Sunday, February 3, 2008

My Crazy Half-Nekked Wife

I am married to an unusual woman. She has strong beliefs and battles injustice as fearlessly as any comic book hero. She glows with the charisma of a drunken aurora borealis. She grabs life by the horns and honks loudly. She is married to a man who boldly mixes metaphors.

Last week, she was honking that horn on Wall Street, in front of the entrance to The New York Stock Exchange. Stocks were volatile and brokers were dropping like flies, so PETA came up with a quick slogan about protecting your ticker by becoming vegetarian. (Vegetarians, and especially vegans, have a fraction of the risk of heart disease than do consumers of animal-products.) The idea was to get someone to do something newsworthy out front of the Stock Exchange and pass out vegetarian starter kit pamphlets. Something to attract attention of both passers-by and the press. My wife readily agreed and now I have a funny picture of her in a lettuce-clad bikini parading up and down Wall Street in 30-degree weather.

Yes, 30 degrees, as in "below freezing and windy." My crazy half-nekked wife did this for an hour on two subsequent days, passed out hundreds of brochures, took dozens of pictures, and became the imaginary girlfriend of who-knows-how-many armed guards and financial drones.

Sometimes these demonstrations are met with resistance from New York police officers. They admonish the participants to keep moving, stop blocking the sidewalk, move their box of literature, etc. But not in this case.

Since 9/11, the streets in front of the stock exchange have been blocked off and posted with armed officers in complete riot gear: helmets, flak jackets, machine guns, shields, tear gas, catapults, jousting lances, breath-right strips. These guys are ready for the worst but bored as hell. In a neighborhood full of stock brokers, bankers, and tourists taking pictures of stock brokers and bankers, nothing much ever happens. So an hour-long visit by a crazy half-nekked woman in a salad suit is a welcome distraction.

A month earlier she did a similar thing out front of the Mars Candy Company headquarters in Manhattan. Apparently, the Mars Company performs cruel tests on animals to find out what would happen if you shoved too many M&Ms into your eye or something. So a handful of volunteers made themselves up like M&Ms of different colors and held protest signs. That event scored a story and a picture on the cover of New York Metro. Crazy Half-Nekked Wife is the one looking at the camera in the shot below.

Like many people, I used to think this kind of stunt by PETA was stupid and made animal rights people look foolish. But the theory behind it is that you can't get the word out if media won't cover you and you can't get the media interested unless you do something outlandish. PETA does something crazy, the media shows up, they write a story which contains info about animal cruelty, and everyone goes home. The success of this strategy is undeniable as PETA has changed more laws and attitudes than any other animal protection group. In the end, people scoff at PETA but learn about animal abuse and what they can do to change it. I have to admire their self-sacrificing commitment to a higher cause.

I also have to admire my crazy half-nekked wife's resolve to freeze her cabbage off to open a mind or two. At the very least, she got a few cops thinking about the salad bar.


Atypical Accountant said...

whoa! -30 degrees with wind chill! gotta' hand it to you wife. she's 1 brave lady.

know wat u mean abt the biz district, nothing but suits there ... didn't know tourists are interested in blue tops n black slacks. maybe i shld start taking pix of myself n autograph them ... maybe worth something, you reckon?

anyways, kudos to your wife! lady's GOT guts (oops ... that's non-vegan ... err ... i mean salad?)

greg oakes said...

hotness in the coldness... wow!! :) you're one fortunate man dan!! so... didya do anything fancy with that lettuce-clad bikini afterwards? eh?! ;) ahem, sorry.

julie said...

but the real question is: was the salad organic? ;)

hope you guys are well, and hope she doesn't catch any of the really nasty flu/virus things that have been going around.

stay warm! drink some tea!

Sean said...

That's a fine crazy half-nekkid woman you've got there.



Good post. It't the YEAR OF THE RAT OR MOUSE here in Taiwan, and I made the mistake of eating some stewed rat meat, sugar cane field rats, in Taiwan last month, and the media quoted me on how I liked the food, and it was pubbed in the Reuters story online, and then we heard from PETA in Taiwan:

From: Rochelle Regodon [mailto:]
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 10:49 AM
To: Rochelle Regodon
Subject: News Release: Group's 'Year of the Rat' Plea: Give Rats Something to Celebrate

Importance: High

For Immediate Release:

January 30, 2008


Intelligent, Social, and Much-Maligned Animals Deserve Kindness, Says PETA

Taipei — As people around the world prepare to ring in the Year of the Rat, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia-Pacific (PETA) is calling on everyone to treat rats with kindness and respect. Why? Because rats are intelligent, sensitive, and friendly animals who bear the brunt of human fears and prejudices and often end up painfully trapped, poisoned, and killed. PETA contends that people who learn about or come to know rats find out just how sweet, affectionate, and clean these animals can be.

Consider the following facts about rats:

· In Imperial Chinese culture, the rat is the first of the Chinese zodiac's 12 animals. People born in the Year of the Rat are said to possess the rat's qualities of creativity, honesty, generosity, ambition, and the ability to get along well with others.

· Rats are social animals who become attached to each other, love their families, and enjoy playing, wrestling, and sleeping curled up together.

· Rats are fastidiously clean animals who groom themselves throughout the day—they naturally have a pleasant perfume-like scent.

· Rats are smart and can learn to recognize their names and respond when they are called.

· Rats' and humans' psychology is similar in many ways. A 2007 study found that rats possess metacognition (the knowledge or awareness of one's own cognitive processes). This mental ability was previously only found in primates.

· Rats laugh and express joy. Recent studies have shown that when rats play or are playfully tickled, they make chirping sounds that are strikingly similar to human laughter. Rats who live with people often seek touch play or tickling, in much the same way that dogs and cats do.

As more laboratories are doing business in Taiwan, PETA is also calling on people to boycott companies that conduct cruel experiments on rats, such as Mars, Inc., the maker of M&M's, Snickers, Twix, Dove, 3 Musketeers, Starburst, and Skittles. Mars recently funded a deadly experiment in which rats were force-fed by having plastic tubes shoved down their throats and then had their legs cut open.

"As the Year of the Rat approaches, people around the world can open their hearts to these small animals and come to know them as complex beings who deserve kindness and consideration," says PETA's Coco Yu. "We're calling on people everywhere to boycott companies that still use rats in painful experiments and never to use harsh poisons or other cruel methods on these animals."

For more information about the wonderful world of rats, visit

Bird Girl said...

Okay, so I don't always agree with the tactics some animal rights groups use to get attention -- but this is absolutely HILARIOUS!!!

Kudos to Crazy Half-Nekkid Wife for having the turnips to endure the leers & jeers of the public and the subzero temperatures!

Karl said...

Thanks Dan for sharing the photo with us. Your wife is very brave and her heart is definitely in the right place, and so is everything else for that matter(comment in poor taste on my part, sorry).
I only clicked on the image to enlarge it so I could read what was written on the sign she was holding, honestly.

Canuck said...

Wow--I love her outfit--does it come in Eggplant???

I admire a person who stands up for
what they believe in-no matter what!

Jym said...

=v= For years I've been trying to persuade the Lettuce Ladies to branch out into endive, frisee, etc. Perhaps your c.h-n.w. (with her fine fashion sense) could help me with my endeavors?

Anonymous said...

Hm. May I just say that based on my time as a tech in a rat lab (which -- let's be clear -- I deeply regret), I would not describe the rats' "natural" aroma as a "pleasant perfume-like scent". Unless Taiwanese rats come in, like, a jasmine version or something.

- said...

I'm feeling so inspired just now.

Your crazy half-nekked wife's quite a lady! I admire not just the strength of her convictions (we all have those, don't we?), but also her willingness to get on out there and strap on a vegetable bikini and strive to make a difference!!

Hope you don't you mind that I saved the M&M photo to my desktop. For cont'd inspiration only, I promise.

You're a lucky man, Dan! Try not to forget it, huh?