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By Tom Gogola

This was going to be a happy story about how two of my nephews love the french fries on the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry. “Ferry fries,” they call them. But that story went out the window Sunday night, when I took the photograph below and was threatened with arrest by the Ferry Fascists for doing so.


I was heading back to Connecticut after a weekend with the family when I took the photo. I’d eaten the fries on the way over, but couldn’t stomach another round, so I snapped two photos at the food counter, and as I was putting the camera away, two guys behind the counter started lobbing hostile, accusatory questions in my direction. “Why are you taking pictures of the food?” “I’m writing a review,” I responded, and walked away.


I went outside to take some notes and then headed back into the cabin. I observed that there were two crew members standing near me, and I heard one of them talking about me, and the photo I took. I had been turned in!


I’m of the mindset that when overzealous 9/11-hero wannabes start making ridiculous accusations, I am going to stand up and say something. If I hear you talking about me like I might be a terrorist for taking a picture of french fries, I am going to interrupt and put some perspective on the matter. So I approached the mate and told him I had a complaint about his crew. I didn’t appreciate their hostility. Yes, I was livid. Stone-cold sober, too.


Well, Gilligan didn’t like my tone, and I guess it’s my fault for escalating the situation by lobbing multiple eff-bombs at him, because the next thing I know, Gilligan’s back with two Big Fellows. I gave my name and phone number to Gilligan, and I showed him the picture of the french fries (which, by the way, are disgusting). In fact, I showed him all three of the photos that were on the camera. That should have ended it, but Gilligan demanded that I show him identification, because otherwise the police would get involved. I asked him under what authority he was demanding this of me. It’s the captain’s orders.


“Kiss my ass. I’m not showing you any ID.”


Gilligan goes to consult with the Skipper, comes back, and repeats the threat. Show me ID, or the police will be waiting at the dock.


Now, this is the part of the story where the little man on my shoulder who wants to go home and enjoy the evening whispers in my ear, “It’s not worth it, my boy.” So I take out my ID, and one of the Big Men grabs it. “He doesn’t even drive!” he sneers. “It’s a forgery!” he declares. “This isn’t you in the picture,” Gilligan announces.


Well, the ID is a New York State non-driver’s ID I’ve had forever, and it is, in fact, me in the picture. But Big Man declares that he knows better, since he was a cop for 20 years.


“That’s my ID. Take it or leave it,” I tell them. We pull in to the dock, and I stroll off the boat. No cops. End of story, almost.


Intern Molly Aronica went down to the ferry dock Tuesday morning to get a quote for me. She found Frederick A. Hall, vice president and general manager of the ferry company. “All photographs may be subject to challenge,” he told Molly, “due to the fact that there have been past incidents where possible acts of terrorism have been threatened.”


Fair enough, but this episode was clearly brought to you by the same dangerously moronic mindset that brought you Freedom Fries.





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