This morning I came up from the Penn Station spider hole and merged into the head-down crush of humanity flowing across 34th St. We were all chasing paychecks; running to our unimportant, necessary jobs. When I got to Herald Square I stopped for a moment to look up and admire the way the sun hit the Empire State Building. I turned up 6th Avenue, walked through Bryant Park, fought my way across 42nd St. and up 5th Avenue. My iPod shuffle first selected Keep Yourself Alive by Queen, then Bummed Out City by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros and then Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed. It, literally, gave me a chill. How did this stupid little hunk of metal and plastic know that these songs would be so perfect?

All you people
Keep yourself alive

We’re in Bummed Out City
So come on, let’s operate

A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City is the place where

That thing is intuitive to the point of being creepy.

* * *

Paranoia is rampant at Benevolent Dictators, Inc. Everyone has whipped puppy syndrome. People huddle together in small groups of two and three and hold whispered conversations. There are lots of sideways glances. When someone talks on the phone, they cup the mouthpiece in their hand so that no one can hear what they’re saying. When someone’s cell phone rings, they look to see who it is and quickly get up from their desk and move to a secluded spot. I just taught a Vice President how to use a jump drive and download her Outlook contacts.

* * *

My headhunter phoned this afternoon. “Are you sure you don’t want to take this position? You might be able to grow it into something different.”

I’m sure.

* * *

When I was a teenager, while scrutinizing my face in the mirror, I mistook my tear duct for a blackhead and squeezed it. Now THERE’S a mistake I haven’t made twice.

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