Following the Rules

Special Thanks to Ferrell McCollough@
Special Thanks to Ferrell McCollough@

The older I get, the more I’m convinced, people exist in the world who are predisposed to breaking rules.  If not, I sure seem to cross paths with many who think nothing of exercising the fine art of “don’t give a damn”.

This comes to mind because of an article I recently read.  A couple of old dudes in a checkout line. Where you ask? Of course, they were at Wal-Mart.

Now these gents were not in just any line, no they were in the infamous twenty items or less line.  You probably can see the direction this is going but I will set the stage.

Two guys one 77 one 65, waiting long enough to check each other’s cart inventory.  The man in the rear, Mr. 77 starts counting out items loudly as Mr. 65 puts them on the belt. When he goes past twenty, the older dude starts hollering about number of items and express lane and dad blame, no sign reading, son of a …

Just for the record, I may have added that last part because I am imagining what I would have said. When the 65-year-old whippersnapper yells back mind your own business, the loud old codger had, had enough. Back to his cart, full speed ahead, rams his shopping cart into Mr. 65 at the register smacking him in the elbow. My initial reaction – Good!

Ok, maybe not good, but deserved. If I were behind the poor old man who was carted off for felony battery, I would have lifted his standard high and proceeded to continue said badgering until that apathetic, rotten, no rule following, 65-year-old so and so drove out of the parking lot.

Now I am not sure what prompted old dude number one to go all “Register Rage” on old dude number two, but I feel a certain kinship to him nonetheless. I own a healthy disdain for people who just plain ignore common courtesy and civilized interaction with their fellow-man.

These people must have a chemical imbalance that somehow has them convinced rules are not for them. That lines, turn signals, and taxes do not apply. That mowing outside the boundaries of the yard, or letting the dog crap on the sidewalk is not their concern. That is why average people go nuts!

I refuse to believe that the mothers of this world let their sons or daughters believe they are not required to wait their damned turn. I know they were raised differently. Even the busiest mother holding down multiple jobs would find the time to teach their children right from wrong and basic manners. Could it be when the child breaks away from the roost things change? Surely manners and fairness are not only required at “Mom’s” house.

Are conscience and caring sucked right out of their psyche when these people leave home? Are these traits replaced with complacency and indifference only to be cultivated over many years until someone loses their mind and rams them with a cart?

The businessman that runs the poor woman with two little kids down at the baggage terminal in the airport truly believes his time is much more important than anything she is doing. What is his response when challenged? The finger. How can a grown man, a so-called adult act this way? Do you think later he feels regret? Alternatively, are we raising a culture of jerks who absolutely buy into the notion that they are special?

Do people care so little for others that left unchecked, they develop reckless reprehensible behavior towards complete strangers? Have we become so numb? In my opinion, most regular folk act accordingly when mingling in public with our fellow citizens. I have seen kindness and compassion and “yes, ma’am let me get that door for you”.  A husband opens the car door for his wife, a little girl picks up a child’s pacifier that bounces out of the stroller in front of her, someone says bless you, not f-you.

About the time hope is gaining ground, I lose my freaking mind when I am called a racist by a white kid playing loud, derogatory, hate filled, sexist , rap lyrics masquerading as music. “Who you hollerin at old man”?  ”Well, let see young man, I’m going to take a quick inventory.” “Ok, of all the cars parked sideways across two spots, one of them designated for the handicapped, how many of those have every window down, the trunk lid up exposing trash can sized speakers with vile shit blasting out of them in the Safeway parking lot?” All done, awesome, that would be you punk. I am so turning into Clint Eastwood.

OK so there are shitty people everywhere. What are you going to do, travel the globe with your cape and gloves, challenging these miscreants to a duel? The absolute worst in people can surface simply by challenging them to recognize how inappropriate their behavior is. Sometimes the offender gets caught up in their own space and forgets to play nicely. These few will apologize and sheepishly bail as quickly as possible. The true test is when facing the opposite, the entitled 1%.

The woman intently studying the fiber content on the can label, blocking the whole damn aisle at the grocery store, will most likely move when you say excuse me after 10 minutes of boring a hole through her with your X-ray vision.

The guy who insists on taking a bag too big to fit on the plane, cares not about his crotch bobbing precariously close to your cheek the whole time he jams his Jimmy Steward sized steamer trunk into an overhead compartment.

The female hipster who looks at you as though you were a full-grown mountain troll, when you say “pardon me” in response to her not talking to you at all. Only as you recognize to late she is talking to her damnable blue tooth device.  She barely has time to be bothered when ordering the double chai latte, skinny mocha, $12 Starbucks cappafreakinchino much less talk to your miserable ass.  Move on you cannot fix this.

We can hope that consideration and empathy will prevail somehow. That the caring human spirit will win-out over the self-indulgent few.  I will strive as I travel in and among these people to as my wife suggests, “Just let it go.”

Now to the jack-hole who just dashed out of the checkout line we have been standing in for ten minutes saying oops I forgot something. Are you freaking kidding me with this? You could not have pulled your headphones off or turned down “Kanye” for a second to check the stock. You are going to leave your groceries on the belt and run off to Aisle 14, you miserable dad blamed, no attention paying…. I swear I am so angling my cart for ramming speed.



Comments are closed.