Thursday, January 14, 2016

Guest Post: One Man Anti-Terrorism Force

Today's TTIV story is a guest post that is part bizarre behavior and part sociological oddity. It comes from "The Duke of Albany." He's not really a Duke, and he's not from Albany, but TTIV protects the identities of contributors with Shakespearean character names. 

In 2015, the Duke shared a great story about the frightening Hicksville parking facility traffic director, who I nicknamed "Edgar Wrentilkoppe." This one's about a LIRR rider with grand delusions. 

One morning, I got on a Brooklyn-bound Long Island Rail Road train at Deer Park. As is typical of non-Manhattan bound trains, it was quiet with ample seating. The silence was shattered though, as a "Chatty Cathy" contingent boarded my train car. They clustered together in the six-seater, facing each other, two rows away from me.  There were three women and one man. To further the visualization, imagine the most stereotypical Lawn Guyland accents you've ever heard.

To top it off, they had a LOT to say.

The dynamic consisted mainly of the three women struggling for air time, with the man in a distant fourth place and desperate to get a word in. He awkwardly interjected into the conversation, regardless of the topic. Weather? News? He had a comment. This man needed to be heard. He needed to be accepted. He needed to belong.

A young male Conductor came through the car collecting fares, and he flirted with these ladies as he punched their tickets. One of the Chatty Cathy Trio asked the Conductor if he was allowed to be armed.  The Conductor sadly responded that he could not have a firearm to deal with miscreants. The conversation could have ended there, but this was the male Chatty Cathy's chance to shine.

"I always carry a gun with me," he announced proudly. "I have to be ready to protect everyone in case the crazies attack us!"  He had my attention now. I peeked over the seat and eyed him the way a gazelle eyes a hungry cheetah that isn't aware of its presence. He went on. "Yeah, I was given special ops training after 9/11. I am one of only 50 people in the world who knows how to use a special kind of gun to take down terrorists."

Silence. A collective eye roll took place in the train car.

Realizing he'd embarrassed himself with his outlandish story, he turned red. He slid down in his seat and said nothing further. The Conductor moved on, and the Chatty Cathy trio awkwardly changed their topic to the new nail Salon that opened on Veterans Highway.

I learned several important lessons that day.

1) When people sit together to chat in the six-seater, move away from them.

2) The Lawn Guyland accent is as ear-piercing and unpleasant as out-of-towners make it out to be.

3) New nail salons can attract business by draping colorful bunting across the facade.

4) Announcing that you are carrying a firearm defeats the purpose of carrying the firearm. There is no need to announce that you are carrying an "anti-terrorist" gun. Not only does it sound idiotic, but you put a target on your back. Maybe he was was hoping to win a Darwin award that day.

Fortunately, I made it to work safely, and lived to tell this tale.

Thanks to the Duke of Albany for sharing this story. I have to stop wearing noise-cancelling headphones, because I often miss exchanges like this. 

Do you have a commuting story you'd like to share? Send it to TTIV at, post it on the Facebook page, or tweet it with hashtag #TTIV.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.
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