You’d think that this post is about the cooler weather that’s starting to settle in its usual autumn position. Well, sorry to disappoint all you snowbirds, but this one is completely different. Today I’m going to share one of my longtime gripes with my fellow biped human beings. The utter and complete inability to use a crosswalk.
Let’s set the scene here. Sunday afternoon. You’ve just finished grocery shopping, having been stuck behind the usual crowd foraging for their weekly stash of Doritos and pudding snacks, coupon ladies nickel and diming a poor cashier to death, and the uber-environmentalist showing off their reuseable bags. Finally, your stuff is on the conveyor, you pay, and exit the building. You look both ways as your parents taught you to do, load the car with your seven day supply, and slide in to the driver’s seat with a sigh of relief. Whew, that’s over with. You check your mirrors, back out avoiding the poorly parked cars of your fellow shoppers, and head towards the exit. And then it happens. The fuckery is not over. Someone is trying to use the crosswalk.
A crosswalk is a very basic concept. It is a designated safe zone for someone to cross an avenue of traffic. Pretty easy, right? So why would anyone want to lollygag in an area where traffic is one text or tweet away from running you over? Yet it happens EVERY GOD DAMN TIME. People who feel that it’s the perfect place to update their shopping list. Soccer moms checking the current ad for Chef Boyardee deals. Old friends having a fucking class reunion. And my personal favorite to hate – the forty fivers. The forty fivers are the people that cannot understand the concept of crossing quickly. They walk slowly, and at such a precarious angle, so that neither lane of traffic can pass them without a certain level of difficulty. Is it entitlement (“This is MY crosswalk”)? Is it stupidity (“So where DID I park?”)? Or are they just geographically challenged (parked at entrance “A”, exited the building at entrance “H”)? No matter what their middling excuse may be, these people drive me FUCKING NUTS!!! (<- That’s my internal screaming that I can’t really inflect here).
So next time you step into a crosswalk, think about this post. If you catch yourself drifting into the realm of waltzing douchebaggery, correct your course and get out of the pathway as fast and safely as possible. Because if you can’t properly cross a roadway on foot, you probably shouldn’t have a driver’s license either.
P.S. Most cart pushers are off the hook. But if you move like a sloth moving uphill with eight pounds of molasses on your ass, I will beep at you to hurry the fuck up. But otherwise you guys are all cool in my book – you do a job that no one wants to. Bravo to you cart crew.
Common courtesy is dying a slow painful death. Unlike it’s cousin, common sense, who died with a shotgun blast to the face and a closed casket service. Sadly “common” is being replaced by asshole-ism, douchiness, and just general fucktardery. It annoys the shit out of me on a daily basis, but I have a secret weapon to combat the cancer that is killing common courtesy. My kids.
You see, I teach my kids the basic things that used to be “common”. Holding doors for people. Saying “Thank you”. Waiting to speak. Things that people just flat out can’t do any more. Or maybe they just don’t want to. But either way, my wife and I are trying our damnedest to raise two children that can project common courtesy onto those who no longer possess it. Yes, I am using my kids to shame people older than them.
Shaming is often connotated as a bad thing. But this isn’t about bullying or putting anyone “in their place” with threats. I am teaching my kids to be simply polite, with the hope that the person they encounter says/thinks two things: A. “What a well behaved child” , and B. “Why didn’t I hold that door when a six year old did?”. By having my kids portray that which used to be an everyday occurrence, I hope that they will become infectious disease carriers of “commoncourtesy-itis”. Sure it’s early in their lives to use them as pawns in a public setting, but when was the last time you saw a kid run to the door to hold it for a complete stranger? Not lately I’d guess. Seen a child under eight tell someone that they have a headlight out in the Wal-Mart parking lot? Chances are slim. But my kids are learning to do exactly that. Have some plain, simple, common fucking courtesy.
And when they get older, I can’t wait to teach them the extinct art of common sense. Like a Shaolin master, I will educate my kids in all the basics. How to change a flat tire. Where the oil goes in a car (there’s a cap that says OIL for fuck’s sake. Why am I showing a 23 year old where it goes while I’m pumping gas yesterday? Why?! WHY?!?!). Walk to the right in a hallway. Read shit before you try and bitch someone out. SIMPLE shit that the average American cannot do on a daily basis! They say the children are our future. Quite honestly, if we teach them and raise them right, they can be much more than the future. They can be the cure for stupidity.
After a long day at work, there’s still a lot of things to be done aroud the house. Sore, stiff muscles aren’t exactly our friends after a shift in retail hell. In the past, one would have to sit/lay down on a heating pad to get some much needed relief. Well, once you stop moving, nine times out of ten, you aren’t getting back up. Once the momentum stops, so does the compulsion to cut the grass, get Halloween decorations out of the attic, or even cook dinner. We all realize this, and so did the people at ThermaCare.
In 2001, Proctor and Gamble introduced these handy little heating pads that you can attach directly to the skin. You’ve probably donned a few since then, whether they were Icy Hot, Tiger Balm, or any other brand. But in the last fifteen years, one thing has failed to advance. These damn things don’t stay where we need them to! Sweat, movement, lack of adhesion, all of these factors turn this little slice of relief into another pain in the ass. There’s not enough damn adhesive to hold it where I need the relief, especially on the lower back. Oh sure, it will stay nice and toasty where it sticks to the skin, but don’t plan on getting relief where you need it!
So I resorted to the heating pad, lost my motivation to do anything, and threw $6 in the trash along with the other “relief” patch. These things should have been called “HotSpots”, because I was still stiffer than a porn star on Cialis and had two little spots next to my spine emitting the heat of a thousand suns. So please, charge me fifty cents more and put some fucking adhesive on the whole god damn patch!
Every day, people spend millions of dollars on lottery tickets. The allure of being able to immediately jump into the ranks of the wealthy will make anyone spend two bucks on chance. I’ve done it a few times, but I’m not one of these people that treat it like a religion. And this is about just one of the people that drive me fucking insane. The lifetime lotto loser.
Lifetime lotto losers drop thouands of dollars annually, or maybe monthly, on the thought of instantly becoming a multi-millionaire. Again, the appeal is great. But it’s how they do it that raises my blood pressure as soon as I see them. There’s the notebook full of tickets tucked tight into the armpit, fearful that someone is going to jack that file full of lotto algorithms. The fist full of scratchers with only the barcode cleared off. A bulging pocket full of ones and good luck tokens. You’ve seen them everywhere. Grocery store on a beer run? Yup. Getting a quick cup of coffee at the gas station? Always. Anywhere that has that lotto symbol on the storefront, you will find the L3.
But the preparation, the money spent, the hours daydreaming of a yacht, none of that bothers me. What actually irritates me is that I find a way to get stuck behind them EVERY FUCKING TIME. And unlike the people in a grocery store that will let you pass them when you only have one item, the L3 will occupy and defend their spot in line. They don’t want anyone to get in the way of their possibly life changing transaction. So I wait. And wait. And watch. The body language and the gestures when the cashier or the machine is taking too long. “Did you check that one?” as they point with silver tipped fingernails from doing scratch-offs. Then, once that batch nets them $15 on a $200 investment, they then hand over the next $200 so that they can play the odds all over again. I want to scream.
Now a simple $1.49 cup of coffee has turned into a 20 minute sociological study of the L3. Their elation at the machine emitting a “winner” chime. The disappointment when they lose on that $20 scratcher. After all of this, my coffee is now cold. So I go back, pour it out and refresh with 20 ounces of fresh, hot, amazing caffeine. I head back to the cashier, only to be cut off AGAIN by ol’ silvertips. Never one to sit back, they have run their flaky digits over the new batch, and now impatiently await their fate from round two with the lotto machine. Unable to bite my tongue, I step forward and ask in the politest tone I still possess, “Can I just pay for this coffee please?”. The cashier gladly obliges, as she gets a momentary reprieve from the scanner’s migraine inducing beeps. I hand over my cash, and am informed by the L3 that i was “rude” and should wait my turn. Given the nasty scowl that the cashier was shooting at the L3, my guess is that I wasn’t all that “rude” in comparison.
The number of inconsequential things that people remember never ceases to amaze me. How much something cost 30 years ago. How much their first paycheck was. An associate’s name that helped them 6 years ago on a Tuesday. The list will go on and on. These things that happened one time in their lives, possiby decades ago, is strangely engrained into their daily life. Yet people will get in their car and drive every day, and forget one basic priciple.
Use their fucking turn signals.
Just in case you were wondering, turn signals are included in the purchase price of an automobile. New, used, car, motorcycle, RV, or truck, they come standard on just about anything. Yet somehow these people with the memory of an elephant can’t remember to use their fucking directional markers! It’s not that damn hard to do, and you wouldn’t even have a license if you didn’t know how or when to use them. Think back to that first driving test years ago, and you’ll remember that old lady from the DMV and her clipboard. No complete stop with a turn signal on? Come back tomorrow son! Yet these assholes will whip out in front of you, change lanes forty seven times in two miles, and never once touch that left stick on their steering column.
Was that hand occupied sending a text message? Probably. Were they too busy figuring out which instagram filter works best at 88mph? No doubt! Is there a pack of people behind them now calling them fuckhole, dickwad, cuntmuffin, or just hanging their middle digit out the window? YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT THERE IS!!!! And it’s quite possiby the simplest, most effective thing that people can do when they are driving to prevent an accident. Tens of thousands of accidents and hundreds of deaths could be prevented every year if people would just use ONE FINGER and hit the turn signal! But until these people have their heads surgically removed from their asses, I guess I’ll just have to keep my ring finger on that signal and my middle one in a quickdraw position at all times.
So look. I get it. Retail sucks donkey dick most of the time. I’m only doing it for the money. No one grows up hoping to take sweaty money from people for eight hours at a time. If you want to hear about the trials and tribulations of what retail hell is really like, click the link on the homepage and listen to the podcast. But if you’re looking for a different kind of take on life in general, you’ve come to the right place.
I am a father to two awesome kids, and husband to an amazing woman (who also puts up with my shit), which are my motivating force behind anything and everything I do. I lucked out in the personal side of my life, and I couldn’t be happier for it. Yes, the paycheck place (aka work) robs me of time to spend with them. But when was the last time that anything good was free? I didn’t think so. Is there anything I would change? Work? You bet. Dumb shit I’ve done? Absolutely. Money is spent on frivolous things? Definitely. But you won’t find family on that list. They are the only thing I ever got right in life, both currently, and in hindsight.
And it’s those kinds of things that I want to share here. I’m sure some customer fuckery will seep in here occasionally. It’s inevitable when you’ve done this shit as long as I have. But there’s much more to The Ranty Bastard than that. I’ve got views and perspectives that transcend retail hell. And that’s what you’ll find here in the next few months (or until I see that no one looks at this shit and I’ll just scrap it). But that’s what I thought would happen with the show, and you haven’t let me quit yet. So for that I say thank you, and here’s to your glimpse into the mind of TRB.