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Young Men, Kindly Pull Up Your Pants

Dear Diary:

Place: Seventh Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Time: A recent Tuesday afternoon, blazing hot.

Two men, roughly 18 years old, zigzag on foot between the moms and strollers. Gold chains. Sports jerseys, no sleeves. Shorts sagging. They’re going someplace — fast, and with attitude.

They pass a woman with at least as many years of life behind her as there are degrees on the day’s thermometer. She’s under 5 feet tall.

They zip past her and arrive at the corner.

“EXCUSE ME, YOUNG MEN!” she bellows. Everyone stops and turns. Even the Mr. Softee guy leans out of his truck.

The young men stop. Their chains don’t.

“KINDLY PULL UP YOUR PANTS!” she commands.

Ten years drop off each of their faces. Suddenly they’re guilty kids at the cookie jar. They straighten up.

“YES MA’AM!” they say in unison.

Pants are hoisted. Everyone exhales. The strollers roll on.


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