The trial was in New York but the Manhattan jury decision Monday spoke, or perhaps grunted, to an oppressive issue that afflicts all Americans. After 10 hours of deliberations, the jury tossed assault charges against a local stockbroker. Christopher Carter had gone a little berserk, acting on an universal urge.
According to the New York Times, Carter, burning up calories in his spinning class, had been pushed over the edge by Stuart Sugarman, another spinner and a clamorous and obnoxious grunter -- we all know the type -- who would punctuate his workouts with very loud exclamations. "Burn it! You go girl!" Carter, after begging him to muffled it, finally exploded, rushed across the room and tossed Sugarman's stationary bike.
The facts weren't much in dispute. But the jury acquitted Carter. The jurors understood. Sugarman's act of vigilantism was an heroic act. He did it for all of us.'
He did it for me. Last week, in my gym, some middle-aged fellow in a yellow head-band, iPod plugged into his ears, was performing an gyrating overzealous boogaloo dance, singing in that afflicting excessively loud manner prone epidemic among iPodians, while watching himself in the mirror. The dancing Narcissist was performing just a few feet from the weight machine where I was tugging away in quiet resignation, working a body that no one would suspect of steroid abuse.
I thought about assault. I know I wasn't alone. Loathing filled the gym. I know now that, at least in New York, a jury would understand.
One juror told the Times that Sugarman got what was coming to him. "I was like, 'Why must he be obnoxious and disrespectful to others?' " Said aloud, it sounds like a manifesto for the new millennium.