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yeah. so?
a commentary on rudeness in america
by robert a. melos

A recent New York Times article reported on a survey by a group called Public Agenda, for the Pew Charitable Trusts, which showed Americans are rude. Now I'm not going to apologize for Americans, or make excuses just because I consider it rude of a certain group of non-Americans to have come into my country and blown up a few buildings. No, blaming Americas rudeness on September 11th would be a cop out. We were rude way before September 11th.

Actually, I'm not going to offer any apologies or excuses, but rather suggest Americans finally accept their own innate rude behavior and, instead of trying to excuse themselves for it, embrace it. It's time we reveled in our rudeness and celebrated it, instead of trying to fake politeness just because a bunch of people can't handle our aggressive and outgoing, sometimes overbearing and angry, personalities.

The world in which we live is a tough place and, as we're told from birth, when the going gets tough the tough get going. Being polite takes time, a commodity many of us business-type, and tycoon-type wannabes, just don't have. Let's face it, in the dog eat dog world of every day living, there are Chihuahuas and Mastiffs, and whether we yap annoyingly or bark commandingly, we're doing it into cell phones while cruising the highways and byways of our fair country, working diligently to earn a living and get our share of the American pie.

Can we help it if we forget to say "I'm sorry," or "excuse me," when we, metaphorically speaking, crap on someone else's day? We're busy people with busy lives, and having to take the time to be polite to others is taxing on our already overtaxed emotions. The slow and steady only win the race if the rabbit is shot down by some crazed drive-by hunter with a grudge, giving the tortoise the chance to catch up.

Let's face it, there are way too many tortoises out there, all working in low paying jobs involving customer service of some sort, and they are po'ed at the rabbits hopping about with holier-than-thou attitudes, and cute cottony tails, screaming at them through their cell phones, or to their faces over their cash registers, while zipping along in life oblivious to their own rudeness, thus creating a never ending cycle of rude behavior being passed from one to another. It's like paying it forward in a less than positive manner.

This is not to say we should be rude all of the time. There are moments in our day, such as when we are screaming into the clown's mouth at the drive-thru restaurant, when being rude is unnecessary and dangerous. One of the main rules of rudeness is, never be rude to people who are in anyway handling your food.

Other times when being rude is uncalled for is when the nice police officer has pulled you over to warn you about that broken taillight and your slightly heavy foot pressing down on the gas pedal. Always be polite to a police officer. You don't want to give them an excuse to beat the rudeness out of you, even if you do happen to have a friend with a video camera present.

Aside from those exceptions to the rules, rudeness is becoming an essential part of living in our world, and much more honest than pretending to be nice to people just to get your way. I'd rather someone be rude to my face, than put on the pretense of nicety just to manipulate me into doing something for them faster than I would if they treated me like dirty. I always appreciate honesty.

So the next time some "Sparky" is peeing in your cornflakes, revel in his celebration of his rudeness.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


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joe procopio
4.4.02 @ 8:18a

Hey, screw off, all right?

And am I a turtle or a rabbit?

jael mchenry
4.4.02 @ 9:50a

I gotcher rudeness right here.

Rudeness is totally regional. I believe New Yorkers are already celebrating in the manner you're encouraging. Down about Savannah, though, this might not work.

adam kraemer
4.4.02 @ 10:03a

At the end of a converstation, my brother once said to a cop, apropos of fixing a tail light, "Just a matter of changing the bulb, Babe."

Then turned to the rest of his stoned friends like, "Did I just call a cop 'Babe'?"

tracey kelley
4.4.02 @ 10:36a

That'll do, Pig. That'll do.

russ carr
4.4.02 @ 11:01a

I'm pretty sure I've said that to a cop.

adam kraemer
4.4.02 @ 12:55p

And I'm pretty sure I've said that to a girl.

mike julianelle
4.4.02 @ 2:24p

Now that is funny!

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