My kids used to force me to play a game called, “Would You Rather?” It involves making a forced choice between two far-fetched but totally unacceptable choices. It’s a stupid game – grotesque and puerile – and thus highly entertaining to most children. Here are a few actual examples of ‘choices’ I’ve been press-ganged to make: Would you rather lick the inside of five public toilet bowls or eat ten live caterpillars? Would you rather abstain from bathing for three months or have uncontrolled flatulence in the middle of your wedding ceremony? Would you rather chew raw meat daily for a year or live in a pig pen for a week? I think you get the idea.
So, here’s a real-life “Would You Rather?” Would you rather scream out loud and pull down your pants in front of a crowd of baffled strangers on the New York subway or have a diseased street rat crawl inside your pants and scratch and bite you? Well, if you’re lucky hotel supervisor, Ann Vargas, you don’t have to make a choice! You can pick both experiences! Here, in her own words:
“I thought it was my pants moving, it just crawled up my leg. I shook it and nothing came out. I said, ‘Oh, my God — it’s an animal on my leg!’ He was very big. I was shaking, but nothing was coming out . . . I had to pull my pants down in front of everyone on the train.”
I hope you’ll agree there is something particularly troubling about a woman undergoing this kind of mortification. Something tells me a lot of dudes would find it pretty hilarious to have to ‘drop trou’ on public transport, but I bet the memory of this freak show will be seared into poor Ms. Vargas’ brain for quite some time. Maybe Mr. Bloomberg’s next public health move after the sugary soft drinks should be some pestilence remediation.