Sunday, June 7, 2009

"The Healing Power of Violence"

This one led to a message online that read, "I guess all liberals aren't alike. I suppose I'd better leave that big stroller at home." I responded that I didn't mind the big strollers, so long as he left them in the street with the other SUV's. A few months later, at an art event, I met the woman who wrote the message. She was geniunely funny - and had a ginormous all-terrain stroller.

As much as I would like to see the idea of death handled with a bit more finesse, I have to admit that I have a warm place in my heart for a spot of fisticuffs. I believe in the healing power of violence, the soothing joy of a butt kicking; I buy my cans of Whoop-Ass® 24 at a time at Big Lots. I believe that planting a fist six inches deep through a person’s face really does solve certain situations best.

As I grow older the criteria I use to determine who deserves a box on the ears has gotten looser. Times past, I’d believe in giving a drubbing only to a select few, but now I’m getting older and crankier.

Cell phone shouters – those people who feel that they have to raise their voice in the most public places to be heard at the other end of the line – well, simply put, each of them deserves a quick smack to the back of the head. Winn-Dixie managers who keep four lines open during the day when there is no one inside except the four cashiers staring at other, and then close all but two lines at five o’clock when the crowds roll in? The tried and true swift kick in the ass seems apropos for this situation. Those yahoos who cut you off in traffic and then immediately slow down? I believe every citizen has the right to act as a police officer in this case: pull them over, tap on the glass, and bang them in the head with a Maglite.

But those are obvious ones. In recent years, new crops of annoying people have popped up, like weeds in need of pesticide. I have identified three such subgroups, each in need of a beating.
The first are those who congregate in high-traffic social settings, form large circles in the walkways or in front of doorways, and chat, expecting everyone to walk around them or to wait patiently until they finish talking. I call these people Hemorrhoids; they’re a bit constricting, they’re pains in the ass, and it’s considered rude to poke them in public.

At one recent ArtMix, a group of five people completely blocked the entrance to Brown’s Fine Art. When I tried to walk through them to get inside, one man said, “Excuse me, we’re talking here.” Well, cubby, I’m thinking about knocking your head into a vat of hummus here.

The second group is similar to the first, but even more clueless. I call these the Stroller People. These are the parents – invariably young – who are apparently too damn lazy to carry their own little cherub around. Instead, they pack said cherub into an SUV – a Stroller Utility Vehicle – and then wheel them through every small business in the city. No shop is too tiny, no aisles too narrow for these selfish, self-absorbed twits to shove, twist, drag, and haul their little angel’s off-road vehicle through. These people actually expect you to get out of their way so they can wedge themselves into a corner and admire the selection of scented candles. Put simply, the desire to slash their tires and beat them senseless with the aluminum frame of said vehicle is something I have to genuinely fight down every time I see them.

Lastly I’d like to address the Street Preachers – people who approach perfect strangers and ask if we know how much damage our tobacco smoke does to our lungs (or how many animals died to provide the meat for our dinner, or anything of the kind). Well, actually I do, and I don’t care. It’s one thing for someone to do this with somebody they know, but it is quite uncool to do this to strangers. Know that when you ask me a question like that, I am thinking seriously about riposting with: “Do you know how many PSIs a broken table leg would hit with, should I choose to rip the bottom of this table apart and lay into you? And do you know how many square feet I could pummel before you fall unconscious? And are you aware that no one around us cares whether I do this, because they all want you to shut the hell up and sit the hell down?”

I doubt very seriously that these groups of people are aware how much I want them to be quiet, or to stay out of the way, or to move aside. But maybe next time they think about being annoying, they’ll give just a moment’s thought to the man standing just behind them. It may not be me.

But it might.

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