In the 4th grade, Billy NIchols told us that if you threw a penny off the top of the Empire State Building, you'd kill somebody. The penny would go right through their head and out their feet and an inch into the sidewalk. If you threw a quarter, you could wreck the subway.
Billy Nichols was possibly the biggest liar I ever met.
By the time I got to the top of the Empire State Building, I was ready to take his theory up a notch and hurl myself off.
Upon entering the fabled building, I stood in a winding line to go through a security scan. Then I stood in line to pay $20 to stand in another, much longer series of lines, that in the fullness of time took me to a stifling elevator, into which I was crammed with 30 of my closest friends and taken 80 stories skyward. Emerging slightly stunned and with popping ears, I could opt to stand in another line for upwards of half an hour. Or climb the final six flights.
I take the latter in the hopes of saving time and restoring circulation. And after the 29 minutes it takes for the geriatric ward ahead of me to make the ascent, I stand in a scrum on the observation deck along with the entirety of humanity peering over the abyss.
Don't get me wrong it was very nearly worth the effort. It's an amazing view, peering out across the Manhattan skyline, the Hudson River, the Kansas prairie, Los Angeles shimmering in the distance.
It's just that I saw the line for the elevator heading back down.