"Dangerous assumptions," he said.

Today in the elevator of my downtown Syracuse apartment building, a fourth floor tenant noticed the newly-arrived copy of Science in my hand.

"Sciiiience," he said. "That's some dangerous assumptions."

"Even fundamentalist third-world communities have overworked Red Cross tents," I replied.

The door opened and he walked out of the elevator, Bell plastic helmet box in hand. "Dangerous assumptions," he said.

Quite possibly the oddest conversation I've ever had with someone I wasn't dating. I was reminded, after shaking off the bewilderment on the ride up to my floor, of an interview prior to an MTV 10th Anniversary Special from my distant childhood, when Aerosmith performed "Dream On" with a full string orchestra (the great Michael Kamen presiding). The MTV crew had gone to several of the string players asking "Ever heard any Aerosmith?" The general consensus was No, even after 20-some-odd years of, well, you know, movin', groovin', you know, doin' it like a ah, like a sex machine. The look on Steven Tyler's face was classic. "It kinda humbles ya," he said.


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