Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nanny and Ninny City: Land of 1,000 Insane Regulations

Today I drove to Manhattan with some visiting relatives. I hate driving into the city because it is always such a hassle to find a parking spot, but the upside of being there is the ability to tour grand museums and sample food prepared by master chefs.

My visitors brought kids and we all decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is an amazing place filled with inspiring works of art; some of the pieces date back 6,000 years and there are huge rooms filled with paintings by such masters as Van Gogh and Degas.

After finally finding a parking place that was only a 10 minute walk from the museum, we nearly ran to its entrance as 1/2 of our party desperately needed a bathroom. While the others were using the facilities, I went to pay the entrance fees.

At the Metropolitan Museum of art, visitors have to wear a small pin that indicates they paid admission.  A child's fare is far cheaper than that of an adult and being in the company of 2 newly turned teenagers, I paid for 3 adults and 2 kids.  To my surprise, I received only 3 pins. When I asked about the 2 additional pins, I was informed that it is museum policy to restrict these pins to only adults because children can place such pins into their mouths and choke on them. I tried reassuring the clerk at the front desk that these kids and too old for such concerns, but he remained firm and told me that he is not comfortable endangering the lives of innocent kids.

Not wanting to see the disappointment on my nieces faces, I searched for a way to overcome his idiotic obstructionism. The guy I was dealing with seemed to be in his early 20's and I looked around for someone else who was wiser and better capable of handling responsibility, to attempt reasoning with.  I found an intelligent appearing older woman who was sitting behind a whole bowl of these pins, showed her my receipt for 5 admission tickets and told her that I would like 2 more pins for the teen girls. Kids under 12 qualify for the reduced fare, and my nieces are 10 and 11, respectively.  With a pleasant smile, she said that she cannot in good conscience give such pins to these girls for fear of a lawsuit, but instead offered me a family friendly paper flyer to give to them instead of a pin. I should have asked her if she feared a lawsuit based on age discrimination or perhaps one resulting from the possibility that someone might choke on this flyer, but I just shook my head in disbelief and quietly left.

NYC is has truly become a place of insane regulations taken to insane extremes. In the Summer, I cannot swim or even wet my feet at any of the public beaches because the residents of NYC are too dumb and helpless to enjoy the water without the benevolent presence of a lifeguard. At 5 PM, lifeguards go home and legions of fat park-security guards roam the beaches whistling at anyone who dares to approach the water. Any argument, even from someone dressed in rolled up pants so that he might enjoy walking in ankle deep water, will result in a call for police intervention and further threats. As someone who works during the day and can only come to the beach after 5, I am regulated to sit on the sand and stare longingly at the cooling water that lies beyond my reach.  Now in museums, teenagers cannot be trusted to wear a pin, because they might for some inexplicable reason start choking on these pins.

Here is a photo of this unforgivably super dangerous and deceptively appetizing pin.

What's next? Will there be a civil servant watching me in the bathroom stall for fear of something or other?


Please, leave us alone with these needless nanny rules and stop treating everyone as if he is some blithering idiot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I just recently went to the met museum with two of my friends and we are all 16years old. So it's not teenagers they're afraid to give pins to but rather adolescents. Nonetheless I am not defending their insane policies and regulation. Just letting you know for future references.