Where are you, John Quiñones?
Martha Reilly | Monday, December 7, 2015
Though John Quiñones has yet to rush up to me with a microphone and camera crew, exclaiming that I have just been featured on “What Would You Do?” I remain thoroughly convinced that I have taken part in many of his social experiments. I cannot conjure up any other reasonable explanation for the fair number of bizarre or uncomfortable scenarios I have somehow managed to encounter.
After all, when the boy sitting next to me on a three-hour flight throws up mid-conversation, I cannot help searching the aisle seats for a cameraman. And when a crazed fan pours ice-cold Gatorade down the shirt of the old man beside me at a baseball game, my instinct is to scan the crowd for John Quiñones. Perhaps he is somewhere in a White Sox jersey trying to eat a pretzel without taking off his foam finger, as he tests whether or not I will intervene in these outlandish circumstances.
Or maybe his presence lingers in the laundry room, where an enamored couple making out stands not in a corner, or even in the middle of the room, but propped against the very washing machine that contains my clothes. Maybe he hides behind a bookshelf in the library, where he observes my reaction to a girl speaking angrily at full volume on her phone as she sits at the desk directly next to me and aggressively sips from a glass full of ice.
This summer, though, I was almost certain I was a participant in some social experiment, as I witnessed a heated confrontation on the subway. A man standing across from me was holding up a radio and blaring music whose only lyrics I guarantee were “Chillin’ cause I’m a villain.” Another passenger approached him and — thankfully — pressed the off button, but then took the radio out of his hands and forcefully dropped it on the floor, proceeding to play his own tunes, which contained only swear words.
The two men then initiated an energetic debate over whose music was better, beginning to survey the surrounding observers. This brawl was a made-for-television moment, and I could practically hear the phrase “Hi, I’m John Quiñones from ‘What Would You Do?’” as I sat there pondering whether or not I had some moral obligation. In fact, I would highly recommend this premise for a suspenseful finale episode, if of course this particular instance was not captured on camera as I had thought.
Though a girl can dream for celebrity status and a revival of Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Punk’d,’ an appearance on “What Would You Do?” would more than suffice. The show itself more commonly involves cases of children behaving rudely in stores, babysitters acting irresponsibly in parks or even parents abandoning their kids on busy streets. My instances may include slightly more levity, but they still warrant coverage on the show, as I often feel like stating “Hi, I’m Martha Reilly, and this is ‘What Were They Doing?’”
Martha Reilly is a news writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.