The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Yelling

Ladies and gentlemen! May I have your attention please! Ignore me and continue reading your books! I do not want to interrupt! I am not a panhandler!

You might be wondering why I’m yelling! In this subway car! In short declarative sentences! It’s a medical condition! Similar to Tourette’s! It causes one to constantly yell! Like a panhandler! 3,000 people are cursed with it in the continental United States alone! There is no cure!

I’m not asking for money! Nor do I want to talk about Jesus! It’s not that I’m not religious! You have to be, a little, if you have this syndrome! Sometimes praying is the only way to get through a day! Though I do have doubts about the existence of a supreme being! About why a kind and just God would do this to me! But also when I was a teenager I was kicked out of church! Because of the constant yelling! And also because I stole some change from the collection plate!

That was a one-time thing! People make mistakes! Stop giving me your change! This isn’t a clever ruse to get charity! I have a high-paying job on Madison Avenue! I work for an understanding boss named Jimmy Peach! I know the name sounds fake! I don’t know the ethnic provenance of “Peach!” It’s possibly Irish! Whenever I think to look it up I’m never near a computer!

Thank you for the change sir! But again, I don’t need it! And you dropped it into my coffee! Which was rude! It’s expensive single-source coffee! That I can easily afford! Because of the job I definitely have! I know I should have put a lid on the cup! I’m trying to be sustainable! Global warming is much more important than my coffee or my condition! Some things are bigger than you!

I will use the change you’ve given me! Only in this instance! To buy another coffee! Not because I need the money! Because of the general principle of the matter!

It’s okay to stare at me! I understand! Sometimes I gawk at handicapped people! Out of morbid curiosity! I feel terrible about it! I wonder how they go through their lives! Though I suppose human suffering is relative! My life is a tremendous struggle compared to all of yours! I can’t sleep at night! It’s impossible for me to keep a secret! Or to stage whisper! I couldn’t even attend my best friend Mark’s funeral!

I also don’t know what to do with all the change I’ve been given! I’ve collected so much over the years! Hundreds of pounds of useless change! I have to buy large bins to hold it all! I’m running out of room in my apartment! It’s too heavy for me to carry it all to the bank! I have a wrist condition! I can’t have it looked at! Doctors’ offices are incredibly awkward for me!

There’s no need to shield your child from me! I’m looking at you ma’am! I love children! I want a few myself one day! If anyone ever loves me despite my yelling! Although children’s ears are sensitive! And my excessive volume makes them cry!

Of course it’s not that big of a problem! Some people have it much worse! In many ways my condition is a gift! Because of the empathy it’s given me! And people give me a considerable amount of personal space while riding public transit!

This is my stop! Thank you for listening! And for the change! Even though I totally don’t need it! God bless! TC mark

image – Shutterstock

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