2001-08-18 / Columnists

From the G-Man by Gary G. Toms

Hey people! Welcome. Thank you for coming to the grand opening of my exhibition, which is entitled "Insensitive Freaks On Display". As you know, I have worked tirelessly this week to bring some of the most fascinating creations to the New York and Rockaway area, and this display will continue with that tradition.

In the past, my exhibitions have featured "The Queen of Mean", Leona Hemsley, Cincinnati Reds owner, Marge Schott, O.J. ("Damn, this knife is dull!") Simpson, former Atlanta Braves pitcher, John Rocker and others. It gives me great pleasure to introduce my three latest works.

The first piece is called " You Take My Breath Away". As you see, it depicts a group of people crammed together on the A train to Far Rockaway during rush hour, but someone has forgotten that deodorant has been invented! How many times have you encountered this unpleasant situation? The stench is so bad it would peel the skin off a potato! The funk just travels from one end of the train car to the other, and the person responsible for this always seems to be oblivious to the fact that they stink. In some cases they are aware, but they just stand there with this sinister grin on their face. You may want to cover your noses as you walk by this display.

I call this next piece "Hip-Hop Hell".

My inspiration for the work came from a letter I received from Larry R. Watson. He is a patient at New York Hospital, who is being treated for cancer of the liver. One evening an ambulette driver, who was accompanied by two others, picked him up and took him back to Rockaway.

While in route the driver was speeding and driving erratically. Watson literally feared for his life. If this wasn’t bad enough, the driver turned the radio on and blasted hip-hop music all the way to Rockaway. When asked to turn it down, he just looked angrily at Watson and kept driving.

The final insult came when the driver pulled over at Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, in the Jamaica section of Queens, and went into a liquor store. Reeling from the chemotherapy, Watson became nauseous and disoriented after being left in the hot van for more than 20 minutes.

When they finally arrived in Rockaway, Watson conveyed to them that he had cancer and demanded an apology for their insensitivity to his condition. They practically laughed in his face, and actually expected Watson to give them a tip.

You will note how I tried to capture the pain, fear and anger in Larry Watson’s face. He not only had to endure the discomfort of chemotherapy, but the inconsiderate actions of three jackasses as well. The display illustrates how certain people "personalize" their positions. These men were wrong to abuse the company’s policies and vehicle, and the fact that the driven may have been intoxicated while driving the van placed Watson’s life in jeopardy. This is the ultimate in insensitivity.

Although my subject could not recall the name of the ambulette service, he remembered that another elderly patient was taken to Crestville Nursing Home before they headed to Rockaway. I can only hope something will be done to punish those responsible for this act.

The final work is called "Parking Pests", and it was developed as result of a letter I received. Gary Heymann is a resident of Rockaway Park who stated, "The parking problem is existent year round, but it is much worse during the summer months with the weekend parking regulations. There are no parking spots available, and those who are able to find a spot usually take up enough space for two cars."

I tried to capture the intense frustration felt by Heymann. Notice the veins protruding from his neck and the crazed look on his face. I’m sure there are many Rockaway Park residents that could’ve modeled for this particular piece. The insensitivity factor exists on two levels, one with the city’s regulations and the other with the "parking hogs" in the area.

So, there you have it. It is my sincere wish that this exhibit would help to correct certain situations that people in and outside of Rockaway may be experiencing on a daily basis. Remember, the world is full of good people and insensitive freaks.

See you next week!

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