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Thinking with your brain 0

Dear Bradshaw,

While riding the subway on my way to work this morning, I heard a throaty, phlegm-filled, explosive cough. Glancing up from my book to assess the distance between the miscreant and myself, I noticed a fifty-year-old man not only coughing but coughing without covering his mouth.

Luckily for me (and for him) he was ten feet away, hacking openly and freely as if sharing his malady with the masses was an honor or a rite of passage. The passengers in his more immediate vicinity craned their heads or buried their faces against their shoulders whenever he coughed and the more he coughed, the more tempted I was to cram a fist down his throat. I thought about what I would say and how aggressively I’d say it, but of course, you know me = I didn’t say anything, but I’m telling you, Shaw, if I’d been one of those people forced to stand or sit nearer his infectious germs or lethal virus or whatever was making him cough (and I mean “forced to stand nearer” because, being morning rush hour, we were crammed in there like pouf in a pillow), I’d have said something. I mean it. It was 8am and I was tired and dreading the long day (and week) ahead of me.

Also, I despise such social outcasts. Had I been three steps closer, near enough to have regarded his micro-biotic assault as a threat to my health and physical wellbeing, I’m telling you, I’d have reached over, grabbed him by the jugular, and screamed, “Now listen here, you germ blasting, numb-brained, egocentric nitwit! I’ve had enough of your inconsiderate, rednecked, George Bush baloney! From here on out, cover your flabby-lipped mouth when you cough, or cough into your jacket or a newspaper or something… anything! Because if I see you cough into the open air one more time and I mean ONE more time, I’m going to karate chop your carotids!”

You see, Shaw, this is the stuff that drives me nuts, makes me want to jump off a cliff, swallow a handful of razor blades, or blow myself up with grenades. What’s going on in this world? Where do these mental midgets come from? Who breeds them, and why are they allowed to live? Sometimes I think they’re there to test my patience, and I have to ask myself what Gandhi or the Buddha would have said or done in such situations. Isn’t certain social etiquette innate, like drinking through your mouth instead of your navel, thinking with your brain instead of your spleen, walking on your feet instead of your elbows, or covering your mouth when you cough on a crowded train?

It’s one of those things = proof there’s little hope for humanity. I’m not saying the end is near. No one knows when the end will come and I’ll be the last to sound the doomsday alarm. I’m just saying the end is inevitable, especially considering scoundrels like the train cougher and the fact there’s nothing to be done about them.

Anyway, I’m drinking wine at the moment, trying to calm down. This kind of thing gets to me and though I know I’m not perfect, I’d never cough in the face of an innocent passenger on his or her way to work. Man, if I bump into that numbskull on the subway again, he’d better guard his nards from my kneecaps.

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