The Shortcomings of a Modern Dandy

Photo by Internet Archive Book Images
Photo by Internet Archive Book Images

There is nothing spectacular about someone tripping over himself or some other object on the sidewalk. It can happen to anybody. I can’t remember the last time it happened to me, though. I was taking a call on the other side of the street when a man, a self-assured man walked out of a small, but extravagant office building. The few moves he made, the way he glanced sideways and sized up the rush hour traffic on the avenue, revealed absolute coordination and orientation, as if he had rehearsed these moves to perfection for the screen. And then he suddenly disappeared. But not as much as he had wished. Had a car or bus been parking in front of him, I would have only seen him disappear from the waist up, thinking a dog or skateboard had rammed him. But there was nothing blocking my view. With remarkable choreography, he somehow combined an offensive lunge forward and a collapse that mimicked his execution by a well-aimed bullet. On all fours, in that split second of a cliffhanger, he made one last attempt to find his balance and regain some dignity. He instead produced a sideways somersault I had never seen before. It was accompanied by a cuss or cry of a realization that this episode cannot be undone. Four congested lanes couldn’t silence that sound. He collected his phones and sunglasses, and many other items. He tightened his lips and made unwanted remarks to passersby. Older pedestrians hurried away from him. His hair was disheveled and his suit slashed, but not in a sexy sort of way. He then looked in my direction and showed me his middle finger.

Jack Lane