Saturday, April 10, 2010

Contraception for the Politically Active

Although the temperature's a cool 58 degrees, you wouldn't know it by the abundance of bare legs and tank-topped tanners milling about Times Square. The skies are a crisp, happy blue and the sun, though often blocked by an unfortunately located tall building, is shining bright, bright, bright.

It's a beautiful spring day in the city. One of our first, and I ventured out amongst the masses in search of 5$ sunglasses to celebrate the occasion.

During the course of my search I came across a character very common in the Times Square area that you probably can't find anywhere else in the world and who I've been meaning to write about because, the man's occupation is funny enough to be it's own television show theme, let alone the main subject of a measly blog post. This person is the Obama Condom Saleman, or, although a bit rarer, Saleswoman.

When I first came across this guy with his clever political quips and human-sized poster strapped to his back yelling "Obama condoms! For hard times!" and "Obama condoms, your very own stimulus package!" (they get progressively raunchier... I should probably stop here. You get the gist.) I had to laugh out loud. 

He looked ridiculous and knew it and rocked it. And was one of the most popular vendors in TS. And still is.

The enterprise has since grown to an entire crew of Obama Condom Salespeople scattered throughout the 4-6 block radius that encompasses Times Square. I've heard all the sales pitches by this point and rarely laugh, although most tourists get a kick out of gimmick. Not all, though.

A few months ago I was walking back from my local grocery store, lugging a week's worth of food past the stand that always asks me to donate to the homeless, usually stationed half a block away from an actual homeless person.... I always think it's ironic that the homeless shelter charity is competing with their own beneficiaries for revenue... but I digress.

After the charity stand there's usually an Obama Condom Salesman on the next corner. That day there was. He was giving his usual spiel, grinning and waving the condoms yelling something like "Obama condoms! You're not a true supporter unless he's inside you!"

Most people laughed, I gave a weak grin and trudged on, nearly home, with my heavy, heavy groceries. Then something happened that made me stop in my tracks and set them down on the sidewalk beside me.

Apparently, somebody didn't find our Obama Condom Salesman nearly as funny as everyone else did and, to express his personal displeasure at this mockery of our president, ran at the Salesman like a bull charging a torero and side-tackled him to the ground.  

And, just as quickly, hopped up and proceeded to flee the scene of the crime.

Well, our Obama Condom Salesman, a young redheaded man of 23 or so, probably a struggling actor or comedian only donning this undignified career hat to financially support his dreams, was rightfully shocked. He seemed to have trouble getting up, what with his human-sized poster strapped to his back making him top-heavy and movement awkward.

When he finally got to his feet the culprit was a block out of range. Obama Condom Salesmen then called out to one of his own, a fellow dealer of racy rubbers at the opposite corner, screaming, "Hey, Mike, get that guy!" 

He and Mike took off "catch that thief" scene-style in hot pursuit of the unfortunately misguided political activist practicing violent protest.

After that, I laughed harder than I ever had at their zany sales pitches and watched the chase until they were swallowed by the TS crowd. Then I picked up my groceries and continued on my way.

This is one of two fights I've witnessed in Times Square that happen to also be the only two fights I've ever witnessed in my life. 

The second one involved a man sucker-punching another man in the face who then fell into the middle of an active intersection. The first man had yelled mid-swing,"You need to respect human life!" I'm convinced it was an antiabortionist and got a kick out of the fact that he tried to teach respect of human life by injuring a fellow human being.

Who knew Times Square was such an active political forum?


Weekly question of utmost importance:

Is there a political issue that you feel strongly enough about that you'd come to very public blows over? What, if anything? Comment below or click on a response in the poll to the right.

1 comment:

  1. Despite my strong political views I can't imagine coming to blows, in public or in private. There was a time though, back in my college days, when a discussion so incited my best friend that she leapt up on the bench seat in the bar where we were talking. Wish I could remember what we were talking about...