The Buck Stops
Anywhere But Here
by Mad Dog
games are a waste of time except when we play them, and people who take
their children on airplanes are incredibly inconsiderate and shouldn’t
be allowed to fly. Except, of course, when we need to take our kids
||Last July was National
Cellphone Courtesy Month, an occasion which has the honor of having been
voted Oxymoronic Observance of the Year three times running. One of the
high points of the celebration was Sprint’s releasing their annual
survey of cell phone etiquette in which...
Hey, will you hang up that phone,
there are people trying to read this!
The survey revealed that 80 percent
of those polled said people are less courteous when using cell phones
today than they were five years ago. At the same time, 97 percent of the
respondents said they are “very courteous” or “somewhat
courteous” when on the phone. In other words, nearly everyone who uses
a cell phone is courteous, but no one else who uses one is. Go ahead,
ponder this for a moment. It kind of makes your brain hurt, doesn’t
Apparently there’s some very new
math at work here. Either that or a lot of people are in denial,
suffering from delusions, or generally not self-aware as they like to
say on Oprah, Dr. Phil, and if it’s a particularly good show, Dr.
Ruth. In other words: people are rude but I’m not people.
classic routine, George Carlin said, "Ever notice that anyone going
slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster is a moron?"
The problem is, when you’re passing the idiot he’s calling you a
This phenomenon, which we’ll call INM (It’s Not Me), has
become entirely too common. We run around complaining about how there
are so many loud obnoxious people, yet we do it in a loud obnoxious
voice. Nope, it’s not me. We gripe about people who don’t know how
to drive and we do so while making a left hand turn without using a turn
signal. It’s not me either. Video games are a waste of time except
when we play them, drinking too much in public is completely
embarrassing except when we do it, and people who take their children on
airplanes are incredibly inconsiderate and shouldn’t be allowed to
fly. Except, of course, when we need to take our kids somewhere.
Remember, they say when you point your finger at someone there are three
pointing back at you. Of course while that may be true for other people,
it’s not for me.
With INM, what’s good for the goose
no longer has anything to do with the gander. It falls somewhere between
not accepting personal responsibility and self-delusion. Cigarette
smoking is bad. After all, that’s what all those Surgeon General’s
warning have been about since, oh, 1965. Yet 20 percent of Americans
tempt fate anyway because, well, when it comes to lung cancer and
emphysema, It’s Not Me. Sixty-four percent of Americans are overweight
or obese, yet 21 percent of them say they don’t need to lose weight.
Hello? Either their full-length mirrors are broken, they’re overdue to
visit the optometrist, or they’re lifetime subscribers to INM
Monthly, devouring articles like “I’m okay, what’s your
problem”, “There’s no ‘me’ in ‘you’”, and “Discover
your new mantra: It Ain’t Me, Babe.”
It’s all about point of view. In
his classic routine, George Carlin said, "Ever notice that anyone
going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster is a
moron?" The problem is, when you’re passing the idiot he’s
calling you a moron. So you see, we’re all idiots or morons to someone
impossible to say for certain whether It’s Not Me has gotten worse.
It’s not like the government releases the Gross National Clueless
Index every quarter.
I know, INM.
A corollary to this is INH (It’s
Not Him/Her). Someone walks into their workplace carrying an AK-47 and
mows down the whole department. The next day their third grade teacher
is on the news saying how sweet and adorable he was and how she can’t
believe he would be capable of doing anything like that. INH. During the
sentencing phase of the Scott Peterson trial his family, friends, golf
buddies, and I suspect third grade teacher sat on the stand and told the
jury how Peterson was a wonderful person and they couldn’t believe he
was capable of the crime of which he’d been found guilty. INH.
No one wants to believe that anyone
is capable of anything. In Mexico the other day, police broke into
Gumaro de Dios Arias’ house and found him grilling his lover’s heart
for breakfast. Apparently he’d gotten tired of the tomato and
onion-based stew he’d made from his lover’s body, which he’d eaten
for three days straight. Okay, so he isn’t a graduate of the Culinary
Institute of America. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before
someone pops up on the news shouting “INH!” and declares that Arias
was always a picky eater, hated tomatoes, and loved his third grade
teacher, so how could anyone believe the man to be capable of such an
It’s impossible to say for certain
whether It’s Not Me has gotten worse. It’s not like the government
releases the Gross National Clueless Index every quarter. But
considering we have a president who, during the debates, couldn’t even
come up with any mistakes he’s made, it’s safe to assume the trickle
down is pretty much a torrent. From personal observation I have to say
that it seems people have definitely gotten worse about it. Well,
everyone but me, that is.
©2004 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Don't worry, it's not about you.