Meanwhile in Manhattan …

birdStep aside, Florida Man. You can’t compete with New York.

So there was this woman in Central Park and this man in Central Park, and they got into this thing, and they became instantly famous.

It happened in a part of Central Park known as the Ramble. So I suppose we could call this Rumble in the Ramble.

They probably haven’t gotten this far in thinking it through, but this incident will no doubt lead their obituaries.

Both have the surname Cooper, so there’s that. One is male, the other female. One is white, the other black. One went to Harvard, the other to the University of Chicago.

And here’s something you won’t see out there in Sheboygan as you watch your soaps and knit ebola masks for the women’s auxiliary fundraiser: One is an investment banker, the other was “a trailblazing queer comic writer.” That’s something you see only in Manhattan.

Of course the incident was recorded. This is 2020. Let’s go to the videotape.

A fellow named Chadwick Moore — isn’t that a great name? — bravely attempts to explain this to people who live in, say, Dubuque in an article entitled, “In Central Park, an unstoppable Karen meets the immovable Karen.”

If you’ve ever smugly pulled out your cellphone to record a confrontation with a stranger, hoping to publicly humiliate that person and even destroy their life, you’re probably a Karen of the worst ilk. Likewise, if approached by an insufferable busybody who lives to scold people minding their own business, and your first reaction is to call the police, you’re also a Karen. Manhattan is filled with Karens, the meme that once referred to the ‘can I speak to the manager’ lady with stacked hair and chunky highlights that evolved into a way to call out any very annoying person who loves rules and tattling.

What’s it got to do with me here in Kankakee? you might ask. Chadwick offers:

It is high Karen season across the country. The coronavirus pandemic has been their time to shine as petty authoritarians feel emboldened to enforce their government’s frivolous rules about masks and social distancing. Not wearing a panty-liner over your face while out for a stroll, you must want people to die, according to the Karen.

But it’s never really about the rules. Karenism is a spiritual malady and New York is such prime Karen territory perhaps because it’s a place that reminds people every day of their own insignificance. Plenty of people feel compelled to assert themselves in the most asinine circumstances to fight that nagging suspicion they actually don’t matter. Finger wagging at a litterbug or fake coughing as you pass by someone enjoying a cigarette is how the Karens reassure themselves that they are, in fact, here and alive in a world that exists only to disappoint.

Be careful out there.

~ Heteroclite

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