Macy’s Murderous Escalator

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Stories / Theme / Family /
@K. 2008 06 24

I met Hilary just before I was drafted into the Army. We got married while I was in graduate school after the army. Brian was born just before we moved to Maine for a couple of years so I could teach a bit: recharge my batteries before going back to beating my head against the non-sentient wall of NYU’s PhD program. Hilary got pregnant before I got the job at Colby College, Brian was nearing two when I was illegally fired: after the chairman has persuaded me to remain there teacher for a third and final year: there was no future there for pk, I never expected there to be. (Nearly all instructors bump around the world, the institutions playing hot potato so salaries can remain low and tenure be postponed. Of course the poverty of the newcomers means more pay for the tenured incumbents.) (Of course it’s more complicated than that, but that’s still accurate enough for a cartoon version.)
I founded the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. in 1970. I gave up on any possibility of communication taking place between NYU and pk, I was already offering the public a tool with which all schools (and all kludged-over institutions from churches to governments) could be levered into the dung heap in 1971 when my committee’s behavior at my oral exam made me walk away from NYU “forever.” By 1972 Hilary was begging me to produce some actual income, not just solicit the non-responding public to fund its freedom. By 1973 or so I actually did try a couple of jobs she showed me advertised through her Barnard Placement Bureau. The first of them was assistant director of a 57th Street art gallery. Christmas arrived with Brian a bit older than a toddler, and daddy actually earning an income: a pitiful income, a contemptible income, but an income. Hilary took Brian to Macy’s to shop for Christmas. A chef’s apron for pk the gourmet was one item on her mind.

Macy’s was crowded, very. It was only a few days before Christmas. Hilary was juggling packages. Young Brian was tired, very. He sat down on the escalator step as the escalator approached the next floor down. As Hilary stepped off the escalator she realized that Brian wasn’t coming effortlessly with her. She got yanked backward a bit. Brian’s thigh was caught in the “teeth” of the collapsing “steps” of the escalator as it cycled around like a belt. Brian, age around four, was getting eaten alive. And of course the whole crowed of shoppers was piling up behind them: so Brian was about to get trampled as he got shredded.

I got home from the gallery and was about the sip my first martini when the phone rang. Hilary was calling from the St. Vincent’s Hospital ER. I zipped downtown very fast. (I can’t remember: did I still have the little Yamaha? We’d gotten rid of the Saab. Maybe I took the subway, maybe I juiced the 100 cc twin. Terry Bradshaw was doing something for the Steelers on the ER waiting room TV.
When I was permitted to see my bloody son, he gave me what may have been the worst moment of my life: “Daddy,” he beseeched me, “Am I going to die?” And “No, no,” I assured him, not actually having any idea of the extent of danger of his injuries. (A leg would, even a bad leg wound, shouldn’t be fatal, not while in a modern hospital, but what did I know, I still hadn’t seen the wound. Actually, I Never saw the whole wound, not while it was wounded. The “experts” take over, veil everything.

Luckily my army buddy Michael Melcher was an intern at St. V’s at that time (and his girl friend, Sue, was an intern at St. Lukes. We had friends on staff in two major NY hospitals. Michael was there to spy on the hospital for us, see that they were actually doing their job. Michael was there to help us withstand the unconscionable salesmanship of the specialists who try to sucker you into hiring them to do work that the general staff is perfectly capable of doing well: to pay more, much more, for the same thing, risks involved whether you hire the specialist or not.

OK, when I can I’ll tell about our law suit.
For the moment I merely report the most important detail of this whole set of things: Macy’s paid up: $25,000, a fair amount of money for a four year old to have in 1973: and doubled by the time he was 18, and legally entitled to receive “his” money from the bank the state insisted actually keep it “for him.” But the lawyers research showed that that same escalator had eaten lots and lots of other children before Brian.

Macy’s paid up, and years later, the escalator was still operating in violation of safety laws. So: Macy’s knew it was dangerous, the state knew it was dangerous, the lawyers knew it was dangerous, the judges had every reason to know it was dangerous. Macy’s was never shut down. The stockholders were never jailed. No. Can’t slow the money machine, not matter what the cost.
Well, it cost Brian, it cost his parents … and it’s costing all of us. But we can’t slow the money machine. An eye for an eye justice should allow us victims to install escalators in the homes of the stock holders which will eat their children. Law suits are no solution. They offer false hope until it’s too late.

If the lesson learned were 100% fatal to all societies that have a state and laws and judges and a Macy’s … it would be just fine with me. Actually, I think that that’s exactly what’s in store for us.

Tough nuggies for me that so few acknowledge me being right, but I’m used to it. And the truth will get the last word, no matter what the Constitution, the Times … or pk say.

pk Family, Friends


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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