Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quick Takes - Sociopaths at the wheel


My friend Hickey, whom you all surely know from Bathroom Science fame (search in the right-hand navigation if you're new here), and I were discussing a fascinating article from Internet juggernaut The Last Psychiatrist about narcissism and the idolization of ego in the modern world, titled "Why We Love Sociopaths." Hickey and I are, for the sake of this article at least, normally-cisstic and minimally-egotistical folks (no comments, please), so in the context of the article, we are the non-Sociopaths (again, no comments). There's a lot of great stuff discussed in the article, but there's one paragraph about the proverbial "line cutter" that really struck home with me:
He's a different kind of person than you.  He can do things you can't, do women you can't, he sees the world's rules differently, which specifically means he understands that there are no "world's rules," that rules are decided by those with power for their own benefit.  After he cuts in line, he pockets a Milky Way bar because, well, because he got away with it.  My grammar is correct: he can do it since he got away with it.
I have met many people like this, we all have, and I've certainly encountered them throughout the stages of my life (other than larval), but I happened to (nearly) run into one today on the commute to work, and there's no outlet for the rage it induces other than here. So prepare yourself. It's a simple tale, told a thousand times on a thousand drives across our fair land: The long, inchworm line of cars all waiting patiently for their chance to turn, for their number to be called. The single, rogue asshole who decides to forgo the line and drive up to the front, passing 100 cars in the process and darting in at the last moment before the turn to go forward on his merry way.

Having read the aforementioned article recently, I saw him try to dart in front of my car and just wasn't feeling it. I didn't want to reinforce the sociopath, I didn't want to reward the chaos. So, I laid on the horn and sped up to the car in front of me, shutting off the way like Gandalf in the mines of Moria. The car behind me followed suit and closed any gaps that might've opened when I sped up. I continued to sound my horn -- the vocalized threat of a modern primate under duress -- and hugged the bumper of the person in front of me. The asshole continued to turn, despite turning into a lane of opposing traffic, and finally swung in three cars behind me at the last gasp when someone sadly let him in. I was incensed, not because he won, but because everyone let him win. There are no rules. It didn't matter that I stood my ground. He cut off 100 cars to get in, and only had to mildly-tussle with three staunch drivers who weren't willing to let him in. BFD. It was a depressing morning, and a depressing realization that we really do love Sociopaths, and we are powerless against their lawless approach.

Maybe I should start riding a bike to work.

  • The Seattle Mariners have scored 31 runs in their last two games against the Texas Rangers, which is beyond exciting/amazing/unbelievable, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge keeps saying in interviews (paraphrasing), "See, this is what we've been telling these guys to do all year long!" And I keep thinking to myself, well no shit ... It'd be great to score 15 runs a game, and I'm sure you've said something to them about hitting and baseball and such. But to point to recent success and say, "Yup, this is what we told them to do, this is a result of something we did," is the baseball equivalent of Mitt Romney telling reporters that he's going to take credit for the auto industry's revitalization, because he just ... saw it happen from nearby.
  • Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin plans to run with the bulls in Pamplona this summer, despite the risk of having his contract voided and potentially losing his career/life. "It's kind of a rite of passage," Babin said after his first OTA on Wednesday to the Philadelphia Enquirer. "It's a stamp. I guess in my brain I have a figurative man card that's got certain punches that need to be punched out. Everyone thinks it's dangerous and hazardous, but it's not if done correctly and soberly. Bulls can't turn the corner on cobblestone, so as long as you're on the inside you're going to be alright. I broke the tape down like game film." In lieu of a single joke, I will present to you the following series of jokes, because this paragraph is so ridiculous I don't know where to start:
    • Goddammit, is Hillary Clinton distributing man cards again?
    • Any time you start a sentence with "everyone thinks it's dangerous and hazardous, but it's not if ..." you're gonna have a bad time.
    • Up next on Mythbusters, can a bull turn a corner on cobblestone?!?
    • I'm pretty sure Jason Babin just wrote his own eulogy.
    • After "Run with the bulls" gets punched on his man card, does he get a free sandwich?
    • I know where Babin's coming from on this. I feel the same way when I down that big ass fish-oil pill. Exhilarating.
    • The thing that really jumped out to me was "if done correctly and soberly." Those two words are really incongruous, and, to my brain, the real sticking point in Babin's plan. See, just because you are sober, doesn't mean everyone around you is. If I'm driving a car at 20 mph through a school zone or something, there's a good chance I'm going to drive it correctly. But put a bunch of drunk people in the car with me, and stick my Nissan Pathfinder in the middle of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with race cars whizzing past at 200 mph (and all the racecars are now animate and angry and specifically want to run into me), my driving success is surely going to be influenced, right? I might still drive well -- hell, I might even survive -- but the odds are against me.
  • In the NBA, you are now apparently allowed to ninja-kick a defender in the knee who has jumped to block your shot, and the defender will receive a foul and you get to shoot free throws. Good to know.
  • The lead headline on BBC Sport is: "Injured Frank Lampard out of Euro 2012." They spelled "old" wrong.
  • Norwich manager Paul Lambert had his resignation request denied by his current club after rumors swirled linking him to the vacant post at Aston Villa. I smell a sitcom! Some guy tries desperately to get fired (a la George Costanza with the Yankees), but no matter what he does (within reason), no one will accept his resignation. He dresses casual on a Monday (the horror!); he wears ladies clothes but ends up getting featured in a company marketing campaign for LGTB awareness; he cooks fish in the communal kitchen (who does that?!). But despite his frustration, he's too guilty to stay at home and get paid (he's Catholic, hence guilt), so he keeps showing up to work to attempt to resign again. Rinse and Repeat (that's the name of the show). And he's played by Ricky Gervais (Stephen Merchant plays his best friend in a huge stretch role for the lanky Brit). You know, I probably could've just said "played by Ricky Gervais" up front and not bothered to write that horrible, cliche plot (and these unnecessary parentheticals that prompt my friend Steve to send threatening e-mails).
  • (Seinfeld voice) What's the deal with those five-toed running shoes?
  • Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku didn't celebrate the team's puke-inducing Champions League win over frustrations with his own playing time. Lukaku was transferred to Chelsea this past offseason for £20m, but made just four starts all year for the Blues. Lukaku said, "Chelsea really wanted me last summer and paid a lot for me, but after a while I thought, are you just throwing money around?" ... Aw, I don't have the heart to tell him.

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