I think it’s really funny when people think rudeness is against the law. For instance, I was in the Santa Fe dog park once, with my dog, and there was this guy who had a couple of pit bulls, and they were assholes. They were exerting dominance over all the other dogs and starting little skirmishes with a lot of scary dog-fight noises but no actual blood. And their owner was a complete asshole, too. He was saying things like, “Well, if you weren’t so high strung, my dogs wouldn’t be acting like this!”
The other people around were mostly women and he was calling us “high strung” and stuff like that. A real asshole. So, as he and his dogs moved through the dog park like a malevolent storm cloud of meanness, everyone at the dog park hated him and we were forming little groups here and there to gossip about what a jerk he was.
He’s Making Everybody Wrong!
Everybody in the dog park was huddling in the bushes, saying, “Dude, did you see that guy? What a dick!” I kind of liked how having this common enemy brought people together. Then this lady came up to me and we were gossiping like that, and she said, “Oh! He’s awful! He’s just going around making everybody wrong!”
I thought, “Making everybody wrong.” That must be a psychotherapy term that you learn in psychoanalysis. I could infer the meaning from the context. He certainly was doing that, and I agreed, but then she said, “That’s it! I’m calling the police!” and stalked off with phone in hand, looking for a signal.
This simple statement changed everything.
A minute ago, she and I were in agreement, and now she’s gone completely cuckoo-bananas and I no longer feel the warm sense of bonding against this guy I was feeling. Instead, I feel distinctly like I’m surrounded by two completely different types of maniacs. This lady seemed to think you could call the police on someone who’s breaking the laws of positive psychology. Did she think it was illegal to be a dick? Because I don’t defend the guy’s dickish behavior, but realistically, it’s not illegal to be a dick. But this is the kind of lady where if I actually said that out loud, she’d take it as if I were on his side. The unwritten rule of her life being: “if you’re not completely overreacting, you’re with the enemy!”
Call Judge Judy!
I seem to run into people like this every now and then. They’ll call the cops on political incorrectness, psychologically unhealthy practices, those breaking the laws of good decorum … and, probably, those who fail to cross the knife and fork across their plates when finished eating as Emily Post once so avidly instructed. So next time you’re in a fine dining establishment with one of your low-brow friends … better perform a citizen’s arrest and prevent a fracas!