Monday, March 13, 2006

MANHATTAN DIARY: Street scene

Brian McMullen offered his services on a whim while
waiting for his wife Monday night on Broadway
5:15 p.m.

UPDATE: After I sent Brian this photo, he emailed back on March 21 to tell me about the rest of his afternoon...

Hi Ron.

Thanks so much for taking the time to send this photo along. (And thanks for the fifteen seconds of blog fame!)

Believe it or not, I ended up with four takers that afternoon. My first "customer," as it were, was a girl in her mid-teens. She approached, smiled, and asked what I was offering, exactly. When I explained that I was simply picking noses, she asked if I'd had any takers. When I said I hadn't, she offered her nose and said, "Okay, let's have at it." As I approached her right nostril with my right pinky, her friend asked, "So are you a performance artist?" I think I was more nervous than she was. (By the way: her nostrils were clean when we started, so it wasn't too gross.)

My second customer was a Japanese teenager who approached me thinking that HE'd be able to pick MY nose for free. As he reached an extended index finger toward my face I chuckled, shook my head, and explained that I'd be the one doing the picking, if he was interested. At this point, maybe a dozen young people had stopped to watch, and several of them urged the Japanese guy to "do it." He thought about it, then I picked his left nostril with my right index finger.

Half an hour later a group of three teenage boys came up and all dared each other to "do it, do it, do it." Two of them finally decided to do it after asking me lots of questions. Were my gloves clean? "If you're waiting for your wife, where's your wedding ring?" (I showed it to them through my latex glove.)

I was out there for about an hour and a half before my wife Katie came by. In that time I had about 50 people take my picture -- four of whom gave me a dollar each to have their picture taken with me. One person had her picture taken with me, then handed me a Christian tract.

I still have my sign. I might "strike again" sometime in the next couple weeks if I find myself hanging around a busy public area with nothing else to do.

With my appreciation and fond memories,
Brian McMullen

2 comments:

Love, Rita said...

Just curious...were there any takers?

Ron Franscell said...

Not while I was photographing him!

Brian was a genuinely nice guy who enjoyed the simple theater of standing there with a ridiculous sign as literally thousands of people walked by ... and you'd think at least one of them needed a professional nose-cleaning, wouldn't you?