This will come as no surprise to anyone, but it bears repeating: Our city tabloids are sending us mixed messages. Take today's story about an American Express executive who, when confronted by a homeless person outside of La Esquina, lent him her AmEx card to go on a shopping spree. Merrie Harris trusted that Jay Valentine, an out-of-work man who sleeps in an Internet cafe, would simply return with her card when he bought what he needed. And he did. Is this a heartwarming story? Yes. Should you start lending your credit card to anybody who asks? Heck naw! This is New York City — rich people will rob you blind if you show a moment's weakness.
No matter how many hero stories the tabloids will tell you, here are some immutable truths of New York: Giving credit cards to strangers is a bad idea. Standing up to muggers with guns may be brave, but it will also very likely get you killed. Leaping onto the subway tracks and lying down on top of somebody only works in the minority of cases. (Best to get everyone off the tracks.) And dating Alex Rodriguez might seem like it will make everyone love you, but at the end of the day a bunch of asshole Red Sox fans are just going to end up wearing a mask of your face behind home plate.
Taking one for the team is always appreciated, people, but come on, don't be stupid.