You Got A Problem w/ My Face?

Living in New York City, you must always be mindful that any given subway stop between the hours of 2:30 and 4:00 P.M. on a weekday could be choked with rambunctious children of various age just getting out of school. Today was no exception. My friend John and I were traversing the Staten Island subway line north after a rather bizarre lunch at the southern-most Burger King in the state. Things were relatively quiet for the first two stops. Then, without warning, we came upon a platform teeming with puberty-soaked younglings.

Of course the loudest, most obnoxious tween took the seat across from us. He was skinny and white, sporting a faded purple toque, some stylish flannel, and tiny braces on his equally tiny teeth. Gummo was taking much delight in razzing his fellow students standing nearby for looking “gay” and “faggy.” At one point, he took his Trapper Keeper (swear to God, that’s what it was) and repeatedly rammed it into an unsuspecting kid’s butt.

“You like that,” Gummo said matter-of-factly to his victim. “You like that ’cause you’re gay.”

It was such stereotypical idiot middle school behavior that I couldn’t help but laugh (I was also pretty tired, and we all know exhaustion erodes intelligence). The kid in question noticed my chuckling, nudged a friend sitting next to him, motioned to me, and quietly said something as a smile spread across his gross, thin lips.

I can’t tell you how close I came to confronting the little puke stain over this. The following phrases all cycled through my head within a matter of seconds:

[FAUX ANGRY] “Hey you PIECEASHIT—what’d you just say t’yer lil’ FRIEND there? You got a PROBLEM with my FACE?”

[REAL ANGRY] “No secrets on the train, bro. Tell me what’s so fuckin’ funny.”

[CONFUSING] “I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m from Toronto. Well, you’re wrong. I’m not from Toronto.”

[MENTALLY ILL] “I’m gonna eat your hair if y’all keep whispering about Al Gore. Pasta? You can take that to the BANK!”

If I’ve learned anything in my thirty-one years on Earth, it’s that adults rarely win arguments with children they don’t know. I bit my tongue and let this moppet have his miniscule victory. Shortly thereafter, Gummo exited the train, leaving me to wonder for the rest of eternity exactly which derogatory term for homosexual he used to describe me to his friend.

Later, on the same train, a proposition was overheard that involved a sum of ten dollars and shoving one’s naked scrotum into another person’s face. The offer was declined.

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