The first time you encounter the Stomper, you'll probably just shrug and go about your business. Fast-forward a week, and they seem like some ancient demon that secretly feeds on your pent-up rage and frustration, which, incidentally, is a theory I haven't completely ruled out yet.
Stompers only attack in a home or, occasionally, office setting. If you live in an apartment building, at least one of your neighbors (usually the one living directly above you) is one. If you think you don't know a Stomper, it's probably you. They're most easily defined by their ability to produce massive noise. Every single step they take is a lethal heel kick, meant to murder the ground to avenge that time their puppy tripped. Every door and drawer is closed with a slam so strong, its impact travels back in time and kills the dinosaurs. Staplers and keyboards are smacked around like they were extras in a Danny Trejo movie, and the last time a Stomper went bowling, China actually called to complain. This is all the more baffling because your average Stomper is often surprisingly tiny and frail. The couple living above my apartment are both fairly lithe, yet somehow every single move they make manages to rank on the Richter scale.
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I have taken to assuming their powers are granted by the elephant demon.
The immediate problem with the Stomper is also the biggest: What the hell are you going to complain about? Regardless of the hundred Internet Tough Guys who will no doubt disagree with me in the comments, you can't just ring someone's doorbell and randomly dropkick them for walking in their own home. (Everyone knows it's polite to goad them into kicking you first.)
Smuggling a marching band under their bed is also a good retribution idea, until you remember annoying buttmulches always have a futon.
A secondary problem is the fact that the Stomper will probably have no idea what you're talking about, because chances are they're not actively doing anything wrong. It's just a shoe thing. Modern shoes (specifically running and training shoes, a popular cause of argument in the running community) feature lots of padding between your heel and the ground, which encourages us to heel-stab the pavement in a way that would wreck our feet in no time if we were barefoot. When the shoe is removed -- say, at home -- the heel strike habit remains to slowly drive the downstairs neighbor mad. And once our ears are tuned to the heel-stomping upstairs, every little thing we hear from there is going to sound like it's the end of the world. Even sex. Especially sex.
All of this could be easily fixed by convincing your neighbor to adopt a quieter, less forceful forefoot step. However, after you've banged on their door and traded dropkicks for 30 minutes (as your ribs found out, turns out they were worshipping the elephant demon after all), chances are they're unwilling to compromise. Maybe, uh, just keep the whole heel-stomp thing in mind for the next, less possessed apartment building?
These fucking people.
Seriously, these fucking people.
Nobody likes the Escalator Blocker. No one ever has, no one ever will. The way they awkwardly stop the second they step off and start staring around or fidgeting, despite the rapidly moving machine they just stepped off hauling thousands of pounds of humanity directly at them each passing second, would make Gandhi swear like a sailor and run off to join Cobra Kai.
To make things worse, the behavior is rarely limited to escalators: These are the same (or similar enough) fuckers that turn their mad rush through the subway door into a casual Sunday afternoon stroll as soon as they're through, oblivious to the tsunami of people desperately attempting to brake so they won't stampede this asshole. If they're already waiting at the station, you can bet the left testicle of your favorite uncle they attempt to rush in the second the doors open, regardless of the people attempting to exit. When it comes to moving in public, these people are hardwired to function in a way that puts them at odds with all logical movement. In their minds, the world is a river and they're salmon.
Or, if you prefer, [an analogy about mindless chickens].
Even so, there's a chance not all Escalator Blockers are inherent dickheads. There might even be a sort of scientific explanation for the behavior: Doorways have a habit of messing with our memory, which is why some of us zone out for a bit whenever we enter a new space. Since escalators and subway doors are both technically portals that take you to a new space, the explanation can potentially be applied here, too, maybe. So, as much as my heart aches to admit it, I feel that in this case we should probably fight against our baser instincts and search for a more ... civilized solution.
Straight-up marry them.
Start by walking up to them and starting a conversation. It doesn't have to be about how they just parked directly in front of the rapidly approaching bulk of every person behind them, and in fact you shouldn't bring the topic up at all. Instead, focus on what's good in them. Compliment their pretty eyes. Ask them to coffee at this nice place you know nearby. Turns out, you two have quite a bit in common. The occasional cup of coffee turns into proper dates, dates turn into dating, and two addresses turn into one. Eventually, one of you asks the question during that romantic holiday in the Bahamas you've been saving up for. The rings are a bit more expensive than you could afford, but hey, why not splurge on the things that really matter? You compensate by making the wedding a modest affair with just the relatives and some of the closer friends, tastefully done but nothing fancy.
Years fly by. Your son is around 8, and you're all hitting the big city for a vacation. You carefully steer your path toward the nearest escalator, having long ago chosen it as the site of your endgame. You step on the moving stairs, carefully maneuvering so that your son rides first.
And the kid stops dead right as he steps off the escalator. For a few moments, he stands there completely still with a careful look of confusion on his face -- just like a thousand jerkwads before him, just like you've always taught him to do. Then, just as rehearsed, he turns to point at your spouse with the best Damien look he can summon on his face, and screeches: "THIS IS YOOUUUUUUU." Struck by a mixture of worry and confusion, your significant other turns their eyes at you, only to realize for the first time they're looking at the face of their arch nemesis.
"The boy is one of you now," you should probably scream. Hissing remains optional.
And from that moment on, they'll know better than to block the fucking escalator.
Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked columnist, freelance editor, and probably not your favorite neighbor. Follow him on Twitter.
For more ways we can help cure idiocy, check out 27 Classes We Wish They Forced People to Take in School and The Sex Ed Lessons You Wish They'd Taught You.