Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't Be A Pussy

Brandie & I had a beautiful weekend in Carmel celebrating our 1-year anniversary. Friday we put our name in for lunch at Dametra Cafe. Another couple ("Lara", photo right) put their name in after us. Without going into detail.. they knew we were ahead of them, but when a table cleared she asked the waitress "Can we have this table?" as she started to sit down. I said "Actually, I'll take this table" and the waitress checked our names. As they passed I said "Yeah, you could see we were before you.". They were led back to a jammed corner table, and the waitress gave me soup on the house.

We've all faced those situations where some stranger cuts in line, steals your parking spot, or otherwise violates what you consider to be social etiquette. In each circumstance, we are faced with a choice:
  1. Defend civility
    or
  2. Be a pussy
I firmly believe that unless there is risk of physical harm, it is one's moral imperative to confront/reciprocate against douchebaggery. I'll admit... I've erred on the side of danger in the past. I confronted some guys I thought were dumping a car in my neighborhood one night (later to find out they lived around the corner). My actions will definitely err on the side of caution now that I'll have a child. Still, in 95% of cases, I believe there is no excuse for playing the pussy card, whether it be "creating a scene", "embarrassing your friends", or "being outnumbered". Deep down inside a douchebag KNOWS they are being a douchebag and will withdraw in discomfort as you stand up to them for what's right. Other than getting your ass beat by a cracked-out gangbanger... there is no excuse for avoiding your responsibility to demand civility from those around you. To do otherwise is cowardice, plain and simple - and I shame anyone who fails to do so.

Here are some simple guidelines I recommend one follows when combating douchebaggery:
  • Don't jump to conclusions. There ARE cases when it's more about brainlessness than cheating. E.g. that moron who humps the Starbucks barista stand immediately after ordering... ignoring the people standing around waiting before him. Then he grabs your drink and gets his stupidness all over it! Don't get me wrong - this is still being a douchebag. It's just slightly less of a douchebag than someone who steals your drink.... so don't yell quite as loud.
  • An eye for an eye. Don't ever key someone's car because they stole your parking spot. That's an arm and leg for an eye. Once a dude arrogantly stole my parking spot in Arden Fair Mall. I returned the favor by filling a cup with a sticky-sugar concoction and dumping it over his car. His cleaning effort was roughly equivalent to my effort put out by the entire ordeal.
  • Shame & embarrassment are your friends. If someone cuts in line, chances are you are not the only one who noticed. However, you may be the only non-pussy in line. If you confront the person, everyone else will send you psychic high-fives. Perhaps you may even inspire others to not be pussies.
  • Google Karma. If at all possible, get photos and full names of douchebags when you encounter them. Post them on your Facebook/blog. You never know... someone they know might see it, or find them on a Google name search!
A few more examples...

One of Brandie's friends had a birthday party at BJ's in Folsom last year. The place was packed and some party of 6 lied saying they were our reservation of 10 for "Mike". There was no mistake... only one reservation existed for "Mike". I could not believe everyone in our party just wanted to let it go. It bothered me so much I asked where they were sitting, went over to their table and chided them for stealing our reservation. They sat there mostly speechless.

Another time... on a pub crawl, we stopped for eats at Brew It Up (in the bar section mind you). Some guy came over and asked one of my friends to 'keep it down". He wasn't being overly loud. I told the guy to "fuck off", then yelled at him after he went back to his table "Fuck off" and flipped him off. Okay, not my wittiest moment... but I think he got the point.

Douchebags aren't just encountered at restuarants, finding parking spots, or waiting in line. I once had a boss at work who was playing favorites. I confronted him, asking for equal promotion. After getting the run-around, I opened an HR case on him requesting civil service procedures be followed with objective criteria for promotions. After they tested us, I got the promotion... and have perceived a higher level of respect since (that boss is long gone).

The list could go on....

Don't be a pussy. Don't be that person that retaliates inward with resentment, only later to think "Yeah, I should have said THAT." You must defend the principles of civility. To do anything less is to not respect yourself. First, have your own principles. Second, stand up for them. We all have the responsibility to make this world a better place. Don't let in the drivers who fail to signal. Tell people who talk too loud on their cell phones to be quiet. Follow people who don't pick up their dog poop home, and shit on their front porch. I guarantee you will feel your angst transform into self-respect.