'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
IT’S FINE TO BE POLITE – BUT NOT HERE
We live in an increasingly rude culture. For example, this statement, "Well, at least I didn't punch the stupid jerk," is now considered to be a shining example of courtesy and politeness. Especially if it refers to a Parent/Teacher meeting with Mrs. Finkleman, the 59-year-old second grade teacher who noted that little Johnny is often disruptive, which caused little Johnny's main role model and possible biological father to spew a few F-bombs and cock his fist in reply. Nowadays, the absence of an actual right cross to Mrs. Finkleman's jaw indicates that civility and graciousness ultimately carried the day.
So our society could use a lot more politeness. But there is one area of life where politeness is not needed; in fact, it can be downright dangerous. You'll be stunned to learn this dangerous display of politeness occurs on our highways and byways. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying American motorists are as a rule polite. During a typical daily commute on I-84, one is likely to encounter a dozen drivers who make little Johnny's possible biological father seem like Mother Teresa by comparison.
The problem with overly polite drivers usually occurs on busy roads with two lanes of traffic in each direction. When someone has his or her blinker on, and either wants to take a left-hand turn or merge into the main travel lane, the polite driver will stop and wave the other person on. It’s a very lovely and courteous gesture, no doubt. But often the polite driver has no clue what is happening in other lanes.
This exact situation happened to me last week. There were two lanes of traffic moving in each direction. The speed limit was 50 mph, but heavy volume caused all of us to move along between 10 and 30 mph. I needed to take a left hand turn, so I got into the left lane, put on my turn signal, and just sat there for a few minutes as cars in the opposite direction kept moving past. Then a polite driver, in the left lane of the oncoming traffic, came to a stop and waved toward me to make my left hand turn. The problem was, I could see vehicles in the right-hand oncoming lane bearing down on the exact spot my car would be if I made the left-hand turn. If I followed the polite driver’s directions, I would’ve steered right into the path of a moving 4-wheel drive pickup truck, which would’ve broadsided my tiny Saab.
Not being in the mood that day to have my car totaled, nor my spinal column rearranged, I shook my head “no” and tried to acknowledge the other driver’s courtesy by mouthing the words, “Thank you.” Apparently the other driver thought I mouthed a different two-word phrase that also ends in the word “you,” a phrase that is often abbreviated by harried motorists into sign language, the famous “We’re number one!” finger gesture.
The other driver’s politeness disappeared, and he quickly transformed himself into little Johnny’s possible biological father. He pulled up a few feet to come alongside my car, rolled down his window, and started spewing F-bombs at me, both verbally and with abbreviated finger gestures.
Not wanting to be impolite by ignoring the other motorist, I rolled down my window and respectfully suggested his Intelligence Quotient was in the single-digit range. As traffic backed up in both directions, other drivers honked their horns, pleading with us to move along.
All in all, it was a fairly courteous and polite encounter. That is, of course, because no punches were thrown.
|Home||Current Faith||Current Funnies||Faith Archive||Funnies Archive||Contact Bill|