how fabulous — k. r. munson defeats subway preachers with showtunes:
(Note: This is not me. I just think it’s cool.)
This morning I had the most bizarre subway ride. I board the Number 3 train at Grand Army Plaza after 9 a.m. Find a seat, then settle into reading Henry James for class. I hear a womanâ€™s voice gradually rising in volume. She is preaching the â€śLordâ€™sâ€ť word to the train carâ€™s sleepy riders. Of course, I had forgotten the headphones for my subway evil sounds blocking device. The train stops and starts.
The words denigrating â€śgay devilsâ€ť reach my ears. I stand up.
Me: â€śExcuse me, but do you mind keeping your voice down, I am trying to read.â€ť
Preacher Lady: (screams) â€śI got to testify.â€ť
Preacher lady hitches up her skirts and tells me that I am going to hell for interrupting you-know-whoâ€™s word. Two or three OTHER Christian ladies on the train start shouting at me and discussing my prospects as the Devilâ€™s prison bitch. The last straw was a 50 something red faced man in a suit slamming his Bible towards my face.
There was only one thing I could do.
Me: â€śIf you all donâ€™t lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes.â€ť
The other straphangers look at me with stony faces.
I begin to sing.
â€śIts very clear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but forever and a dayâ€¦â€ť
Preacher lady and the Jesus police start mumbling and beseeching G_d to strike me down and boil me in molten tar. (I look better in silver.)
The train reaches Wall Street. Confused subway riders check out the scene. I begin swaying and feeling the music.
The slamming Bible man looks like he is going to pop a blood vessel. â€śI cast ye out, Satan.â€ť
I go into jazz dance crouch and then spring up to belt out, â€śTHAAAAAAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, HAS ME IN A SPELLâ€¦â€ť
Bible man has to get off the train as I wriggle and shimmy. â€śThat same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine!â€ť
Bible man exits. SHOW TUNES 1, FUNDAMENTALISTS 0.
â€śSo when you walk alone and forlorn, and hear that Cadillac horn remember, love isnâ€™t born, its madeâ€¦and thatâ€™s why every window has a window shadeâ€¦bad a biddle be bopâ€¦â€ť
I try to discuss freedom of religion with the ladies, but all attempts at reasonable discourse fail.
By 34th street, the last of the Christian word warriors has left the train. 3 subway riders shake my hand and say, â€śI have always wanted to tell those idiots to shut up! Bless you.â€ť
I am shaking. I donâ€™t know what comes over me at times like this. I only know that I cannot stay silent. I wish that I had my ukulele with me.
At 42nd street, a woman strides into the car and starts PREACHING. The entire car bursts into laughter. I interrupt this new preacher lady and note that she is wearing a flowered straw bonnet.
Me: â€śExcuse me, Maâ€™amâ€¦but I must warn you that there has been a 12 subway stop donnybrook regarding the unwanted intrusion of religious beliefs into our morning commutes.â€ť
Preacher Lady 2: â€śI got freedom of speech! And GOD TELLS ME THAT THE GAY DEVILS ARE CONTROLLING NEW YORK.â€ť
Me: (standing up) â€śIf you do not cease and desist fouling the air with homophobia, I must singâ€¦SHOW TUNES.â€ť
There are now 3 or 4 gay men on the train. They start laughing.
Preacher Lady 2: â€śThe Lawd says you are going to â€¦â€ť (litany of punishments that would be fun with the right person).
Me: (sings) â€śThe Girl that I marry will have to be, as soft and as sweet as a nurseryâ€¦ the girl I call my own, will wear diamonds and laces and smell of cologneâ€¦â€ť
One of the boys on the train starts to harmonize.
Preacher Lady 2 makes her way down the car, pointing and exclaiming, â€śI have met the devil right here!â€ť
Me: (sings) â€śWhatever Lola wants, Lola getsâ€¦â€ť
Dancing around the subway poles and doing my best Gwen Verdon kicks, I feel the spirit in me.
I close with â€śPennies from Heavenâ€ť and make sure to get the Jazz Hands in for good measure.
As Preacher Lady 2 runs to the next car at 72nd Street, the doors open, a perfect end of song button for my gay pointing gesture.
The subway riders break into applause and I bow. Rock on.
Several straphangers whisper, Happy New Year to me in Hebrew.
An Orthodox lady hands me an orange.
I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
This was written by K.R. Munson
Please give credit when quoting this material.
Please don’t steal my stuff.
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