In my countless travels to about four places, I found that people are very nice in some areas, and downright rude in others.
I came to think about the ramifications of being either too polite or too horrible to one another as a society when I was ready to walk across the street in the path of a parked car that just started to go into traffic.
We both stopped at the same time, we both waved each other on at the same time, then I walked forward as the car crept forward, we both abruptly stopped at the same time, we both laughed at the same time and then we both waved each other to go at the same time.
That interaction continued for about 20 minutes until the driver, yelling profanities, slammed on the accelerator as I, displaying all the hand obscenities I know (five, for the record), started to run across the street.
As I was barreling over the speeding car, I thought that, first, this is bad, and, second, at least we were no longer wasting each other’s time by being too polite to each other.
Then it occurred to me while in the ambulance that if this were New York City where the people are always rude, I would have unflinchingly ran out into traffic as the car would have not hesitated to run me down. Injuries and vehicle damage aside, we would have been on our not-so-merry way in more of a timely manner.
That is why New York City is such a successful place — its brute savagery helps with efficiency.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs to be rude and hostile to one another in society to get things done, but if you want to get things done in society, everyone needs to be rude and hostile to one another.
With that said, here are some tips to thrive while keeping your politeness in check:
The Stranger Dance — When you’re walking and someone else is walking toward you and is in your way, you step to the right as they step to the left at the same time, and they’re still in your path, so you then step to the left as they step to the right at the same time and they remain in your path. The whole thing seems like a synchronized modern dance routine and a huge waste of time.
The Solution: Think quicker than your dance partner. When you get close enough for them to make eye contact with you, spit in the direction that you are going to walk. Chances are they don’t want to step in your spit, so they will move to the other side and you can step over your spit and go on your way or slip on it and file a lawsuit.
The Human Doorstop — There’s no problem holding open a door for someone, but sometimes we miscalculate how far or close a person is and the next thing you know, you’re holding open a door for an extended period of time, waiting for the person using a walker to try and get to the building. When they see you holding the door, they get that excited look in their eyes like a dog seeing its favorite chew toy and they try to hurry, but deep down you know that you’ve committed yourself and are in it for the long, long haul.
The Solution: By all means, hold the door open, but if it looks like you’re going to be camping out there, go right into a countdown by yelling at the person, “Three…two…one…sorry” and then just walk into the building. It’s a bit rude, sure, but holding the door open to begin with shows that it’s the thought that counts.
The Adult Male Curse — “Women and children first,” is what they scream when a fire or a Black Friday sale breaks out, but now with everyone having “human rights,” you figure that it’s every person for themselves. However, in this #metoo, #wetoo, #R2D2 era, you’d be better off burning in the fire or stomped by the customer running with a flatscreen TV under their arms than have the audacity to be the first to flee from a scene of terror.
The Solution: Yes, women and children should go first in an emergency, but it’s also up to you to save your own hide, so don’t feel guilty by gently, yet forcibly, shoving the exiting crowd of women and children so they exit faster and even slap the stragglers on the backs of their heads for more encouragement.
I had a few more tips, but I’m running out of column space and my deadline is approaching, so [EXPLICIT] this column and, pretty please, go and [EXPLICIT] your [EXPLICIT] elsewhere!
According to Hofmann is written by staff reporter Mark Hofmann of Rostraver Township. He hosts the “Locally Yours” radio show on WMBS 590 AM every Friday. His book, “Stupid Brain,” is available on Amazon.com.