From the Editor's Desk

by Tom Graney

Central Park on Mars

In the past, sometimes I would spend part of my lunch hour walking around Central Park. It became a routine and I often would see the same homeless people there. The regulars, if you will. They had their own routines and tended to hangout in the same spots.

One day, I was entering the park by going down a double set of steep stairs when I noticed a homeless woman. I'd seen her before but at the moment she was in some kind of trouble as she was navigating down. She was struggling with a baby carriage filled with all her belongings. It looked like she was in real danger of losing control and taking a quick ride to the bottom.

Truth be told, I wanted to ignore the situation and keep going but I didn’t. I asked if she needed help and she said she did. I took hold of the carriage a few steps ahead of her while she continued to pull back on the carriage’s handle. I was surprised by the weight of the thing and wondered if she had an anvil hidden somewhere in the crazy pile of junk. We proceeded to have a conversation that went something like this:

  • Homeless Woman: Thank you… you must be from out of town.
  • Me: Ah, no, no… I’ve lived here most of my life.
  • Homeless Woman: I see. You must not have a job, then.
  • Me: I’m on my lunch break.
  • Homeless Woman: Oh, then you must be very important. You must own a company.
  • Me: No, no, no… I’m just taking a little break.
  • Homeless Woman: Oh, I see! You’re an asset!
  • I was kind of stunned at this point. She was missing some of her teeth and it took me a moment to understand what she had said. At first I thought she had called me something else.

  • Homeless Woman: Oh, yes! You’re an asset, all right.
  • Me: An asset?
  • Homeless Woman: Oh, yes. You’re very important.
  • Me: I’m not.
  • Homeless Woman: You must be, or they wouldn’t let you dress like that.
  • Central Park on Mars

    Again, I was kind of stunned. Was she ranking on me? I was wearing a dress shirt, pants and shoes. I looked just like any other corporate drone working in midtown Manhattan and here she was dressed like Ragged Ann. The thought of letting go of the baby carriage and letting her take a ride into the pond did flash through my head. I helped her safely to the bottom and then fled. She tried to keep the conversation going which is what I was afraid of the whole time. After all, I sit and talk all day. Twenty minutes of walking alone seemed precious to me.

    After that, I kept seeing her whenever I would walk around The Pond. Each time she would come over and strike up a conversation with me until I stopped going into the park at all. You know what? I am an asset.

    Anyway, here's the partially redone Hollywood Outsider website. I'll get some new reviews up as soon as I can, but, afterall, I am an asset and I'm very busy with very important matters.