I have a great idea for a new quality-of-life, public relations campaign for the city. It's called "Excuse Me New York." Maybe it's the inhumanly frigid temperatures we've been enduring, or fatigue with the war, or maybe New Yorkers are just genuine bastards, but I have decided that something needs to be done on a city-wide scale. Because these people are jerks.
The idea behind "Excuse Me New York" is to get people to say "excuse me" to their fellow citizens. The brilliance of this campaign, and the reason I'm convinced that it's destined for success, is that it encourages people to excuse themselves in one of two ways, which almost everyone will be willing to do: 1) the genuine, polite, decent way, the way that adults excuse themselves to avoid social embarassment and promote a civil society, or 2) the snarling, more acidic way, barking the phrase to gently remind the other person that he or she is an asshole. New Yorkers would be completely willing to support this campaign. Many of them already do.
Here are some examples of how this campaign would work, taken from my own life: To the girl in the library snacking on snap peas or something, chewing so loudly and violently that I couldn't concentrate on my reading: Excuse me. To the man at Chipotle in the unnecessary cowboy hat, reaching over the glass sneezeguard to point at (and into) the burrito ingredients he wanted: Excuse me. To the woman who barged into me at the gym, and, moments later, tossed her nasty sweat-towel towards me in a misguided attempt to put it in the bin: Excuse me, and get some glasses.
So you see what I'm saying. "EMNY" is going to be big in 2007, and it will really fill a void here in the city. If you want a t-shirt or a bumper sticker or something, let me know. Don't forget: Excuse Me New York.