Day 515: Strangeness on a train

"Do you feel a draft?"

A young man approached me on the subway today holding a paper attached to a clipboard. At the top of the paper was a logo for an Ajax basketball team and he had a list of sponsors handwritten on the form below.

He held out a pen and explained that his high school basketball team had reached the semi-finals and they were trying to raise money to travel to Detroit for a tournament. I wasn’t sure if he wanted me to sign up as a sponsor for the team or just give him cold hard cash.

Then the lightbulb went off and I realized the clipboard and the pen were just props. Not that I didn’t believe his story. I think he really was collecting for a basketball trip, but as crumpled and homemade as it looked, the team letterhead and the sponsorship form did add a certain je ne sais quoi to his tale. So I gave him what I could and wished his team luck.

Now I’ve been asked a lot of things on subways but that was the first time I’ve been asked to help out a b-ball team. And if that wasn’t unusual enough. About two stops further along, a young red-haired guy took off his pants before my very eyes, revealing a rather, um, vibrant pair of red, black, yellow and orange boxers.

Toronto commuters are a pretty unflappable lot, so we all just looked at him for a sec then politely went back to staring off into space. After he got off the train, a fellow passenger explained that she’d heard on the radio that it was a stunt to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

I don’t know about that, but here’s a video for a similar “No Pants” event (from the group Improv Everywhere) that took place last year in New York City.

(I have to say, I admire the loyalty of any group that can convince its members to remove even one article of clothing outdoors in January.)


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