One of the great attributes of my modest apartment is its proximity to Astoria Park – a 65 acre public park complete with an Olympic swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball hoops, children’s playground, Bocce ball court, a nice track and lots of paths for runners and walkers. Unfortunately some of the people that frequent the park are slobs.
This morning while running (circa 7:00am) I noticed a man littering. This was not your typical New York homeless person either - just your average, run of the mill jerk tearing pages out of a calendar book and callously tossing them on the ground as he meandered past the many garbage cans that line the pathways.
I don’t know if it was civic duty, moral arrogance or if I was just tired and grumpy but I couldn’t resist. As I passed this litterbug I looked him straight in the eye and said four little words:
“Use A Garbage Can.”
This set him off in a huge way and he launched into a verbal tirade that would even make Andrew Dice Clay blush. He shouted just about every curse and profanity in the book at me. I am sure he offended all the nearby dog walkers and the good folks doing Tai Chi halfway across the park with his high decibel verbal refuse. Had he been able to keep up with me he probably would have tried to take a swing at me too.
Personal safety aside, was I wrong to address this man’s behavior?
"I have found little that is good about human beings. In my experience most of them are trash."