This is a weird one.It’s another one of these little plastic dioramas; the series is titled “Street Life In Mainhattan”. You probably can’t make out the details of the rest of the pieces in the set, so let me give you a run-down of some of the highlights of Mainhattan street life. Among other things, there’s a couple guys shooting hoops, a radical skateboarder, a dude with a boombox on his shoulder with two rats nearby dancing a tango, two more rats who have apparently stolen a wheel of cheese and are escaping down a manhole, two cats jamming on the sidewalk with an electric guitar and a trumpet… and our centerpiece, two really sketchy-looking scam artists with a hand-cranked hurdy-gurdy. I’m looking at this, thinking, “Skateboarder dude, sure, boombox, very 80’s, right on… electric guitar and trumpet? Odd, but not outside the realm of possibility… hurdy-gurdy? What?” Is this what Germans think America is like? Hurdy-gurdies? I mean, I’ve only been to New York a couple times and not for very long, but I did live in Pittsburgh for several years, and that’s a reasonably-sized city. Never saw a single hurdy-gurdy*. And look at those guys. They’re obviously up to no good, but what could their scam possibly be? Did they steal the hurdy-gurdy and are busking up some quick bucks before the cops arrive on the scene? Do they lull the crowd into a trance while their pickpocket cronies work their magic? We don’t have pickpockets in America either. We have dudes with guns who ask you for your wallet directly. No beating around the bush. That’s America.
*There was a guy with a giant sombrero, though. And a rather belligerant dwarf with a long beard. He looked exactly like he’d fallen out of a Tolkein book, and was trying to bum enough cash to get a ticket back to the Undermountain.