Volume 73, Number 40 | February 04 - 10, 2004

Notebook


‘Queer Eye’, customized; stuck on ‘PEOPLE SUCK’

By Wilson

Have you seen this sticker? Did you pay $1 for one?

One of the many recurring characters in the Village who can be found working on the streets near Cooper Sq., Astor Pl. and St. Mark’s and Third Ave. (where there’s a McDonald’s that serves as a homeless shelter/mental institute) is this con artist I call “Mean People Sucks.” (He and the conniving and scary “Animal Rights” lady often share the same corner.)

“Mean People Sucks” hustles these stupid, square, no doubt stolen-from-the-workplace stickers that say “MEAN PEOPLE SUCK” in white capital letters on a black background. At first he appears to be handing out a free flyer, but then, in pure “rope-a-dope” fashion, he manages to push the damn thing into your hand, claiming, “That’s a dollar donation.” Doh!

I don’t recall the details of our first encounter (I’m sure I felt like an idiot), but the second time I ran into “Mean People Sucks” was the winter we had, like, 17 blizzards. It was freezing cold outside, yet there he was again. Now, there is no way I look like a friendly and approachable person. I walk fast, wear black and need massive amounts of Botox due to excess frowning. But somehow “Mean People Sucks” got in my face.

“Heyyyyy, Baby?” he begged with a disgusting leer, pushing his sticker into my personal space. “The Weather Channel” said the wind-chill factor outside was minus 8 degrees, but I just about went Krakatoa. With great melodrama and flourish, I grabbed the sticker out of his hands, jumped over a mountain of snow, and got the hell out of there, hoping I wouldn’t get shot, stabbed, hit on the head or killed. I was fueled, moving fast, and heard him go “Heyyy!” like I hurt his feelings or took away his toy. Unharmed and empowered, if I may use one of today’s more irritating words, I yelled back, “Well, I’m Mean, and I Suck!” I felt like Linda freakin’ Hamilton in “The Terminator.” I ruled.

Since then — he never learns/has got some nerve — I’ve snatched at least a dozen or so stickers from this operator. And I see it all over the place, on bumpers, backpacks and buildings. In one episode of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” it was on the front door of a longhaired artist. I even saw it refashioned into a patch, stitched onto an “I have a persona” jacket worn by some tragic N.Y.U. student.

Another time, I saw this couple with a baby in a baby carriage, and on the carriage were the black-and-white, block-lettered words: “PEOPLE SUCK.” This wickedly brilliant and witty family had savagely chopped off the word “MEAN” from their MEAN PEOPLE SUCK sticker!

Totally impressed, I immediately got to work on my own PEOPLE SUCK sticker for the front door to my apartment so people would think a crazy person lived there. Hey, if that “Queer Eye” guy lived in a dangerous building, he’d do the same thing. (I once made a citizen’s arrest; it was so insane….)

Every so often, I feel compelled to hide or disguise my PEOPLE SUCK sticker. Last Thanksgiving, I heard the couple across the hall’s little niece and nephew chanting, in unison, “people suck, people suck, people suck!” all the way down six flights of stairs. I was mortified and appalled. Who knew they’d learned how to read? They usually only sounded like livestock being slaughtered.

Now when I suspect they’re going to make a visit, I cover up the PEOPLE SUCK with a more socially acceptable, yet far scarier catchphrase, IN GOD WE TRUST.


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