The Rant

Have Consideration for the People With Whom You Share the Planet

I’d like to propose that from this point forward we live by six unwritten rules of mutual respect

Dear Neighbors,

I think we can agree that the world is currently a roaring shitstorm of robot attacks, gun slaughter and head-lopping, so, in the interest of bringing a wee bit of sanity and order to our lives, I'd like to propose that from this point forward we live by six unwritten rules of mutual respect.

First, let's talk about sharing the same living space. We all enjoy sex, but between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. could you please not fuck your roommate on the rolling desk chair while blasting Green Day? While I appreciate that rock, adjustable office furniture and the shrill cry of "Almost! Almost! Almost!" heighten the sexual experience, your ear-busting nocturnal grind-offs wake everyone in our ZIP code. No, I don't give a shit that you were hammered, or even that you're crazy in love. If you want to fuck loudly, do it at a reasonable hour, like when my kids are at school.

The same goes for the crack-fueled moron who feels the need to vacuum at 2 a.m. And if you're the shithead who chains his bikes on the railing outside my apartment so that I groin myself on the handlebars every time I leave for work, just stop it. Now. And while you're at it, please remove your I-Love-Me goggles and meditate on Unwritten Rule #1: "Have consideration for the people with whom you share the planet."

Now. Let's look at your cell phone issues. I get that cell phones are an inextricable part of our daily lives and therefore must be used in public places, but please don't decide that a crowded train is a good place to have a business meeting on speaker phone. What? You thought nobody noticed? The whole train got to hear you and your market monkey jerk off about margins and fees. Don't ever do that again. Ever.

And don't be the chowderhead on the plane who trumpets into his phone all the interesting food items he bought in the terminal while eating those items and spraying them onto the armrest between us. Oh, and a word of warning to the jogger who stares down at his playlist so that we pedestrians have to dive into traffic when he barrels through: Next time, your nuts will wear my umbrella.

Before you tell me to fuck off, take a moment to imagine how annoying and stupid conversations sound when they don't include you or anyone you know. And if your shallow, self-interested self can't make that short leap, the next time you pick up your phone, just try to remember Unwritten Rule #2: "Have consideration for the people with whom you share the planet."

Travel is another area where you could use some work. Though I know it's unrealistic and would cause social upheaval, I would like the Department of Transportation to consider writing up a "Public Travel Dress Code." I'm not saying you should dress up to travel, I'm just saying that when you know you're going to share 6 square feet of seating space with one of your fellow humans, maybe you should consider wearing more than flip-flops, jogging shorts and a wife beater. I want you to be comfortable, but I don't want to share your body hair. I have my own, thanks.

I'm not even going to get into why you thought a Bowie knife wouldn't shut down the security line, or how you blocked the escalator with a bag of giant Sea World souvenirs, I just want you to offload that "me first" mindset and embrace Unwritten Rule #3: "Have consideration for the people with whom you share the planet."

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I know you're an animal lover, and I'm an animal lover, too. (And when I say I'm an animal lover I include all animals except cats who, as we all know, are Satan's spawn.) That being said, you're wildly deluded if you think I've paused to admire your hound when you block the sidewalk with your stretchy leash. Actually, I'm pausing to calculate what jail time I'll serve for curb-stomping you and "Duchess." Please get the fuck out of the way so that I can get to my place of employment without having to rupture an ACL hurdling your stretchy leash. Also, when Duchess barks and lunges at my trouser cuff, you smiling apologetically and saying, "That's weird. She doesn't usually do that," only further convinces me that you should both be euthanized.

I'm sorry. That was a little harsh. I just need you to keep in mind that while we all love OUR pets, we don't necessarily love YOUR pets. Loving a pet is like loving a child, it's a very personal experience that the world doesn't necessarily want to share with you. Especially if sharing includes a rabies shot. So, when you bring your Duchess into the public arena, please remind her in your cutest dog voice that she is not a human being. She is an animal. She doesn't talk. She's not allowed to drink from the drinking fountain. And her shit isn't a work of art. Pick it the fuck up. Finally, she, like you, should step out of petlove oblivion and abide by Unwritten Rule #4: "Have consideration for the people with whom you share the planet."

Everyone knows you couldn't be the deranged scofflaw who took 30 items into the "10 Items Only" line, but you just might be the clueless obstructionist who spent 14 minutes digging for the penny that would give you the exact right amount of money to pay for breath mints. Here's a tip: If there's a line behind you, give the clerk a bill and take the fucking change! Coins are good. They work in machines. They have people with wigs on them. And nickels make a very effective weapon when loaded into a sock.

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And as long as we're on the subject of public marketplaces, don't EVER think that you can stand in front of the milk and cream bar and stir your coffee while the rest of us are waiting. And don't approach the "CASH ONLY" sign with a credit card out and complain that you didn't see the sign that was written in hunter orange and a 900-point font. When you're in a public marketplace, look around. There are other people who would like to make purchases, too. And chances are that if you show them some respect they, too, will honor Unwritten Rule #5: "Have consideration for the people with whom you share the planet."

By the way, you look really bitchin' in that black Range Rover, but that doesn't mean you get to not use your turning signal and/or blow through the crosswalk. There are traffic laws, even for assholes in black Range Rovers. And if you were the dick driving that pickup truck that was 18 inches from my bumper, your self-esteem issues are written all over the monster tires you're still paying for. Suck on that! The road is for everyone, even neurotic, slow drivers like me, so back the fuck off or go around.

On the other hand, if you're driving slower than me, get the fuck out of the way. I guess what I'm saying here is that everybody hates the way everybody else drives, so when you're on the road keep Unwritten Rule #6 in mind: "Have consideration for the people with whom you share the planet."

As for mothers with strollers … stop it. All of it.

Here's the bottom line, neighbor: The world is one fucked up rock, but we have to share it. Unless you have a spaceship and own an inhabitable planet that I haven't heard of, we're stuck with each other for eternity. Our predicament could be tolerable, even enjoyable, if, on a daily basis, you and I take the time to yank our heads from our asses and respectfully acknowledge that we're in this together.

Then, just maybe, all of that consideration and mutual respect will blossom into a massive pay-it-forward explosion of world love, obliterating robot attacks, gun slaughter and head-lopping and ringing in a season of peace and order and sublime universal happiness.

Or it will just keep me from beating you with a sock full of nickels.

Happy Holidays!

Your Neighbor