Last night I ran over to the New York Public Library after work to hear the brilliant polymath Paul Holdengraber interview the even more brilliant polymath, Seymour Hersch.
My wife had arrived early and so secured us seats in the third-row, center. I arrived about twenty-minutes till seven, the time the show was to begin, and settled into my seat.
The average age at a New York Public Library event is Methuselean. Meaning that to three-quarters of the audience I was a young whippersnapper and 23-skidoo. Two older women were sitting behind me. Over their long years they had lost the ability to modulate the volume of their voices.
"You heard about deer ticks," Tillie said.
"Ach," said Millie.
"They're coming into the city. The city should do something. They're coming."
"I heard they're already in New Rochelle." Millie said Rochelle with the slightest bit of a French accent.
"They come in on the backs of raccoons. There are raccoons in Central Park and they all have deer ticks. Mark my words, the city should take this seriously," Tillie continued.
"It's not just deer with deer ticks, then. There are no deer in Central Park," Millie said. "Deer ticks can come in on dogs if they roll in the grass."
That salient fact outraged Tillie.
"Mark my words, the city should take this seriously. They took it seriously when there were coyotes in the Bronx. But the raccoons, they're everywhere."
"I wonder," answered Millie, "who are a raccoon's natural enemies?"
"What you want to bring bears in Central Park to eat the raccoons? The deer ticks will get the bears, too."
"And what do we do with all the bears?"
The evening's discussion was about to begin and Millie and Tillie began to settle down.
The night's speakers were walking onto the stage as Tillie said one more time, "You mark my words. The city should do something."