I love the word "melee." It gives a dignified and European air to what is otherwise a tawdry spectacle of teenage loathsomeness. I am quite behind the times in reporting and discussing our Very Own Local Melee, but I hope readers will forgive. The concept of 50 or 60 teens brawling in the streets--and that's a large number of nasty post-pubescence in one city block--effortlessly reduces my property value to a pile of poo-poo pellets. I can be forgiven, yes, for retiring into a short funk?
Plus, I really look forward to the day when my sons, whose nicknames may as well be Caspar and Whitey, get to go to New Ro high school and spend most of their days avoiding beatings and brawls. Is this ignorant and racist of me to say this? I really don't give a crap; I don't want poor little Caspar and Whitey (who will be big, strapping Caspar and Whitey by then) to get swept up in any sort of "melee" whatsoever. I don't want to send them to some hoity-toity 100% whitebread private school either. There must be a nice, normal school...somewhere...anywhere.
Anyway, everyone is calling this delight a "melee," or at least the local Journal News is, in repeat news stories that discuss the police presence or lack thereof. When I think of melees, I think of cocktail parties with a heavy-handed bartender and too few cheese platters. Or maybe a herd of bovine animals, milling about and gnawing at one another in a desultory fashion. Clearly, I had it all wrong. A melee can be quite violent! It can result in an overexcited teen thrusting his arm through a plate-glass window in the heat of battle!
In other teen news, New Rochelle has a well-known Haunted House that runs every weekend in October, and it's not far from where I live. I thought it would be cute and campy to attend this year, until we drove past on Saturday night and saw a virtual melee of New Ro youth waiting to get in, tossing their McDonalds wrappers hither and thither, guzzling sugary soft drinks, and sneering fitfully at one another. "That doesn't look so fun," said I, but I still thought I might go with a friend or two who are visiting soon. After all, what's Halloween without a few bats, a bubbling cauldron, and a few out-of-work actors dressed up as mummies and zombies?
"Um," said husband, "I can guarantee that that haunted house is like SAW FOUR and THE HILLS HAVE EYES kind of stuff. Like, they will be out to scare the living BeJayzus out of you."
"It won't be like the Grange Hall in Norwich, Vermont?"
"No, it will not be."
I am starting to really dislike New Rochelle.