If you see something, say something. That sounds like such a great idea.
Many apologies to those who showed up to carry sand down the hill last Wednesday.
Unfortunately, there was over an hour lag between when the sand was dropped off and when I arrived at closer to 7:15 rather than at 6:45 as I had intended. By the time I got there, the police were already there. And for awhile things got very confusing to say the least.
Here’s what happened. The sand was dropped off as scheduled. At that time an old man was sitting on a nearby park bench and thought the delivery of the four large bags of sand seemed suspicious. “Might have been material to make a bomb”, he had thought. So being patriotic and a little bit paranoid and all, he called 911 to report it, just in case.
By the time I arrived, there were 4 policemen gathered around and one of them was poking his nightstick into one of the sand bags. At this point, being a bit naive and previously having only had one or two bad experiences with policemen, I spoke up and said, “Hey, that’s my sand!” Of course, I immediatly became the focus of attention. “So this is your sand? ” said one of the cops. “How about you prove it,” he said. So, I fumbled in my George Costanza-like wallet and soon produced the receipt.
“Well we think this looks pretty suspicious,” said another one of the cops. So I explained that the sand was for the horseshoe pits, that were just down the hill. “Curiouser and curiouser,” said the third officer. “You expect us to believe that there is a horseshoe pit in the park?” “You expect us to believe that people who live in NYC, actually play horseshoes?” he said. “Isn’t horseshoes something that people play in the rural areas, not sophisticated types like us who live in the big city?”
Despite’s this skepticism, I stood my ground and explained, that while horseshoe mania had not yet taken off, that in fact, once in awhile, people did show up to play. And I also expressed my deep conviction that city dwellers could someday embrace the sport. And that someday it would be possible for there to be multiple horseshoe leagues in New York and other cities, who might, after sufficient practice garner enough skill to compete against the country folk, sort of what already happens in politics with the city vs. the rural areas.
I continued to argue and the officers continued to be skeptical about every one of my premises. At one point, I thought I had gotten very close to being arrested. But then another officer, who had not previously spoke came forward and said, “So what if we believe you about the horseshoes and all. Is there someone in the park’s department we can contact to verify that you are telling the truth?” I told him that I didn’t have such a contact with park’s department. On the contrary, in fact, the entire horseshoe project had been undertaken by myself and occasionally others, completely without the help or presumably the knowledge of the park’s department. “I was worried,” I said, “that their might be some sort of regulation against throwing heavy metal objects in the park, perhaps for liability reasons this was forbidden. So I hadn’t notified the park’s department for fear that they would shut it down.”
“So you were worried about government intervention in your private activities?”, asked the officer. And I admitted that indeed, this was a concern of mine. At which point, all of the officers lit up and smiled as if now we were all good friends. They explained that even though they were the representatives of law enforcement on the street level, that they all had significant reservations about governmental control particularly in the spheres of economics and personal liberties. They went on to say that they were all members of the Ayn Rand fan club and really believed that the solution to the world’s problems could be found in the application of unfettered capitalism. They also admitted that they were huge Trump fans. But on this last point I managed to stay silent.
“We like your style guy.” “Sort of like, you are sticking it to the man by going behind the backs of the park’s department to start your horseshoe thing.” said one of the officers. I said, “Well I guess, it is sort of like that.” Then everyone smiled. They patted me on the back. It was over. They even let me keep the sand.
Only later did I learn from someone who videotaped the whole thing, that before the police showed up that a few people had gathered around the sand, just looking at it but seeming uncertain of what to do next. But they were soon scared off by the arrival of the police. And now I’ve figured out that the people who gathered around the sand initially, must have been a few of you who showed up on time to help carry the sand down the hill.
Thanks for your good intentions. Sorry, I showed up late and very sorry for all of the confusion.