Monday, February 22, 2016

Big League all the way

In 1964, essayist Tom Wolfe wrote a piece that wound up in the anthology "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby," his collection that is still a great amount of fun reading for someone interested in the 1960's in America as seen by the inventor of a new form of journalism.  One of the pieces was called "The Big-League Complex," concerning the habit of New Yorkers to have to be the best of everything and be the best at everything.  I mean, if you're a New York firefighter, you are one of the best firefighters in the world, and it's similar for whatever your occupation is.  The finest restaurants, the media capital, the home of the best magazines...all there in Noo Yawk. 

Remember, this was over 50 years ago, and it's still true, as Wolfe writes: "New York is the status capital of the United States, if not the whole hulking world," and he goes on to say that "this has curious effects on everyone who lives here. And by that I mean everybody..."

If you really want to see The Big League Complex in action, take a ride up to Amish Country in Lancaster, PA and see a busful of NYC types, down for a day of shopping the outlets, going to a smorgasbord and finding themselves served by Sarah Hannah Stoltzfuss.  

Or, read about what happened to New Yorker Reilly Flaherty, who ran afoul of a Big League pickpocket up in Gotham.  He went to a concert in Brooklyn and came home without his wallet, and he figured he would never again see his cash, IDs and credit cards again.

Flaherty figured he had had his pocket picked by a big-leaguer and would never see it, or any of its contents again, but no!

Two weeks later, here came a package in the mail, and the thief had mailed back his credit cards and driver's license.

No cash.  But a note in the package explained that:
'I kept the cash because I needed weed, the MetroCard because, well, the fare's $2.75 now, and the wallet 'cause it's kinda cool. Enjoy the rest of your day. Toodles, Anonymous.' 

Subway fares are up, so he kept some of the loot to pay for the "A" train, and of course, the price of New York weed must be sky high.

You have to figure it is, because from thieves to recreational drugs, they get the best up there, yessir!

No comments: