I’d first like to get something off of my chest: What really upsets me about the flock of GOP wannabees running for President is how timid and flaccid they appear in the face of Trump, the here-to-fore front-runner and his belligerent rhetoric. For God’s sake, stop referring to him as Mr. Trump! Call him Trump or Don. Piss him off for a change. When was the last time he called you Mr. Bush or Ms Fiorina or Dr. Carson? And you don’t have to get down in the mud with him either. Think back to the Reagan – Carter debate when Jimmy rattled on and on milking a point to demonstrate his superior knowledge and intellect. How did Ronnie handle it: “Oh, there you go again.”
Thank you. Now please be patient while I climb down from this soap box. I have to be careful with this fake hip.
Okay, with that out of my system, New York, New York. Thinking about the Big Apple made me think of Trump who is in many ways a consummate fighting New Yorker. He wears the same cloak as Rudy Giuliani or my friend, Peter King. They epitomize the spirit of the following “light bulb joke:”
How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?
None of your f**king business.
Being a life-long New Yorker, I admit how full of ourselves we can be but like loud-mouth bullies everywhere, the right combination of attitude and vocabulary can quickly deflate us. Our arch-rivals who best us more times than not are London based Brits. They master the understatement with their stiff upper lips as they muddle through while waiting stoically in seemingly endless queues. I once watched as a matronly British Airway’s flight attendant stop my evil, loud-mouthed twin right in his tracks with her censure: “Must you constantly be this bombastic?”
The one card that knowledgeable Brits can play on us any time they wish is to compare London taxis to New York cabs. Usually, they are so subtle that they let us walk right into their trap permitting visiting New Yorkers to gush on and on about how great London taxis are and how terrific the drivers are:
“Your taxis are so clean, so roomy, so great!”
“Your drivers are so knowledgeable, so English, so terrific!”
The Brits actually preen as we walk into the trap and lock the cage behind us. Some of us only dig the hole deeper observing: “You know, once we had decent taxis, the Checker.”
Balderdash, sure the Checker was roomy but it moved like a tank, stiffly jarring passengers’ bones with every pothole the driver hit. This ice box in winter could sit five if two unfortunate souls were willing to sit on minuscule metal jump seats that unfolded from the metal floor. The worst cabs were around in the bad days of the 1970s, the Dodge Coronet. No leg room, no ass room, three in the back made it feel like a clown car. Awful, awful.
While no one in authority can improve our army of immigrant drivers, the city recently introduced a new specialty Nissan mini-van taxi. It is supposed to be the cure-all for all of our taxi woes as it replaces the current assortment of cars, SUVs and regular mini vans now in the fleet. Time, weather and the awful pounding received in New York’s infamous streets will eventually tell the tail of their suitability.
As a mechanic once asked my wife, Mary Ann, who drove a Buick daily to P.S. 121 in South Ozone Park, Queens: “Where do you drive this car, East Beirut?”