There is a thing in New York City called The Meatball, not to be confused with the soft ball, the snow ball or the paint ball. The meatball is practiced by a certain element in New York society. It crosses color lines, political lines and can be found in the most unexpected places. To be sure the meatball can be practiced in other cities but not with the skill and tenacity of your average New York meatballer.
The meatball is a situation in which there is constant and purposeful lack of communication and misunderstanding. It's usually of a verbal nature. Once you're in the meatball it's near impassible to get out without help.
Because Martin Luther King was such an important person the city of New York named a high school after him. One day I had to talk with one of the teachers at that school. I didn't have the phone number for the school but I had the information number for the New York Board of Ed, so I dialed it.
"I'd like the number for the Martin Luther King, Jr. High School please."
"Sir, we have no Junior High School by that name."
"It's not a Junior High School, it's a High School,"
"What is the name of this school?"
"The Martin Luther King Jr. High School."
"Sir, I thought I explained that we have no Junior High School by that name>"
"It's not a Junior High School, It's High School named for Martin Luther King Jr."
Now even as I said that I knew I was up to my chin in the Meatball and she knew it and she wasn't going to let me out until she had had her fun. One ting of frustration in one's voice will tip off the meatballer, you see.
The conversation went back and forth like a game of squash until she finally had enough pleasure for the day.
"Oh, you mean the Martin Luther King Junior High School "
"Why didn't you say so. One moment please." She had a definite grin in her voice.
If you visit New York watch out for the meatball. But if you find yourself in one be patient,you will eventually get out,