Evil Forces in the World

Reflections on ''Evil Forces in the World,'' as well as occasional remarks concerning ''Good Forces in the World.''

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Hey Kids,

I feel really under siege, and I’ll tell you why. There are a few reasons. One is that I was literally robbed at gunpoint last night, ca. 2 AM. With a good friend in tow, no less, who had the “good sense” to physically threaten four—yes, four—gun-wielding youths dressed in black. Suffice to say, the friend, an exceptionally smart, good-hearted, generous, and indeed courageous fellow who has officially moved to New Haven for law school as of this writing, was unarmed. And so our fight or flight responses provide deep insights into our respective characters. Once the hoods scurried behind us, with guns in the air and a quick shout of “Don’t Move!,” I immediately started … running, leaving my comrade behind. Because said comrade was without any cash, I figured he’d get away unscathed. Or so I tell myself. But really, I’m a runner—not in the sense of having extremely toned calves and a resting heart rate of 2, but in the sense of being a straight-up nerd. The sensible thing would’ve been to remain in place, and I suppose all manner of kung fu would’ve been no match for the pistol-packing punks (there were, after all, four of them), but I ran. My friend, in stark contrast, ran into harm’s way for the sole purpose of preventing the hoods from taking the cash in my wallet, which seems to be all they wanted. I am, as you’d expect, grateful to have a friend of this caliber. I forgot to mention: they pistol-whipped him, and he had blood running down his face. I tripped—I blame this on my slip-ons, which I wore in lieu of sneakers (because Larry David said that one ought to wear shoes, and not sneakers, with blue jeans, thus leading me to abandon my long-held practice of wearing literally nothing in the way of footwear other than sneakers, even in the dead of winter). I only made it a block and change. Another friend has suggested that I was fortunate, in that they surely would’ve Rodney Kinged me had I led them on a high-speed chase, or perhaps I would’ve been shot. That would be, to say the least, a shame, certainly for my folks. That aside, it would be inconvenient, assuming the bullet failed to kill me. Oy vey, hospital, etc., hassle, hassle. And I’d have missed the chance to see “Animal House” for the twelfth time. Had I been killed, who’d tell me what happened this season on “Radio Free Roscoe”? No one, that’s who.

There you have it: gun-toting teens bent on mugging yours truly, and others, are a force of evil, and they ought to be stopped.

Another reason I feel under siege: cicadas.
Protesters in Manila demanded the right to work in Iraq. Filipino workers, like Bangladeshi workers (with the intrepid Sylhetis very much in a class of their own), have scattered across the globe in search of opportunities. They are the corpuscles that make globalization work, and it’s a crying shame that the Filipino government won’t allow these women and men to go where they’re needed, and where they’ll be able to make enough money to put their families on a solid footing. The Filipino government, alas, can’t be trusted to do the same, plagued as it is by corruption and raw incompetence.