Friday, February 16, 2007

Two New York Stories

204a Two New York Stories


Here are two Valentine ’s Day stories from New York. To save you time, they’ve been jumbled together.

As you may know, the Department of Health gives out condoms. It’s been doing that for years. Today, though, they are using what the manufacturing industry calls a “new distribution channel.”

Specially marked packets of condoms are being given out in the subways. They have subway decorations on the outside of the pack. The health department says this is so they can track who received which. People on the G train got G train condoms, people on the 7 train got 7 train condoms and so on.

It’s an exciting concept for the advertising business. Think of the slogans. “Prevent STD on the BMT,” Or “Get your lay on the Uptown A.”

The IRT comes in numbers. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Those are route designations, guys, not inches.

For the rest of the routes:

B: Be careful, boys and girls. Use these.

C: Conception? Not today.

D: Defense against clap and babies.

E: Escape the burdens of premature parenthood.

F: Censored.

G: Get together safely.

And so on.

So, the promise was for two stories. Here’s the second:

While subway riders were receiving condoms, little kids who don’t usually use the subways alone were using the subways alone. Ten year olds.

Why? Because the geniuses that run this joint hired a “consultant” to “improve” school bus service and make it more economical.

The outfit has somewhat less than a stellar reputation. But they have pretty brochures, so, natch, they were hired.

Their first step was to manufacture a problem: “too many routes, too many buses.”

Okay. Change or consolidate some of the routes and eliminate some of them and some of the buses. And don’t forget to tell the parents about the changes.

Well, they did the first stuff, but not the “tell the parents” part.

So there’s the snow and the ice and the wind and the cold. And there are clots of kids standing out in this stuff, waiting for buses that never show up.

It gets better. Joey and Janie go to the same school and on the same schedule, but are in different grades. For years (remember, these are LITTLE kids,) they rode together and watched out for each other. Now they have to take two different buses. Progress.

The Board of Ed didn’t leave its lunatic ways behind when they closed 110 Livingston St. and moved into the Tweed building. Their explanation: It’s an improvement. You’ll learn to love it.

The NYC school system doesn’t have enough trouble without this? They saved how much? The consultant cost how many millions?

As usual, the people doing the work are people who have to use what’s being worked on.

But at least the elementary school kids riding the subway alone this morning had access to free condoms decorated with Transit Authority logos and route designations.

When twelve year old Lizzy drops her backpack on the living room floor and the contents spill and mom sees the W-train condom and asks “Elizabeth! Where did you get this!?” She should say “A guy on the subway gave it to me.”

That’ll make mom happy.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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