Complaint Box

I’m afraid that my computer has been hacked into and something a lot more valuable than my identity has been stolen.  An essay that I had written that was stored on my computer has been lifted.  Stolen by one, Lorraine Heber-Brause.  I’ll explain.

Several months ago, the NY Times started a new column called “What Gets Your Goat”, asking for contributors to send in their “screeds, tirades and rants”. It’s almost as if the editors at the Times had started this column as  a  form of reparations to me for ignoring my various submissions to them.  So, in an obvious move toward conciliation they created this forum which seemingly is designed just for me. ( For the record, sometime in the last month or so, the column, which is now called “Complaint Box”, has changed its clarion call to requests for “tales of ire and indignation”. I guess the “rants” were getting too extreme).

About a month ago I wrote an essay which I thought would be perfect for the column.  It needed some finishing touches before I was going to submit it. These, I intended to do when I got back from my vacation.  But last Sunday, I came upon the “Complaint Box” column and there was  a piece written by the aforementioned Lorraine Heber-Brause.  The subject was her annoyance at being stopped by  petitioners for various causes in her Upper West Side neighborhood.  THAT WAS MY ESSAY!!!   The only thing that she changed was the neighborhood!  So, not only is this Lorraine whatshername a writer, but apparently she’s some kind of computer wiz who somehow got access to my writing folder in my computer.  For now, I doubt there’s much that I can do  but I’m keeping an eye on her.  If I find that she starts wrting about assorted problems with mice or having been born on a farm,  I’ll have all the proof that I need and there’s going to be serious consequences.    My essay which now has no home other than here follows:

On my way to the bank today, I was stopped by some volunteer for a local politician, asking if I had  “time for Ken Baer?”  I didn’t.  On my return trip  I steered clear of the volunteer by walking on the opposite side of the street and going an  extra half-block to return to the safety of my office.  A while later I ventured out in the other direction to my local Starbucks.  Along the way I was stopped by some (paid) volunteers who asked if I could “spare a minute for the ACLU?”  I couldn’t.  On my way back, coffee in hand I crossed the street to avoid the ACLU people, only to be stopped by a young volunteer wanting to see if I would sign a petition supporting gay rights.  I wouldn’t.

I live and work  in Park Slope, a liberal bastion of New York.  I support gay rights, donate to the ACLU and I bet if I knew more about Ken Baer, I might vote for him.  But I feel overwhelmed when I can’t walk a block in either direction of my office without being stopped by someone trying to save the world.  The volunteers usually have a terrific system where there are two of them facing in opposite directions acting more or less like a tag team.  One of them can always see you coming.  Yes, they’re excessively polite and easily take “no” for an answer.  But sometimes, I’d just like to go from “here’ to “there” unencumbered, lost in my own thoughts.  Now, between avoiding them and avoiding the people I ordinarily try to avoid, I find myself zigzagging down Seventh Avenue.  What used to be a carefree five minute walk has now become a sojourn full of tactical maneuvers.

And then,….and then on Friday afternoon…at the end of a week of running this gauntlet, I’m heading home when   I’m stopped by a young orthodox Jewish man who appeared out of nowhere.    And then it comes….”Are you Jewish?”  At this point, I”m worn down.  And also conflicted about turning my back on a heritage of more than 5700 years (most of which has been full of suffering).  So, although I know this will be way more complicated than just signing a pertition, with an air of resignation,  I wearily mumble the words I’ve been  holding at bay all week.  “Yes, I am.”

This is the link to you-know-who’s, supposedly original “screed”:


7 Responses to “Complaint Box”

  1. Kitty Says:

    But don’t you know that they aren’t actually trying to save the world? (well, I guess the Jewish kid is). Those people on the street are really trying to solicit donations for whatever cause they name, and they are paid for their work by getting to keep half of whatever they collect. That’s what pisses me off so much about it. They aren’t in Park Slope cause we are all so liberal, they are here cause we are liberal and RICH.

    • ironicman Says:

      rich….speak for yourself, kitty!

      • ed Says:

        AY-MEN!, Iron(ic)man! I’m harried & lonely Sloper – but not RICH! Who’s Kitty with her irritation at being hit on because she’s loaded? I just want to be hit on!

        I should also say that I once replied to one of their accosts with, “I volunteered for McCain on Election Day.” You never saw a whisker-less face drop so fast. I broke the poor naif’s heart.

  2. bob Says:

    I know what you mean and how you feel. It’s kind of like being blogged several times a week on the way to your other email!

  3. Jane Says:

    I’m thinking of a Keurig for the classroom. If you keurig, then no Starbucks. No Starbucks, no save the otter twins. It’s just how can you drink coffee made in a “k-cup”?

    • ironicman Says:

      hi jane…always nice to hear from you.. but i don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. although i’ll bet it’s brilliant because it sounds a lot like sidney toler in “charlie chan over chinatown” (i think i have some of that right)

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