Bet you’ve never read these words before

I had a really great experience on light rail this morning.

Hopped on the Yellow Line at 59th on my way downtown, and sitting across from each other were two kids.  White, maybe 19-20, totally acne-d up, complete punx-with-an-x.  One with a NY baseball cap, flat brim.  The other with a red hoodie, hood on.

Their converation, if you can call it that, was a non-stop stream of swearing, using the f-bomb like Caroline Kennedy used “you know”:  “My f’in sister’s up for ten years, it’d cost f’in five hundred grand for her bail.” “Yeah, when I f’in saw what BJ done to my mom, I told him straight up, `You ain’t my f’in brother no more.  Colin here’s my f’in brother.'”

Their patter continued, both to each other and into their cell phones, non-stop at full volume.  Then, our unlikely savior arrived.  At the…39th Street station, a middle-aged African-American gentleman got on board.  A little down-at-the-heels with a copy of the Bee under his arm, he initially sat down, but then got up and stood next to me, looking disbelievingly at these kids.  After the 29th Street stop, he’d had enough.

“You two ought to be ashamed of yourselves.  Talkin’ about people disrespectin’ your mama, while you’re cussin’ in front of all these ladies.”  He swept his arm across the now-silent car.  “Most of these ladies are probably mamas, and you talkin’ like that.  You make me sad.”

These kids went mute, and all of a sudden they looked like nine-year-olds staring at the tops of their shoes.  Most of the people in the car were smiling reservedly, and I turned to the guy and told him, “Well said, sir.  Well said.”

I’m sure there’s some larger point that could be made here about race relations and moral authority, but I’m content to just let the sheer brilliance of the moment rest on its own laurels.  I was happy to be a person today.

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