Today (Sunday, January 13) was the 12th annual No Pants Subway Ride (NPSR).
Coordinated by Improv Everywhere, a “prank-collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places”, the NPSR is exactly what you’d expect – people boarding the subway without pants. According to Improv Everywhere’s website, there are only two requirements for participation: (1) willingness to take your pants off on the subway and (2) ability to keep a straight face about it.
The NPSR has the potential to be a therapeutic event by giving people the opportunity to face some of their deepest fears.
I think it’s cool it fell on January 13. For anyone who suffers from Triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13), the NPSR served as a good distraction. Additionally, there was some comfort that it was the 12th year rather than the 13th. Of course the date was incidental and Triskaidekaphobics weren’t the only phobics to benefit.
Imagine what it must have been like for participants who suffer from Gymnophobia – the fear of being exposed. Even worse, someone who has Mysophobia – a fear of germs. In some parts of the world the NPSR occurred in the cold, thereby affecting Cheimatophobics, those afraid of the cold.
Catagelophobics would have surely benefited since they suffer from the fear of being ridiculed. There aren’t many things funnier than a group of people riding the subway without pants. The same goes for Sociophobics, those afraid of social evaluation. I’m sure the pantless participants received their fair share of social critique.
There’s only one group for whom I think the NPSR might have been too much – Genuphobics, those who have a fear of knees. It’s one thing to face your own knees everyday, but to be trapped in a train car with the exposed knees of strangers is too much.
When you think about it, Improv Everywhere performed a public service today beyond simply making people laugh. They provided a unique venue for phobics to face their fears.
Personally, I didn’t participate. Why? Because I suffer from rational thought and reason (at least sometimes).
May the farce be with you!
(If you want a flavor of the NPSR, check out Improv Everywhere’s official video from 2012.)