Societal Acrimony Hits Home

By Todd Harrison  SEP 28, 2011 9:35 AM

Random thoughts on the stocks, bonds, and equitites.


It was supposed to be our "date" night. With mom called away for business, I had the pleasure of taking my seven-year-old (bonus) twins out for dinner. I raced home from work following a two-hour post-bell meeting and bounced into the apartment, smiling ear-to-ear, ready to hear the laughter of little kids.

They picked the venue (Cinema Cafe on 29th/3rd) and we settled on a table outside, about five spots from the corner. There, over a delicious meal, we enjoyed a heated game of "Truth or Dare." The kids were belly laughing after I stuffed my ample nose deep into the ketchup to fulfill a dare, and left it there for a good five minutes. Sometimes being silly is the quickest way to forget about a long day and a brutal tape.

In the blink of an eye, the first punch thrown. A rather large, muscular man cold-cocked a smaller (but not small) dude -- not once, not twice, but three times -- hard. He then put him in a headlock and continued to wail away until the smaller man fell to the ground. Then the kicking began; to the gut, to the face, in the teeth. There was ample blood, it was gruesome.

I had instinctively jumped out of my seat after the first punch and pulled the children behind me. I wanted to shield them from the carnage but more importantly, I strategically positioned myself between the brawl and the twins. I'm not much of a fighter -- I'm a tree-hugger, actually -- but I'm not a small man either. They would have to get through me before those kids were in danger and that wasn’t going to happen.

The kids were shaken. By the time the police arrived, I had paid the bill and briskly walked them home hand-in-hand. They were clearly upset, as evidenced by the fact that they turned down ice cream for dessert -- a first, as far as I know.

I explained that some people are scared and weak and do things they shouldn’t do, and that life is the sum total of our collective decisions -- and we all possess the ability to “walk away.”  I was reminded of an article I wrote in 2008, The Age of Austerity, when I offered that wearing a suit in NYC could soon be a liability. That's evidently evolved; now it's a liability to sit at an outdoor cafe at 7PM in the evening, enjoying some QT with the family.

Societal acrimony indeed. Our NYC apartment is listed for sale and we're already house hunting in Long Island. As far as I'm concerned, that move can't arrive fast enough.

Random Thoughts


Twitter: @todd_harrison

No positions in stocks mentioned.