Read This Now,
by Mad Dog
Face it, when your baby’s first words are “Come on,
people!” you know there’s a problem.
||We’re an impatient
bunch. We hate standing in line, fume when we’re on hold, and think
“instant gratification” is just a high falutin’ way of saying
“life.” We have better things to do than wait. Like, well, you name
it. There are so many things we can’t find the time for that the last
thing we want to waste our time doing is waiting at the cash register
while someone runs back to aisle 7 to find a loaf of bread that
doesn’t have a price sticker covering the cooking instructions. If you
were to put all of the minutes you spend waiting each year end to end
starting at New York City you’d have a mixed metaphor that stretched
all the way to San Francisco. Which is about how long the line is for
the bathroom at any given baseball game. Longer when you really, really,
really have to go and can’t wait another second. Face it, when your
baby’s first words are “Come on, people!” you know there’s a
A recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll
was kind enough to quantify our impatience and, as they say,
quantification is next to instant gratification. Or something like that.
Since you were probably too impatient to wade deep enough into the
article when it appeared in the newspaper to uncover the good stuff,
here it is: On the average it takes people waiting in line at a store 17
minutes before they lose their patience. It takes only 9 minutes when
waiting on the phone. Men lose it faster than women, city dwellers lose
it faster than suburbanites, and, okay already, I’m getting to the
point. Relax, will you?
One in three drivers said they don’t usually stop for
pedestrians in crosswalks, one in five didn’t know that roads are most
slippery when it first starts to rain, and one in seven missed taking
the test because no one told them “D” means drive
Grocery store lines are the worst. The post office is a close
second. Listening to the same message while on hold makes us steam,
sitting on the runway after the plane has landed makes us mutter
“Amtrak. Amtrak. Amtrak.”, and waiting in traffic when we’re
supposed to be driving is enough to make us feel like Michael Douglas in
Falling Down. Minus the bad haircut and glasses, hopefully.
You’re trapped, you’re going nowhere, and that stupid driver in
front of you has spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get
through a 4-way stop intersection. That’s 2˝ minutes per stop sign.
C’mon buddy, don’t you know we have things to do?
Yes, driving is a major source of
impatience, and for that reason I suggest you don’t drive in Rhode
Island. A recent national test conducted by GMAC Insurance (motto:
“You can never be too rich or have too much insurance”) found that
drivers in the tiny state had the worst driving knowledge in the
country. Washington, D.C., was the next worst while Oregon drivers did
the best. In fact, based on the test, one out of 11 licensed drivers in
the United States would fail a state drivers test if they had to take it
today. Of course if that many people had to go to DMV to take the test
today they would be in line until October 2009, which would be a good
thing for us since it would mean they wouldn’t be on the road where
they obviously don’t belong. One in three drivers said they don’t
usually stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, one in five didn’t know
that roads are most slippery when it first starts to rain, and one in
seven missed taking the test because no one told them “D” means
drive. Be scared. Be very scared.
it's a mental disorder, something you can use as a defense in court, an
excuse to stay home from work with pay, and a valid reason to be able to
retire early with full disability. Lord knows we can never have too many
For most people, impatience results in light puffs of smoke
coming out of their ears. Maybe a few words the kids shouldn’t hear.
Oh, and an extra beer or two once they get home, which won’t be
anytime this year if traffic doesn’t clear up. But for others it
causes rage. This rage, it turns out, may not be a character fault. It
may be a bona fide, honest to goodness mental disorder, one that might
even be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (motto:
“It’s all in your head. Except the bill we send you. That’s
real.”). Yes, a mental disorder, something you can use as a defense in
court, an excuse to stay home from work with pay, and a valid reason to
be able to retire early with full disability. Lord knows we can never
have too many all-purpose excuses.
So if you scream at the driver in
front of you who's going too slow, fling ash trays across the room
because you can't find the Cheeto that looks like Abe Lincoln you had
stashed under the seat cushion, or trash your bedroom because you
didn’t make it as a rock star who can do that same thing under the
label of “status quo” and get away with it, it doesn’t necessarily
mean you’re a bad person, in spite of what your spouse and kids tell
you. No, you might be suffering from IED, Intermittent Explosive
Disorder. A study released in the Archives of General Psychiatry says 16
million Americans may suffer from this behavior disorder. That's a lot
of cursing without having Tourette’s as an excuse.
Now that it’s been identified and
named it won’t be long before there’s a telethon to help find a cure
("WHY AREN'T YOU DONATING MORE MONEY GODDAMMIT!!!"), pop
groups will band together — spearheaded by Smash Mouth — to record a
charity song, and we'll all apologize to Naomi Campbell, Jack Nicholson,
and Russell Crowe for scorning them when they've thrown things in, well,
an IED episode. Then, of course, they’ll discover a cure. I sure hope
they find it fast. Like tomorrow. I mean, what the hell are they waiting
for? DON’T THEY KNOW WE HAVE THINGS TO DO?!?
©2006 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read them.
All the way through. Now!