Grand Central Terminal is one of the most beautiful and, prior to the invention of the cellphone, most functional buildings in the world. I’ve been there thousands of times, and at least a little bit of my breath has been sucked from my body each and every time.
That is, when I’m there voluntarily. I enjoyed an extended stay Friday night because of a major train derailment and collision up the road in Fairfield Connecticut. That happens, and quite frankly I got lucky. Service was suspended east of the South Norwalk station, and my car was parked at that station. If I got off at East Norwalk, which is about two-thirds of a mile from my house and within walking distance, I would have been S.O.L. Being lazy and not being cheap actually paid off for a change. Of course, there was a backup as traffic on the lines was heavily screwed up (the derailment happened at the height of the Friday night rush) and I got home at 10 PM, about an hour late. Not a big deal.
Being a news junkie and having an interest in this particular story, I followed it the next day. 60 people had been hospitalized at the time, mostly with bumps and bruises. Eight remained in hospital the following morning and five were in critical condition.
But what I heard and read was that I was a victim because my trip home was delayed. Me and several thousand other people. And that’s simply ridiculous. Maybe there were 60 victims. Maybe. I might agree to eight, and I certainly agree to five. But the broader issue is our lust for being seen by others as victims.
Somehow we have decided to define ourselves as victims and we seek out causes, reasons and conspiracies for our victimization. Christians are victimized by freedom of religion laws. Children are victimized by teeter-totters. Travelers are victimized by air traffic delays. Shoppers are victimized by long checkout lines. Earthlings are victimized by cicadas.
Suck it up. Being inconvenienced is not the same as being victimized. People who are involuntarily subjected to malicious violence are victims. People who have been ripped off are victims and even then, quite frankly, I’m talking about being ripped off for a noticeable amount. If the neighbor’s dog craps on your lawn, you are not a victim. If you have to take an alternate means of transportation to get to and from work for a while, you have been inconvenienced and we are not going to deploy your favorite color for this week’s victimization ribbon.
Defining yourself as a person by the various levels of victimization is pathetic. I’m left-handed. We left-handed people have a shorter life span. Are we victims of… ourselves? Of old-timey school chairs?
And – talk about being politically incorrect – even AIDs victims are not victims. HIV is a disease. It doesn’t single out people for victimization. On frequent occasions I have been a cold victim, and I blame President Obama for that.
Grow up. Save your angst; it’s better for your blood pressure. Sometimes you are inconvenienced, and my sympathy is reserved for people who really deserve it. The world is not taking a crap on your merkin.
Mike Gold performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com, every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check the website above for times. Gold also joins MDW’s Marc Alan Fishman, Martha Thomases and Michael Davis as a weekly columnist at www.comicmix.com where he pontificates on matters of four-color.