#3. People Who Reply to Either/Or Questions With a Yes or No.
I remember the first time I went to little league baseball practice. It was getting near the end of the practice and I asked my coach, "After we're done hitting, should we go back out into the field or wait for our parents to pick us up?" His reply? "Yes." My reply? "Yes, to what? I asked two things." At which point he became completely flustered and said something about not knowing. This story proves two things: 1) New York had no statewide intelligence prerequisite for being entrusted with the care of small children; and 2) I'm clearly a well-adjusted individual who is completely over this minor incident.
Coaching most likely did not cut into his time working for NASA.
But much to my surprise, this was not a one-time offense. People do this all the time and I don't understand why. It is the worst kind of non-response. You might as well reply, "Hmm, I'm not sure, but I'll tell you what -- why don't you go fuck yourself because I'm not answering your question." OK, that's probably a much worse non-response, but still, it's really annoying.
Appropriate Death Penalty
Offender is strapped to a chair and asked a series of either/or questions. Nonstop. For days. Until they starve to death and die.
#2. Pedestrians Who Saunter Slowly Across the Street After You're Nice Enough to Stop For Them
In the first article we explored the horrifying ramifications of people who don't say thank you when you hold the door open for them. I think we can all agree that was some first-rate journalism right there, and we all really learned something that day. This entry is similar. Let me set the scene. You're driving and you notice a pedestrian trying to cross the street or the parking lot or whatever. They don't have the crosswalk or the light, but their intent is clear. And because you're so awesome you let them pass. At that point the correct thing for the pedestrian to do is wave, or nod, or smile, or something to acknowledge you've done something you didn't have to do. And yet, it seems half the time I let a pedestrian cross, not only do I not receive any form of acknowledgment, but the pedestrian then saunters across the road like they're king of the blacktop, suddenly no longer in a hurry to reach the other side. I know when drivers let me cross as a pedestrian I do this little shuffle thing where I nod acknowledgment and set about earnestly on my road-crossing task. Is that too much to ask?
Appropriate Death Penalty
Unlike the other deaths on this list in which the offender is captured and brought to some facility of my imagination, this retribution punishment is accomplished by a governmental decree of amnesty. All drivers are free to run over rude pedestrians without fear of prosecution. Now some of you might say that's not feasible. That this is the talk of a madman. I say ... did you really wait until this entry to lodge that complaint?
I wanted a picture of an angry driver to prove the point, but apparently we only have photos of the worst actress ever. (And she's got something in her eye.)
#1. People Who Say, "No Spoilers" For Things That Are Over 3 Years Old
When I was a lad, I heard about this Kevin Costner movie called No Way Out that was supposed to be fantastic, and I really wanted to see it. After all, I had just learned the complicated mechanics of self-love, and I heard there was a Sean Young limo scene I really needed to see. I also heard that the movie had a total blow-your-mind surprise ending. The weeks went by and more and more people were talking about No Way Out. When conversations came up, I'd say something like, "Ooh, ssh, don't ruin the ending for me," because, y'know, it was the '80s and no one had invented "no spoilers" yet. Anyway, turns out I never saw it. Even today, I've never seen it so I can only guess that either Kevin Costner turns out to be the bad guy or Sean Young turns out to have a penis, but that's not the point. The point is after a couple of years, I stopped asking people not to spoil it for me. I had my shot. I blew it.
And yet, there are still babies going around getting pissed off at people who ruin things from like three years ago or more. I shouldn't do this because frankly it defeats the whole point of my article, but I'm about to spoil some old news, so (sigh) spoiler alert. Really old spoilers coming right after the picture of spoiled milk. You can jump to the picture of the crying baby to know it's safe to come out, you wuss. Just know that in between these two pics I'm totally talking about the time I nailed your mom.
SPOILER ALERT. Season 2 of Dexter was a long time ago. Dokes eats it. He totally gets killed. It was Lilah. I'm allowed to talk about that freely. The statute of limitations is up and you can't get upset. Citizen Kane? Rosebud was his sled. He was talking about his sled. Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father. I nailed your mom. Faye Dunaway's daughter in Chinatown is also her sister. Bruce Willis is dead the whole time in The Sixth Sense!!! Bwahahahaha.
Look, I'd be the first to concoct some sadistic punishment for people who spoil things days, weeks, even month's or years after they come out, but there comes a point where you have to grow up and stop expecting the world to bend its conversations to your inability to download stuff off the Internet.
Appropriate Death Penalty
The offender is placed in a room with a large scalpel. The ending of every single thing that has ever existed is announced over a speaker until the offender loses the will to live and ends his own life. As he is bleeding out, the last thing he hears is, "Spoiler alert. We're totally dressing up your corpse in a silly outfit when you're dead."
For more from Gladstone, check out Imagine No Frivolous Lawsuits and Rachel Bilson Destroys My Delusion And Lies About It Badly.