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  • Jerry Della Femina

DEATH BY CHINESE DELIVERY MAN



I’ve reached that age where I have these fears of what will eventually kill me.


My mind seems as sharp as ever, although the other day I went to unlock my front door and instead of reaching into my wallet for a key I found myself taking out my American Express card and trying to figure out where to insert the card so the door would spring open. It was only a few seconds, but I took it as a sign.


On the positive side, I’m happy to report I solved all my memory issues a long time ago.


For a few years I was concerned because whenever I couldn’t answer an important question like “What was the name of the actor who played the piano player in the movie Casablanca?” or “How many bases did New York Yankee Snuffy Stirnweiss steal in 1944 to lead the American league?”, I would ask my friends seated around the table with me at lunch, and one or two of them would suddenly bow their heads and appear to be staring at their crotches.


After a few seconds they would look up and brightly say, “Dooley Wilson was the piano player” or “Snuffy stole 55 bases.”


Was the answer to every question resting in their crotches?


Then I discovered that they weren’t staring at their crotches – they were staring at their cell phones, which they had secretly slid out of their pockets.


And that’s when I too discovered Google – the old person’s friend.


If you’re old and you can’t remember, Google has the answer to everything.


My motto is:


Why think when you can Google.


So I’m in pretty good shape.


My friends even tell me that when I walk I have a youthful spring to my dragging, shuffling steps.


Now it seems to me that at this point in my life the only things I can do to live longer center around exercising, giving up alcohol, or eating tasteless food.


These are alternatives that I won’t consider for even a minute. Death seems so much better than jogging.


So the only thing left for me is to try to avoid getting run over by a bicycle. Yes, this is my greatest fear. Let me tell you why.


To begin with, along with millions of baby boomers, I’ve reached that point where my bones have the consistency of Rice Krispies.


A broken hip at my age is the beginning of the end.


And whom do I feel will break my hip and send me to meet my maker?


It’s going to be one of those tens of thousands of Chinese delivery men, wearing baseball caps, who pedal their broken-down bikes around New York City every Sunday night.


On Sunday nights in New York City, thousands of people who are too lazy to cook call for a food delivery from hundreds of restaurants. The food, ranging from gluten-free Chinese spring rolls and General Tso’s chicken to Szechuan spicy beef to pepperoni pizza, is put in the hands of these Chinese delivery gentlemen, who will go through fire to make sure the food reaches its final destination – your stomach.


Tons of food seems to be delivered by tens of thousands of Chinese gentlemen who speak no English and seem to only pedal their bikes against traffic. They don’t swerve to avoid taxicabs or Ubers. Instead, they fix their “Night of the Living Dead” stares and aim their bikes at the grills of taxis or Ubers traveling at them at 50 miles an hour on narrow streets. Taxis and Ubers, I might add, that are being driven by foreign people, many of whom have never driven on a paved street, and like their Chinese counterparts speak no English.


It’s scary. These are nice, hard-working Chinese delivery men who have been smuggled into the country to be the “Delivery Men from Hell.” In the end, they unwittingly will kill more Americans than their countrymen from the Chinese mainland who keep sending us only slightly poisoned food.


The other night, I got out of a cab after a ride with a driver from Afghanistan who drove as if he had been commissioned by the Taliban to kill me. As I got out of the cab I felt something brush against me. I jumped out of the way and thus missed, by inches, having my hip or leg broken by a zombie on a bike carrying bags of spareribs to some Park Avenue destination. It was raining and the advertising man in me borrowed a slogan for the Chinese delivery men to chant:


“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds to deliver Moo Goo Gai Pan to the starving masses.”

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