It’s no secret, I am pretty awesome at a lot of things.
I like to think of it as part of being a well-rounded person. It’s important to be awesome at as many things as possible.
But, of all the things I have mastered, there is one skill I still lack, much to my dismay:
We’ve all been there, in a place where someone is being a major tool in public. Some self-absorbed idiot is talking loudly on her phone on the bus, or there’s a drunk guy at the movies. They make everyone angry. But there are very few, proud, honorable warriors for common decency who will take a stand and bawl out these people in front of everyone.
Today, I salute you, people who aren’t afraid to say what everyone is thinking. You are too often taken for granted and I hope I can grow up to be like you. Here are just a few heroic stories of your valiant exploits.
At the Movies
My wife and I were just in this situation this weekend, at the movies. We were in a smaller theater, less than half full. Halfway through The Descendants, a group of four teenagers entered and took the front row, obviously sneaking in for a double feature. Based on the fact that they were sneaking in halfway through The Descendants, I calculated their collective intelligence to be about that of a fern.
Then they started talking. Loudly. And I began to believe I had overestimated their intelligence.
One of the gay guys a seat down from us shushed them loudly. I was already ashamed that I didn’t have the guts to shush too.
But the chimps didn’t take the hint. And the entire theater started to murmur with complaints.
So a few minutes later, another guy went down and politely told them everyone could hear them. A collective thank you was whispered by the crowd.
Then a woman in the back added, “In other words, shut the f— up.”
She said what we didn’t have the guts to. And everyone laughed. And less than a minute later, when the teenagers left in shame, the gay guys started a round of applause. It was awesome. I salute you, fellow theater patrons, and allies of justice!
On the Road
While on vacation, my wife and I were eating at a tiny outdoor restaurant on the edge of town with only one other family at the table next to us.
We were enjoying our food when we saw an obnoxiously large SUV attempt to parallel park. In doing so, the SUV bumped the Volkswagen behind it three times.
The guy got out and looked like the kind of self-important clown who drives an obnoxiously large SUV. The kind of guy who has a bluetooth set on his ear at all times. In other words, not the kind of guy I’m likely to confront. But the woman at the next table did. She yelled and berated his sorry face as he tried to walk away, probably to hit on skanky girls at the bars down the street.
My only contribution was a timid uh-huh when she told the guy I had seen him hit the car too. I salute you, woman at the barbecue stand, for having more guts than me.
Why Do the Rest of Us Stay Quiet?
Why are there so few special people out there who aren’t afraid to yell at strangers? Why do we refuse to say what we know everyone is thinking when one person is making everyone miserable? Why do we act like spineless gastropods around smug, selfish people who think nothing of everyone around them?
Just once, I’d like to be able to punch a drunk guy or throw someone’s cell phone out the bus window, or flip off a bunch of occupy protesters.
Why do you think that is? Are you one of those people who takes a stand? If so, I would be honored to shake your hand. If not, it’s okay, you’re in good company.