Voices From Down Under
Isn’t it enough that I go underground? That I submerge myself into the bowels of the earth and worm my way through rock and stone just to get to work?
Do I also need to be bombarded from the dark side on the way there?
Ladies and Gentlemen, backpacks and large containers are subject to random inspection by the police.
In the city that never sleeps, apparently the last thing the MTA wants me to do on my way to work is relax and enjoy the ride.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Remember: If you see something, say something. Should you see a suspicious package, person, or activity, do not keep it to yourself. Tell a NYC police officer or an MTA employee. Remain alert, and have a nice day.
It is not uncommon to be subject to one Public Service Announcement after another within a couple of stops. So if I were having a nice day, there it went.
The message is clear: I am living in a dangerous world. And I shouldn’t relax. If I myself were a monolithic power maven trying to control the huddled masses with fear, I’d concoct some more of these.
Wait a minute — they have!
This is a message from the NYC Police Dept. Keep your belongings in sight at all times. Protect yourself. Beware of pickpockets…
Ladies and Gentlemen: Unwanted sexual contact is a crime. If you believe you have witnessed or have been a victim of such an act, notify a NYC police officer.
In preparation for this post, I was all ready to record some of these PSAs when I took the C train into the city last Sunday. There were none, however, only the conductor’s station identifications. What a treat! No intrusions on my neurochemistry. Just the facts concerning where we were and where we were going next, and all by a live person! It felt like a nostalgic trip back to a September 10th world.
But actually NYC subway Public Service Announcements are merely the subterranean piece of the Attack On Attention that has been foisted on us all. The idea is to douse all individual thought with sandbags of collective distraction. You’ve no time to think if you’re constantly being hit by aural or optical stimuli. No wonder greater numbers of urbanites are wearing over-the-ear headphones these days.
And if we are (as I believe) what we eat, or consume, imagine the long-term effects of these announcements on our trust of, or comfort level with, one another.
Which is why (as a public service) I’ve taken the time to rectify this by coming up with some alternative announcements…
Ladies and Gentlemen: Bulging pants and other suspicious packages are subject to inspection by the police. Please do not erotically utilize the train’s vibrating motion, especially on the 7th Ave. IRT express between 42nd and 72nd Streets. Please remember to get yourself off the train, instead of getting yourself off on the train.
Ladies and Gentlemen: this is a message from the NYC Occupy movement: If you see a suspicious activity by a politician or businessperson, do not keep it to yourself. If you see something, say something. Remain alert, and have a nice day.
If you are experiencing the need to go, please keep it to yourself. Do not make a doo doo or a pee pee on the train. Wait for your destination, and do not waste time searching for a non-existent public urinal. Please hold it in, and consider a diaper for your next ride.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please be aware your smart phone, tablet or other electronic device has been specially polished by underage Chinese laborers. As you use them, consider those kids’ curtailed lifespans as well as the outsourced American jobs. Have a nice day.
Please keep in mind, the voices in your head are for your entertainment only. If you feel compelled to spout psychotic babble, or recite degenerate hip-hop lyrics, you will be subject to extensive electro convulsive shock therapy. Bible thumping preachers will be exorcised.
Ladies and Gentlemen, self-destructive behavior like pissing on the third rail is idiotic and may result in a fine, or a fried banana, as well as unwanted sexual advances.
Sexting your fellow passengers while the train is in motion is illegal and may prove difficult to explain later when discovered by your spouse.
And with the number of garbled public announcements by train conductors still hovering somewhere around 90%, it could be possible to hear…
Ladies and Gentlemen: we are experiencing shprrtligoshunhow from an exploding ganaggoolaho. Due to police activity, all passengers are required to immediately plaganufttt! Please ganifooglia and be sure to exit the holyshmagoli or you’ll be subject to random ohmygonesht by the yikesthatsmyfoot. Thank you for your copulation.
Finally, one can imagine what PSA’s might sound like in the future…
Ladies, Gentlemen and Transgendered People, hacking your way into a fellow passenger’s brain is forbidden while the train is in motion.
If you suspect dirty or seditious thoughts on the part of a fellow passenger, do not keep it to yourself. Tell a NYC militiaman or an MTA employee.
Have a nice day.