Moses is American Express.
He’s not Visa, he’s not Mastercard, and he’s sure as hell ain’t no Discover Card. No, Moses is most definitely American Express.
I have no idea what this means, but I have it on good authority from a raving psychotic who accosted me on Broadway far too early one morning last week.
I remember when Karl Malden did a series of commercials for the American Express card back in the Seventies that ended with the line “don’t leave home without it,” but he never said anything about Moses.
Anyway, this strange little incident happened on one of my gym days in lower Manhattan where I’m up and on the road before the sun has even brushed its teeth.
I was walking up Broadway to the New York Sport Club’s City Hall gym for my 7am boxing class. It was cold, dark, and windy, and I had my hood pulled up over my head and my eyes aimed down at the sidewalk.
I sensed someone behind me as I walked by St. Paul’s Chapel and then I heard a voice coming from over my shoulder.
“Moses is not who you think!”
Moses is not who I think? No offense, but I honestly don’t think about Moses much during the course of the day.
It’s nothing personal. It’s just that I have a lot of things to do and pondering over a man who wandered the desert 3000 years ago isn’t high on my list of priorities.
I slowed down and moved to my right to let this fellow get ahead of me. He was young with some kind of colorful skullcap and fairly decent clothes, so I don’t think he was homeless. Nuts, yes, but not homeless.
He continued ranting about something I didn’t quite understand and I thought this would be an excellent time for us to part company.
Roll the Credits
As I moved toward my left for a detour down Vesey Street, my new companion moved in front of me and I got the distinct feeling he was trying to block my way.
Broadway was eerily devoid of life at that time of the morning, a striking contrast to the bustling scene it would be in just an hour or so when the sun would be up and these empty streets would be crammed with people and traffic.
At that moment, though, I was very much on my own.
The fellow kept rambling and throwing looks over his shoulder, directing his gibberish in my direction. The gym was a few doors away and, as I got closer, he started moving toward me, jabbering the whole time.
I was getting a littler nervous. I love my boxing class but I certainly wasn’t itching for a street brawl. It was unnerving the way he seemed to single me out, as if I had wronged him in some way.
Where’s Karl Malden when you need him?
And I mistakenly tried to apply logic to the situation, wondering what I had done to him. But he wasn’t thinking logically. He wasn’t thinking at all.
“Moses is American Express,” he suddenly shouted as if he had discovered the meaning of life. “Moses is American Express!”
He made some kind of gesture at me and marched up Broadway while I checked into my gym and tried to put him out of my mind.
I accept the fact that roving lunatics are a part of big city life and even Mayberry has its share of nutbags. But its unnerving to be the target of some freak’s random rage.
I need to be more aware of my surroundings, especially at that time of the morning. Moses can take care of himself.