transfer station to Gravesend that will destroy my beautiful neighborhood.
I packed up Tornado with all the necessary accoutrements for a hot August day, including umbrella, poncho, water, Seven-Up, and pickles as well as a 14-inch fan for air conditioning and my Big Screecher cap, to inform people of exactly who I am (as if they don’t know!).
I left my building at 11:30 am for the two-mile trek to the rally, and immediately noticed that everybody I saw walking was either listening to headphones, texting, talking to someone who wasn’t there, and generally not paying attention to what was going on around them.
Now, the worst part about this was nobody noticed me scooting down the street, and that’s just not acceptable. I mean, I’m kinda difficult to miss because of my over-sized physique.
Still, I was cruising along just fine, taking in the cool breeze you get at two miles-per-hour, when I hit a bump at about the halfway point!
I was on Shore Parkway, which my beloved Brooklyn Graphic once dubbed “Tobacco Road” 40 years ago because of the terrible conditions of the streets there, where there are more cracks, impediments, and crevices than the Grand Canyon. The city should be ashamed of its neglect. Off in the distance, I could see the 41-acre site where the city is trying to destroy the area by building a toxic and pollution drawing waste transfer station where it once tried to destroy the neighborhood with a cancer spewing garbage incinerator. We finally terminated that one after years of screeching about it, and somewhere in my home there is a broken brick from that disaster that I keep as a memento from that horrible time in our history.
But I digress.
Getting back to my dilemma: 1) It was hot! 2) I am totally mechanically and electrically inept. 3) I had to push Tornado out of the way of passers-by who were too busy with their own business to take care of mine.
I did everything I could think of to get Tornado moving again. That included flipping the switch to start him, and pushing the thingamajig that make him move. Niether worked.
Finally a very nice lady who I didn’t recognize and who wasn’t texting someone came over and says to me “Carmine, I love your column I read it all the time” I thanked her, and she told me her name was Ruth, she was from Harway, and I recognized her husband Jay when he caught up to us. She ordered Jay to push me to the rally, and without a moment’s hesitation I was on my way!
Problem was Jay is also a senior citizen, is not Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was only able to push the 600 pounds that is me and Tornado about 12 feet.
So I told Jay and Ruth to forge ahead to the rally to bring back some help.
I re-reviewed the situation and again tried all the buttons and thingamajigs available. No dice.
I figured the problem had to be electrical because nothing was on, so I decided to check under the hood (which, in this case, is actually under the seat).
I lifted it up and looking at me straight in the face was this wire an electrical thing on it. I pushed it into another electrical thing an voila! Tornado was revived! The lights went on, and I quickly put the cover on, got on Tornado and away we went.
We got to the Caesars Bay parking lot in record time, where I thanked Jay and Ruth and made a beeline to the rally, where I sat behind all the channels there: channel 7, NY1, News12, channel 2, channel 4, and channel No. 5, the Chinese News Channel, and Ned Berke with the Bensonhurst Bean doing another terrific job of taping neighborhood news that includes me.
There were more than 100 activists in front of the cameras and another 100 behind them and when my boss Assemblyman Colton was introduced, I started roaring my “Yeah!” which shook up most of the cameramen there and reverberated though Gravesend Bay. A passing ship even fog-horned back!
The rally was a success and the coalition is strong and a formidable force in stopping the South West Transfer Station from ruining our community and destroying our health. This is a life-and-death battle and we better win!
Screech at you next week!