General Absolution Do-Overs
In the old days, a hindu was a do-over. You’d be playing some game and if a ball hit a crack or a stick and went out of play, somebody would call “hindu” and it meant you had to do the play over again.
Why hindu? Well, what’s Hindu known for? Among other things, at the top of the list is reincarnation, probably the biggest do-over of all time. So, when the ball hit the crack, you couldn’t expect street kids to yell “reincarnation!”
Do-over has three syllables and hindu only two. Abbreviation is a way of life, especially in New York, where you can tell a story but you gotta land the plane. You can’t waste breaths and syllables. Nobody in the history of driving has ever taken the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive. The George Washington Bridge is the George or the GW. The Verrazano is too long even after dropping Narrows. There’s a nickname for it but it has four syllables and is an ethnic slur and I’m not telling you, you’ll just have to ask around. I guess I’ll have to check with my Gen-Z family members if using Hindu was a bad thing.
Anyway, John F. Kennedy became JFK and Laugh Out Loud is LOL. Even here, Beach 129th Street is “twenty ninth.” Same with Beach 116th, original Rocks still call it Sixteenth. Oh, and it’s the Marine Park–not parkway¬–Bridge. Shorter is better.
Which brings me back to hindu, which seems to have gone the way of box ball. Or I guess it’s been reborn as a mulligan. Although it’s been a golf term for a long time, mulligan is now used for a do-over in all walks of life.
Which brings me to the pandemic. My advice? Consider granting mulligans to keep yourself sane.
I know, I know, some people were born mean and rude. As infants they’d give you the death stare. They can’t speak a word of English but they’re saying loud and clear: Once I’m able to walk, once I’m out of these diapers, I’m gonna let you have it. The kid’s a timebomb.
Those kids grow up getting a million second chances they don’t deserve.
But I’m talking about normal, calm, reasonable people who, well, have lost it in the last few months. I know a guy who was jogging in Brooklyn, when a young woman across the street yelled at him, “You asshole, wear a mask!” He wasn’t near anyone and there was simply no reason to wear a mask. He could’ve barked back but he wisely chalked it up to her temporary insanity. He jogged on, mentally giving her a mulligan. It was genius.
Hoarders, crazy bike riders, firecracker idiots, conspiracy nuts, shamers, aggressive know-it-alls are just some of things normal people have turned in to, at least on occasion.
The reason? There’s a pandemic and people are stressed. Understandably. So give ‘em a mulligan.
I’m not a walking on sunshine kind of guy but I do feel the effects of reading six years of Be Well Be Happy. I now breathe deeply and give mulligans. But I’m just letting some of you know, I’ve already given you yours.
By Kevin Boyle