Does it also take a village to properly beat a child’s ass?

Posted on April 26th, 2009 by Amanda in Contribution, Kids

A guest post from

The post-work subway ride uptown on Friday is my favorite of the week. I can always get a seat from the Wall Street stop, as people tend to leave their offices earlier. Because we get to sleep late the next day or have fun weekend plans too large for a cubicle, everyone tends to actually look at each other and even smile.

I don’t consider my workweek over until I’ve tutored my last student, Jing, on Friday night. But I do feel lighter. There’s a zip of camaraderie among passengers, like we’re all in on the same joke or headed to some surprise party someone very high-strung doesn’t know about.

A few Fridays ago, I was sitting on the train, listening to music and feeling good. A couple boarded with their toddler, the human equivalent of a sticker burr, a few stops after mine. He clung to his exhausted mom and howled when put down in his own seat.

I locked eyes with the woman sitting across from me. She was coming from a workplace somewhere near mine and had an easy smile barely hidden by Stranger Face, the public “Just get me where I need to be” face. Neither of us needed to say anything to verify a wavelength. If that kid didn’t shut up, our Friday evening buzz would be seriously harshed, man.

The mom and dad bent over the toddler to shush him. Strangers shot knowing glances as the boy kept screaming. “Just hold him already!” every passenger silently chided. A 2 train hath more judgment than the pearly gates.

Once on his dad’s lap, the squirming child vine fell into a short-lived hush, the calm before the snotty, whining storm. Then he started to scream and thrash like the lead singer of a death metal band.

The woman across from me sent a blinking grimace my way, which I recognized from my days of teaching. In English, it translates to something like, “Do we really need to keep this one alive?”

Does it also take a village to properly beat a child’s ass?

The mom looked ready to throw herself from the train. Meanwhile, the dad whipped out a book and started reading aloud.

Saved! The boy stopped crying, I turned down the music pumping from my headphones, and the woman across from me breathed a sigh of relief. Our subway car was collectively proud of this glorious moment in family literacy.

I was just considering letting myself doze a few stops, when the book’s plot dissolved or the animal characters became unsympathetic or maybe, maybe the boy was just the spawn of Satan.

Face-clawing, opera-singer-birthing-a-large-breech-pony cries.

Now good friends, give or take never formally meeting, I rolled my eyes at the woman across from me. She rolled hers back. The dad acted quickly and gave the toddler an apple, which he promptly bit into.

“Awww… He was hungry,” the fickle audience of passengers realized.

The train surged on in peace. When the boy dropped the apple, everyone braced for the din, but nothing happened. He was curious to see where it rolled and giggled in delight when a girl stopped the fruit’s flight with her foot.

The dad took it from her and here’s where it became really hard not to talk to strangers. The mom retrieved a tissue and some Purell, gave the apple a cursory wipe, and returned it to the boy. He started eating it. Greedily.

Everyone in the car turned against the parents then. Many people avoid touching the subway pole, which is about 3,000 times cleaner than the floor. Ewww! I’ve seen vomit, urine, tracked-in animal waste, and garbage on subway floors. I’d never seen anyone eat off of them.

The woman across from me agreed. She wrinkled her nose. When I mirrored the expression, she had to bite the insides of her cheeks to keep from laughing.

Where better to be disgusting than NYC public transportation? For this family, it was no big deal – just another big, dirty apple.

I shook with laughter until I transferred to the local 1 train at 96th Street, where the woman and I sat across from each other again.

In addition to looks, I almost wish we’d exchanged names.

  • 8 Rider Opinions
  • Tags: , , ,

This website uses IntenseDebate comments, but they are not currently loaded because either your browser doesn't support JavaScript, or they didn't load fast enough.

  1. Nick said on April 27th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    And thats where Craigslist Missed Connections come in! Maybe the parents were trying to boost the child’s immune system? He’s probably vaccinated against every horrible sickness possible now.

  2. ChickenUnderwear said on April 28th, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I guess if you actually talk to a women, you will not get to the having children step for a while

  3. Cindy @ Chicago Custom Suit said on April 28th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Great story. I can’t believe they gave that apple back to the child. Subway floors are so disgusting.


  4. Mz LadyPhoenix said on May 5th, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Not only did this woman pick up the apple from the dirty floor but then wiped it with Purell?!?!? And then proceeded to give it to the kid to eat!?!? Correct me if I’m wrong but that stuff isn’t meant to be ingested is it? Breeders.

  5. Laurie said on May 21st, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    That’s the kind of person that should be put in jail for child abuse, I’m surprised no one reported that. The scary part really isn’t that they gave the baby the apple back, the scary part is that they can still BREED! Cases like that need to have their tubes tied … but there would still be others behind them!!!

  6. Nursery Decoration said on September 4th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    If that child hasn’t gotten sick by now from that apple he probably never will due to a immune system from hell.

  7. cash uk said on December 14th, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Great story telling Amanda.. really liked your narrative..

  8. used tires said on March 9th, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    We need more of these guest posts!



Have something to say? Here's your chance. Post it for all of us to read.

How do I change my avatar?

Go to and upload your preferred avatar.

Flash Back


Tag Cloud

air conditioning apps blackberry board budget bullshit congestion cop doors drunks escalators fare fare hike free ads game girls grand central terminal iphone ipod metrocard MetroCards money mta new york city new york city subway new york times nyc nyc subway nypd open seat subway subway cars subway fares subway platform subways subway service subway station times square Tourists tracks train trains transit transit system turnstile

ss_blog_claim=e1b9eeb8c6812ce0414a86d1c7c3a36d ss_blog_claim=e1b9eeb8c6812ce0414a86d1c7c3a36d