For most of my life, I've prided myself on being a fairly straight shooter. I've tried to be the kind of person who expresses his opinions freely, and who is open to the opinions of others. I don't have a crippling fear of confrontation, and some of my most heated disagreements have been with my closest friends. Plus, my junk is just sensational, so really, what do I have to be embarrassed about?

Well, despite all of that, there are certain scenarios that are so uncomfortably awkward that I go to bizarre lengths just to avoid them. Maybe you do, too. I mean, you and I both read Cracked articles by Gladstone. We probs have all sorts of neat stuff in common. Do you like David Bowie? Me too! Cool.


Gratuitous picture of David Bowie as Aladdin Sane included solely to troll the people it annoyed last week. (I'm pretty hard to love.)

Pretend Not to Be Waiting for Change

You ever go grocery shopping or something and the bill comes to $39.97 and then you pay with two $20s? Maybe not. That's pretty specific. What I really mean is, you ever pay for something and have a very small amount of change coming to you? I have, and I have to admit, I want it. I'm a pretty great tipper, but there's no way Walmart, McDonald's or whatever corporate behemoth I'm dealing with is getting any more of my money. It's just the principle of the thing.


It's mine! Choke on it, Walmart!

But as stirring and exciting as that speech just was, I don't want to make it to each and every cashier. Nevertheless -- although I apparently have no trouble admitting it to hundreds of thousands of people online -- I don't want to be that guy who stands there like he's waiting for three cents.

My Ridiculous Solution:

So here's what I do. Right after the sale's rung up and I see I'm going to be owed a small amount of money, I begin to busy myself. I rearrange my wallet, futz with stuff in my shopping bags, check my phone, anything. It doesn't matter. I just have to make it appear that I'm not waiting for change. That way when the cashier hands over three pennies, I can look surprised and say, "Oh, OK," as if I'm only standing there to attend to whatever I'm pretending to deal with. Then I pocket those three miserable pennies I never would have waited for and leave.

Oh, by the way, I think it would be super funny if someone made a comment below about me being a cheap Jew, because that's just pretty damn funny. Original, too. If Zombie Hitler read Cracked, I'm sure he'd tote lulz. Ah, who am I kidding? Zombie Hitler only reads Seanbaby's column.

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

"Oh, Dick Whiskey. You're the best! I mean, BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Pretend to Get Phone Calls

I do this one a lot. It works in many situations, but I'll give you the one that makes me look like the biggest douchebag:

I like to think of myself as a fairly open-minded guy. I have no beef with any race generally. I'm not put off by anyone's religion or lack of faith. Sexual orientation doesn't matter to me. But if I had to fess up to one bias, one prejudice, I must admit that there is one specific scenario where I've avoided Asian people: the hair salon.

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

"Zombie Hitler likes the racist sentiment, but hates the Jew making it. Zombie Hitler confused ... BRAINS!!!!!!!!"

Y'see, after a series of terrible haircuts at the hands of Asian stylists, I became convinced that they just didn't know how to address my distinctly non-Asian hair. Does that qualify as a hate crime? I hope not. I feel bad about it. I had a crush on a Korean girl in junior high and I dated a Japanese girl for a week in college, so I hope I don't get any evites to join the Klan after this article runs. But yeah, there came a point about 10 years ago where I decided I'd had enough. I walked into a salon. They told me to sit down in one of the empty chairs to await my hairdresser. Within a minute, a perfectly nice man who happened to be Asian emerged from the back room.

My Ridiculous Solution:

My initial thought was to gently explain that while I had had wet dreams about a Korean girl as a teenager, and gotten to third base with a Japanese girl in college, I had a policy about avoiding hairdressers. Somehow that didn't sound compelling, so I thought about calling some of my Asian friends to vouch for me before deciding that that would also be awkward. But that's when inspiration struck. I reached for my BlackBerry (I told you, it was like 10 years ago) and pretended to be getting a call on vibrate. "What?!" I said, pretending some urgent matter had just been revealed to me. "Hold on. I'll be right there!"

I turned to the stylist with a silent look of exasperation, as if it were pressing business and not my burgeoning racism that was keeping the two of us from uniting. Then I walked out of the place, still talking to no one.

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

"Come right away and make sure my hair's shaggy? OK, you're the boss."

(By the way, this isn't just a good cover for racism. I've also used it when I've had to leave restaurants after seeing a menu and realizing I couldn't afford to eat there. No, not Chinese restaurants, you ass. I'm not a monster!)

Leave Quickly Before the Bad Server Sees the Bad Tip

As I mentioned before, I'm a damn fine tipper. Etiquette says you leave 15 to 20 percent after removing tax and liquor costs. Well, I almost always tip 20 percent with the tax and booze still included. Yep, I'm awesome. And I've only stiffed servers for jaw-droppingly rude behavior maybe twice in my entire life. After that, there have been a minority of occasions where poor service has demanded that I pull back from my typically generous tipping practices. I don't mean stiffing, but leaving tips in more of the 10-to-15-percent range.

So what's the big deal, you ask. Or maybe you're not asking. Maybe you're Asian and have decided that you and I are now enemies. Dude, I'm sorry. If you'd seen the three haircuts I got, you would understand.

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

Artist's recreation.

Well, I'll tell you the problem. Even though I give less than 20 percent on rare occasions, I still feel really bad about it. Not so bad that I leave more money, because where's the justice in that, but, y'know, bad.

My Ridiculous Solution:

This one's super clever. I gather up my shit. Make sure I haven't left my keys or something else behind. Point one foot in the direction of the door. Drop my 10 percent tip, and leave before the waiter collects the bill. Gangsta.

"Favorite" Tweets on Twitter

I don't know about you, but in the last year, I've really gotten into Twitter. Oh, I'm sorry, I should have warned you. Are you all like totally sexually aroused right now? Yeah, sorry. But it's true. I like it because it's not the time suck of Facebook, and if you use it the way I do, you don't have tons of stuff you don't care about clogging up your feed. Babies, graduation, new car? Who cares? I pretty much only follow comedy writers and normal people who amuse me for free, so multiple times a day, I can scroll through my phone and see what's going on in the world via Twitter jokes without having to deal with the news media's crap.

Well, as any of you who tweet know, pretty soon you develop little Twitter buddies and you tweet back and forth to each other, perhaps riffing on some topic. And when you really like something someone's tweeted, you retweet it so all your followers can see how funny your little Twitter buddy is.

And then something terrible happens. They tweet something back to you that's just awful and unfunny. Sure, you could just not respond. Pretend it never happened. After all, what's one tweet not responded to? Yeah, I can't. It makes me feel super oogly.

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

"Oogly" not technically a word yet, but fingers crossed!

My Ridiculous Solution:

Well, y'see, Twitter also allows you to "favorite" or "star" tweets. No one really sees who you star, and if you star something instead of retweeting it, then you're not exposing your followers to the other person's lame joke. Yes, often people (including me) star things they genuinely like, but that doesn't mean it can't be used in a pretend way -- to slowly back out of an awkward conversation while appearing to be smiling. And if you write about this practice in a widely read publication, it has the added bonus of making everyone you've ever starred feel super uncomfortable! Which is only fair, I guess, because when someone favorites my tweet instead of retweeting it, I feel like the girl guys deny having sex with to their friends.

Lose All Peripheral Vision for Inconsiderate Drivers

When I'm driving and I see a car desperately trying to change lanes or enter a road, I always ask myself what would Jesus do. Then I crash, because it's virtually impossible to steer a car while pretending to be crucified. The point is, I try to be a considerate driver. I don't accelerate to prevent people from entering lanes. I let cars go ahead of me if I'm approaching a red light anyway. I don't ride up the shoulder, pass 20 cars in traffic and then try to wedge myself in. I'm the same sweet swell guy on the road that I am on, where everyone loves me and no one thinks I'm an asshole ... right, guys?

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

Are you sneering at me with ... love?

Anyway, not everyone on the road is as awesome as I am. Indeed, lots of people try to force their cars into places they don't deserve to be through intimidation. Like the dude who deliberately gets in the lane everyone's merging out of before zipping up to the very end of the merge and then weaseling his way back into line. Or the dude who plays that same game at toll booths. Or the driver who aggressively forces himself anywhere, daring you to crash into him in order to get what he wants.

My Ridiculous Solution:

Now listen up, because this trick is very complicated. It's called "don't look at the guy." When confronted with douchetastic drivers, I get insanely confrontational. Probably because few things bother me more than someone's selfish belief to entitlement.

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

Yes, getting my leg caught in a bear trap is one of those few things.

So, yeah, I don't give an inch. I will aggressively ride the back bumper of the car in front of me, slamming the door on some douche trying to get something they don't deserve by intimidation. But of course, I can't actually look at them. My neck is locked. My vision is fixed. The blinders are on. Risk damage to my car in the interest of preserving vehicular justice? You bet. Eye contact? Never!

But Gladstone looks right at the camera in the latest HATE BY NUMBERS. Also, be sure to follow him on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

For more from Gladstone, check out The 7 Worst Behaviors on Public Transportation and 5 Reasons Life is Better After Age 30.

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