Too Soon

The Street Hustle


For Officers Robert Fazio and Moira Smith, of the 13th Precinct in Gramercy, who died in the line of duty on 9/11/01.


Seven years after the 9/11 attacks, the mood in New York is somber.  There’s an odd consideration for your neighbor, the guy next to you on the street or the person in front of you in line at the deli.  Even the cabbies are staying out of the crosswalk when they stop for a red light.  I guess we’re re-living what we were doing on that horrible day.  The New York Press published my recollections of bartending on 9/11 two years ago,, and that can serve as my testimony.  It is something I really don’t want to think or talk about anymore.


Six days later on 9/17/01, I was back behind the bar, stressed nearly to the breaking point like all of my fellow New Yorkers.  I could see that stress on the faces of my guests as they slowly came into the Park Avenue Country Club for lunch and a beer or two in an effort to forget where they were.  Ira and Bobby came in for a burger and their standard glasses of wine.  They seemed more concerned about me as they live in the suburbs and I was stuck in the City.


“What did you do this weekend, Alex,” Ira asked.


“I took a flight lesson but they didn’t teach me how to land,” I replied.


They looked at me like stunned beagles. 


“What, too soon,” I asked.  They nodded and glared at me for the rest of their meal.  Brother, did I feel like a schmuck.


When I saw the Aristocrats, I felt for Gilbert Gottfried when he told his one liner about flying since 9/11 and then had to launch into the aristocrats bit in order to save face.  It seems there still is no humor to be found from the second attack on the World Trade Center.  MSNBC even published an article asking when it was proper to start joking about the tragedy.


I went about my business today, joylessly grabbing the N train to Fifth Avenue for an 11:30 meeting.  Starring ahead, blankly, trying to mind my own business, I barely noticed when the panhandler made his way into my car.  He started to slur his rap the second the door closed.


“Ladies and gentleman, I lost my job on 9/11 and shortly thereafter my home and family.  I’m just trying to get my life back together.  While I have been on the street, I have started educating myself in philosophy.  I am currently reading the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  Thank you very much for your help.”


I bit my lip to keep from laughing.  I didn’t know that an anti-Semitic forgery commissioned by the Czar of Russia was now philosophy.


Maybe there is some humor in 9/11 after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Every Friday, get 2 for 1 movie tickets when you use your Visa Signature card.

Recent Comments