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Friday, May 3, 2013

A New York City Morality Tale

As I posted some time ago, begging on the subway has entered an American Idol phase. You have simply got to have an act these days. Forget about yesteryear's sob stories! You're at least expected to croak out an acapella tune, making up the words if you have to, but for God's sake, you better have an act! No more whining and whimpering. Winos unite, form a doo-wop group and pass the hat for your next bottle of rotgut!

That being said, performing on the subway for money is a felony. You could, conceivably, get gonged during your show when the auxiliary policeman shows up and decides to wield his baton. Be aware it can get dicey.

As I frown on contributing to any criminal act, and because I do not thrill to being part of a captive audience, it is not usually my wont to throw money at these mass-transit troupers. Honeys, unless Patti Lupone herself comes down onto the R train to sing and dance, nobody's getting a red cent from moi. That's my overall credo.

Oh, but today was an exception! It was Friday, right after work, and I just got paid. I was on my way home to start the weekend, so I was undoubtedly a bit giddy. A man stepped aboard my car with his son in tow. (I assume the boy was about 10-years-old.) The man had an accordion strapped around his neck and began playing the song, "Lambada." Oh, how I love that crazy Brazilian tune; drives me wild! The Forbidden Dance! Women twirling in mini-skirts, revealing their thong underwear! Men too! Why, the very word lambada makes me think of lambda, and how much gayer can we get than that?

The son took off his baseball cap and walked around, smiling sweetly with Bambi-like eyes, using the hat to collect. Well, my cold, cold heart began to thaw, if only a smidge. It was just like in church; we passengers reached into our pockets and cast dollar bills into the "collection basket" impulsively. Why, I almost genuflected!

This act was a success, people, I tell you! We need to come up with an award for subway talent such as this. How about The Trainies? Has a ring to it, no? This act had pathos, joy, tinges of sexuality and a keyboard/wind instrument that brought me back to my childhood, sitting in front of the tv, watching Lawrence Welk perform. (Though Lawrence of Accordion never played the Lambada!)

Now, had the accordionist played the Macarena, instead, things might have worked out quite differently. And therein is the moral to this story:

Know your audience. And give the people what they want!

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