Category Archives: That Should Be A Thing!
A emotional existence defined by negativity most often does not develop in one sudden rush.
Individual negative event particles (“NEP’s”), like microscopic frowny-faced ions (“MFFI’s”), drip-drop around a person’s soul until that individual is eventually pummeled by the now-formed waterfall of negativity (ironically, “WON”), which can culminate in the lashing out at a stranger who made the mistake of being in the same room as as our subject, now drowned in negativity, completely pissed off.
Unfortunately, this state of being “pissed off” is the downfall of many otherwise healthy relationships.
With that in mind, we also acknowledge that “it is better to be pissed off than pissed on,” and though I suppose that may technically be true, it is nonetheless a shockingly low bar. Returning home from work and remarking, out loud, “At least no one literally urinated onto my person” should provide about as much emotional comfort as a teddy bear made of aluminium foil and day-old croutons.
The soft — and wet — bigotry of low expectations.
Though the relationship between being pissed off and pissed on is good for a laugh, sometimes the connection being pissed off/on is actually quite literal.
For as long as indoor plumbing has existed, it can be safely assumed that women who cohabitate with men find themselves drawing a straight line from “pissed on” — the toilet seat, that is — to “pissed off.” Of course, this idea is nothing new. The notion that “men should put the toilet seat down” is as old as indoor plumbing. In fact, by now, the concept is fairly described as equal parts cliche and uninteresting. And because this proverbial horse has been beaten to death for so long that his glue has already dried, we have either become complacent about this subject or have unemotionally declared this fundamental male-female strain unserious.
But it is quite serious!
Now, because I am a solutions-oriented guy, and because I do not believe that women should be subject to live in a world where the left of one’s behind is subject to what is left of what was left behind, I am hereby embarking to remedy this rift. And men, let us recognize that this is not necessarily a Women’s Rights issue in any real sense. On this issue, Rosie the Riveter is nowhere to be found. It is merely a practical issue that — when it is apparent — most often negatively impacts the female sect of the species.
But it may be possible to find a solution that benefits both parties.
We can do it!
And in any case, no one likes pee on the seat.
America, let it be known: I have the solution.
Every home in America, every apartment, every bungalow, should be equipped with a urinal (or three). The immediate benefit is obvious.
Imagine, ladies: no more pee on the seat!
Imagine, men: no more pesky seat to fiddle with and keep track of!
Besides providing a boon to our sputtering economy — I’m sure the Porcelain Industry could use a boost — an increase in the number of urinals in this country would have a calming impact on domestic situations from coast to coast. Because toilet seats will no longer be pissed on, women will no longer be pissed off.
The connection could not be more straightforward!
And lest we start believing that an explosion of urinals would serve to benefit only womankind, please also note that we men love them, too! Urinals require almost no aim, can (usually) be peed into hands-free-for-the-most-part, and there is never any clean-up required — unless you are very, very drunk and/or are literally trying to mark your territory.
Folks may fairly argue that space is at a premium in most bathrooms, but you will never be able to convince me that a second sink is more valuable than an argument-suppressing urine catching device. Couples who are interested in making it work will find a way to make it work.
Let’s make it happen, America.
A urinal in every home.
Support the two potty system!
Since everyone, myself included, seems to have survived the publication of Part One of That Should Be A Thing!, I am unafraid in my quest to bring you today’s installment, henceforth known as Part Two.
The only difference is that this time, mercifully, there will be no poetry section.
For those just joining us, That Should Be A Thing! is, as I laid out in Part One, a discussion and analysis of “awkward social situations that I believe are common enough (and awkward enough) to warrant some kind of culture-wide understanding.”
Last time we fleshed out Open Door Policies, behaviors I believe we ought to exhibit (or refrain from) while entering a doorway.
It is my hope that you will take this suggestion as seriously as the last set. Which is to say, I hope you skim it and then roll your eyes and then sigh and then yawn and then close your browser and unexcitedly move on with your life, completely unaffected.
That Should Be A Thing!
Part II: Parallel Universal
Problem: Determining whether it is socially appropriate, all elements considered, while walking on a sidewalk, to attempt to assist a driver struggling to parallel park his/her vehicle.
Rule: Yes, it is always acceptable and appropriate while walking, to stop and assist a driver attempting to parallel park.
Explanation: This is, quite simply, the right thing to do.
So far as I can tell, what is preventing folks from helping others park in difficult situations are the somewhat vague notions that (a) people generally want to be left alone and (b) even if they do not want to be left alone, it is insulting or embarrassing to assist a person if they do not actually need the help.
I’d prefer not to live in a world where these are our default assumptions about the people we encounter.
(I will, of course, continue living in that world, but I’d prefer not to.)
Regarding (a): “Folks want to be left alone.”
Some people demand to be left alone. Some people would rather live permanently inside their own head than sit with a stranger for ten minutes on a park bench. Or talk about the weather with a fellow milk-and-avocado buyer in line at the grocery store. Some people. And yet the reality is that for most of us, an imperfect, good-natured interaction with a stranger or random passer-by is an immediate improvement to an otherwise forgettable day. So why not try to be that stranger?
Regarding (b): “It’s weird to help a person if they don’t need it.”
I blame our increasingly-isolated society for this theory. Yet, as a bit of a 21st century digital boy myself, I sympathize with the anxiety (annexiety?) associated with the thought of assisting the perfectly capable. But let’s be honest with ourselves: this is a morally questionable position to take.
If you witness someone trip over a stone and struggle to stand up, you would (or should!) help them, even if you reasonably assume that they eventually could get to their feet by themselves, right?
If someone is struggling and we have it in our power to diminish their suffering — especially if the cost (time, money, effort, etc.) to us is low (which it is in the case of our helping someone parallel park) — it seems that we ought to help, regardless of whether the person could eventually fix their own problem. So, why should anything change when the party being assisted is surrounded by a couple thousand pounds of steel?
The next time you’re wandering around town and you see a poor soul struggling to fit their SUV in between a RAV and a hard place, consider guiding them home. It won’t take you much time and hey, maybe it’ll make their day a little less horrible.
And then, once they’ve settled into their spot, you can finally smile and passive-aggressively point out of the irony of their prominently placed “GO GREEN” bumper sticker.
- Truck displaying truck nuts
- Visible gun rack
- Invisible gun rack
- Confederate flag decal
- Gun rack shaped like confederate flag
- License plate ‘FKURSLF’
Semi-Relevant Poem Section:
it is not uncommon
to see a sign that reads:
If You See Something,
This is one of the
of all time
I should be
This is the first part of the possibly-one-part series, That Should Be A Thing! What follows is a list of awkward social situations that I believe are common enough (and awkward enough) to warrant some kind of culture-wide understanding.
The reason I’ve used heading “That should be a thing!” is because these are the words I invariably barf out whenever I’ve decided that there is a simple, universalizable behavior that could be associated with a particular set of facts that would benefit society as a whole.
If you are moved by these suggestions, and if you are inspired like I am to make your day-to-day interactions with humanity even a fraction more palpable (palpabler?), please consider modifying your behavior in these ultra-specific ways. In addition, if you are ever the passive party in the yet-to-be-mentioned circumstances, recognize and be heartened by any party who successfully follows through with these suggestions.
Unfortunately, unless everyone that you will ever encounter reads — and agrees with! — this entry, I may fall a little short in my quest to completely alter the course of human history.
That Should Be A Thing!
Part I: Open Door Policies
Doors are crazy.
They have many purposes (purpii?), but the two most crucial are polar opposites.
- Doors allow people to get IN
- Doors allow people to get OUT
Most of the time, this isn’t a problem.
Other times, it is.
And then there are those situations that are secretly not problems at all, but I nevertheless view as serious quandaries and determine with gusto that something ought to be done.
So here I am, seeing something and saying something.
Are You Going First or Number 2?
Problem: Determining bathroom doorway priority between simultaneously arriving entering and exiting parties.
Rule: When two people — one attempting to leave and one arriving to do their, uh, duty — find themselves face-to-face in a bathroom doorway, regardless of who has opened the door, priority should always be given to the person entering the bathroom.
Explanation: It is important that this scenario is discussed because I believe the determinative, most crucial characteristic of either party garners very little attention during this interaction: one of these hypothetical people has to go to the bathroom. One person is seeking relief and the other has just finished relieving themselves.
Priority is typically based on a long string of social rules and unspoken hierarchies, but in this scenario, as two parties mirror each other, strafing froward-and-back-and-left-and-then-right-and-then-right-and-then-left, only one thing matters. Sure, one party needs to leave, but the other needs to go.
It doesn’t matter who gets to the door first or which way the door swings.
Let the pee-ple go!
- Creepy, single-serve bathroom
- Priority defaults to any person allowed to pre-board an airplane
- Exiting person has power to fire you
The “No-Hold” Unbarred
Problem: Determining situations where the kindness of holding a door open is outweighed by inconvenience to trailing party targeted by good deed.
Rule: If the trailing party is so far back that they will feel compelled to placate you by quickening their pace in order to enter the doorway, it is proper to not hold the door, even if the the trailing party will arrive before the door has fully re-shut.
Explanation: Before I begin, let me get this initial point out of the way: Holding the door is a nice gesture. I am not against holding the door for people. It is worthy of a “thank you” and a “you’re welcome” and an occasional, knowing smile.
By default, you should hold the door all the time, for anyone and everyone.
That said, this would-be favor actually becomes an inconvenience if the person behind you feels the need to quicken their pace in order to do you a favor (that is, keep you from waiting in the doorway).
When the trailing member of the duo is forced to giddy up, the result is that two people have earnestly tried — and failed! — to do the other a favor. Each intends to perform a kind act, but neither actually benefits emotionally from the transaction.
The door-opener (openor?) fails because they have unnecessarily compelled the door-openee to alter their comfortable walking pace, while the door-openee fails because they have communicated their anxiety to the door-opener.
I recognize the tendency to feel slighted when a stranger fails to use “common courtesy” as well as the pressure to “do the right thing” in every social situation, but I think we can agree that there are times when holding the door is neither courtesy (common or otherwise) nor the right thing.
- You have already made eye-contact with the person
- Priority defaults to any person allowed to pre-board an airplane
- Trailing person has the power to fire you
So there you have it.
Spread the word!
Make the world a more tolerable place!