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Tones Tall Tales: 2010 NYC Tour

by Chad Putka '12


The bickering Tones, at each other's throats after a long day busking in the NYC subway, are saved by some new-fangled technology.

Our first stop on tour in the spring of 2010 was in Manhattan, where we planned to busk on the street. It was an overcast and chilly day with threats of rain, so we decided to enter the subway system and try our luck underground instead of the usual street corner routine.

When we got to the steps leading down, Manhattan native Kevin Hu ('11) stopped to caution us that once we paid for our subway ride, there was no turning back. We were only going to pay for one subway ride each, which included unlimited transfers. To get our money's worth, we would stay for several hours, but bathroom facilities in the subway aren't plentiful. It would be all Tones, all the time, and if one person needed to address bodily needs of any kind, we would all need to leave the subway system. Together. We agreed that it was time to pass through the turnstiles without really knowing what it was we were agreeing to.

After maybe four hours of limited success, the journey was beginning to wear on us, and nerves were frayed. I'm sure that at least a few of us had been "holding it" for a while, and we were ravenously hungry, too. We decided that it was finally time to come up for air and take a break. Soon after returning to the surface, some kind of argument broke out, stopping us in our tracks on the sidewalk. I don't remember what it was about or who was even involved, but I do remember that in retrospect it was incredibly stupid and petty. At this point, we were tired, hungry, had to pee, and were at each other's throats.

Smartphones were only beginning to become widely used, and Max Mellman ('13), ever the early adopter, had been silently fiddling with his for a while. Just as the spat was reaching a breaking point, he finally spoke up. He said, "There's a Chipotle right around the corner if anybody is interested."


Like a spell being lifted, all arguing stopped immediately. We looked at each other, turned, and began power-walking in the direction of fast food heaven. By the time we had arrived, it was a very different group. We were talking and laughing, all animosity forgotten. We feasted, and there was a clean and functional bathroom there, too! I remember John Andreoni ('11) buying a side order of guacamole and dipping the bagel he had saved from that morning into it, which absolutely blew my mind. After filling up on Chipotle, a few of us even went across the street for some fro-yo at Pinkberry.

We learned something that day. Sometimes, when all seems lost, only Chipotle can bring people back together and restore order. For years afterward, we encouraged the use of the acronym, HALT. When you feel like you want to kill someone, stop and ask yourself, "Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?" Then eat a burrito and hit the little Tones' room. Everything will begin to look a lot better.

L to R: Colin Ahearn '10, Max Mellman '13, Phil Wong '13, Spencer Wight '13, Bud Stracker '12, Chad Putka '12, Kevin Hu '11

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