5 Acts of Baffling Selfishness We Just Sort of Accept
I know there are bad people in the world. I know people do bad things. I'm not talking about murder or rape. I mean, I don't get those things either, but I just assume they're the kinds of things criminals do. But there are also everyday acts of awfulness perpetrated by people who do not consider themselves criminals. These people must not think they're doing anything wrong, because they act like they're entitled to do these things.
"Oh, was I not supposed to pee on your rug?"
These are not just acts of awfulness; they're acts of extreme self-centeredness. These people walk through the world believing they're entitled to things more than other people. Only such a belief would make these behaviors possible.
Honking When You Don't Have the Right of Way
Y'know, people often ask me where I get my ideas. OK, that's not true. No one speaks to me, and I generate my Cracked column alone, with only the comfort of cardboard cutout figures of Cracked employees to support me.
They look so realistic!
But there was an incident that generated this column, and it happened a few weeks ago while I was driving in the suburbs. See, I was making a left on a nice residential street. There was another car approaching me from the street I was about to make a left onto. Here's the thing: I had no stop sign. He did have a stop sign. Did you catch that part? There was a dude approaching a stop sign on the street I was turning onto.
OK, so I made my left onto his street, and he freaked out. He leaned on his horn repeatedly and gave me the frowning of a lifetime. So what happened? In his mind, I should have come to a stop (with no stop sign) and let him blow through his stop sign so he could go first.
That's what this incident (and this column) comes down to: Me first! Now I get it. We all want to go first, but what is wrong with someone when they think they're literally above the law? That fellow travelers should heed the right of way on the off chance that crazy old men want to blow through stop signs and go first?
Don't worry. I took care of it. I screamed out the window, "STOP SIGN! STOP SIGN! YOU HAVE A FUCKING STOP SIGN!" I know. I'm very gifted with words. He was so impressed with my eloquence that he asked me where he could buy my novel before driving on.
Standing 10 Feet in Front of Someone Already Hailing a Cab
So maybe you don't live in New York City. I mean, I guess that's possible. Some people don't. People from Chicago, for example. Also, people from Canada. It's really too long of a list to get into.
In any event, for people in New York City (and other cities, I guess), there's a thing known as calling a cab. What you do is stand on the street, wait for yellow cars with "on duty" lights to drive by, and raise your hand or shout "taxi" or both. Oh, if you're a cartoon from the '50s, you do that two-fingers-in-your-mouth whistle thing, but I've never actually seen that in real life.
Anyway, New York City is a crowded place, and you'd probably know that if you weren't from Chicago or Canada, so sometimes you can't help it when there are more people than cabs. I get it.
"We have cabs in Chicago, douchebag."
But sometimes people are just dicks. They want a cab. They see a person in the street waiting for a cab. And then they get a brilliant idea: walk 10 feet in front of the person already hailing a cab and start flagging. Y'see, it's a brilliant idea because the cab will see them before the person who was waiting before them.
What is going through this person's head? "Me first!" And not just "Me first," but "Me first, and fuck you, guy 10 feet behind me, as you watch me take your cab!"
Lying About Disabilities for Preferential Treatment
Hey, here's another real life story. Let me take you back to my first week in college. (Yes, I was very hot then, and no, I won't include a picture of me from college. What kind of a twat would do that?) So during that first week of college, it's not uncommon for parents to come up with their kids and help them acclimate and move for that first day. Consequently, there's always a rush on hotel rooms, and depending on your college and surrounding area, accommodations can be scarce.
Unless you don't mind bedbug-infested bedding and complimentary scabies.
In any event, I remember that my parents really had to scramble to find a room, and they ended up staying at some cut-rate affair about 15 miles away. Not the biggest deal in the world. During that first day orientation, we bumped into a friend of mine from high school who attended my same college. Her mom was there, too. The folks made small talk about '90s things (y'know, like how cool snap bracelets are and how great the decade would be for BuzzFeed to reminisce about once the Internet becomes commonplace). Then the conversation turned to how hard it was to get a room, and my friend's mom dropped a little tip on us. She said something to the effect of:
"Well, what you do is, you call up and tell them you're traveling with a handicapped person and can they, y'know, help you out."
Yes, I know that's a lie. People lie. I get it. But here's the part that still surprises me. Doesn't it occur to liars like this that there could well be actual families with actual handicapped needs who are now fucked out of a room because of that fun lie they told about their child having spinal injuries? I mean, the thought has to occur, right? And I guess it's just not a problem because "Me first!"
Letting Someone Take the Fall for You
I know that a lot of you are annoyed that you don't know me as well as you'd like. "Tell us more about your life, Gladstone," I hear you say (because I have a superpower that allows me to hear things people aren't saying). Anyway, your fictitious prayers have been answered. Here's a story from fifth grade:
I don't really remember what it was, but my fifth grade teacher kept a test tube of something near the sink.
I'm guessing it was genetically engineered goat syphilis virus.
One day I picked up the test tube, trying to figure out what the hell I was looking at, and then I put it back down in its container. Too hard. I was pretty sure it had cracked and was now leaking into the bottle it was kept in, but I didn't want to find out, and no one saw me, so I went about my day (hoping that goat syphilis could not be contracted in its airborne form).
About a week later, the teacher noticed the damage and asked if anyone knew who did. My classmate Rich said that Darren had done it, that he had seen Darren knock the bottle over with his coat and then put it back. First off, yes, Rich was a twat. I mean, seriously, right?
Anyway, at that point I confessed, because I was fine with sneaking around and avoiding punishment, but I couldn't deal with someone being punished because of me. But that happens all the time. People let other people get fired for their mistake. Fired. And they're OK with that. I mean, OK, you're walking down the street with some dude from your office and a meteor falls out of the sky and kills him -- it's not cool, but you can say "Better him than me" if you really want to be an asshole.
But how can you embezzle money and watch someone else go to jail, saying "Better him than me?" How is that any better than actually framing someone? I feel these people must rationalize a difference, but there is none. Or maybe they don't even bother.
Having Unrealistic Expectations of Accommodation
A couple of years ago I was in New York City on Christmas Day. Now, I know that many people think of New York as a gathering of godless heathens, but on Christmas Day the city is as shut down as you will ever see it. Even in Times Square, one of the most densely packed tourist areas in the entire world, at least 75 percent of the food businesses are closed.
Anyway, my kids and wife at that time were looking for a place to eat and settled for some generic deli. It was a big one with sandwich stations and a salad bar and even a pizza oven. Certainly it was the best we could hope for, and we were content.
While we were in line, however, a woman with the most obscenely proper, over-the-top English accent made an inquiry to the sandwich guy, who barely spoke English. "Where do you keep your vegetarian options?" she asked.
She looked like this. Yes, I said she had an English accent, but that doesn't mean she couldn't
be of Indian descent. WHY ARE YOU SO RACIST?!
Yes, she was not content to find a clean place with an array of food and ample seating; now she had a special request. OK, OK, she doesn't eat meat. That's her right, and a lady's got to eat, so, sure, ask a simple deli about their "vegetarian options." The employee said, "Oh, right this way," very politely, and pointed to several prepared (but not yet pressed) paninis in the display case. These sandwiches are like pita-type bread with vegetables and mushrooms and quality cheese. They actually looked really good. This woman, deeply offended, replied, "DEAR GOD!" and left the premises.
In life, we should all pursue the things we want and not accept anything less than we want. Go us! But there's also such a thing as reality. At some point, you cannot expect the world to provide you with anything in your incredibly specific wish list. It's not like this place billed itself as a vegetarian emporium. How do you expect to come to a place where nothing is open and find not just something that meets your needs, but wows you on Christmas Day? I mean unless you're actually Jesus, maybe shut the fuck up?
"The panini's fine. Thank you."
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