Tardy Tuesday questions, Steve Prefontaine edition


Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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99 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    My brother-in-law was out in Michigan visiting our relations when he decided that he needed to do some light exercise and borrowed a bike with the intention of meandering (gamboling?) for an hour or so. See some scenery, get some air, raise the heart rate… the usual. Well, he got about a half-mile or so when a gentleman trying to be helpful yelled out to him “There ain’t nothin’ that way! Town’s the other direction!”

    “I’m out exercising!”, my b-i-l cheerfully announced.

    The guy on his porch languidly threw his empty beer can in the general direction of my b-i-l as his way of saying “this conversation is over.”Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      “Oop… I almost forgot. I won’t be able to make it fellas. Veronica and I are trying this new fad called uh, jogging. I believe it’s jogging or yogging… it might be a soft j. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild.”Report

  2. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    Men who demand to be called sir and will berate people for not using that honorific.

    I also have a low tolerance for generally new agey spiritual talk but I don’t know if such talk makes people schmucks. Even in the new San Francisco, you still find plenty of people who think 1967 never ended.Report

  3. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    Techies using the word “disruption” seriously and earnestly. Techies who think their scheduling app is basically inventing the wheel. Techies who call themselves “digital prophets”


    The video is something to behold.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      Are you watching Silicon Valley? You might enjoy it…Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      *eyeroll* those people aren’t techies. they’re bullshit artists.
      and the problem with artists who think they have the “best newest novelst thing ever”…
      1) they’re generally wrong.
      2) even if they’re right, there’s a reason why folks haven’t done this before (tech. infeasible is generally the reason)

      And I say this knowing someone who has, absolutely, created things that are new, novel and awesome [did I say profitable? no, I did not!]Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

        *eyeroll* those people aren’t techies. they’re bullshit artists.

        When Kim is right, she is absofishinglutely right.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    Several “types”
    1) Folks who can’t make a decision. Ex: while waiting in line with my friend to buy movie tickets-where you have to pick your seats, a family of four in in front of us. Dad asks the group where they should sit. OFC everyone has a different opinion and they all begin to argue. Note, 90% of the seating is still open and price spots still avail. This went on for >5 mins. Jeebus frickin Christ! These dumbasses also are found on the road, hesitant to pull into traffic without 300 yards of clear traffic.

    Lack of situational awareness. Especially drivers. Maybe you can look before you randomly move into my lane in the exact space I’m occupying. You know, like look up from the phone, text, whatever, and check your mirrors/blind spots?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Damon says:

      Related: how long does it take to select a value meal in the drive-thru lane? To quote one of my favorite former bloggers, it’s all pretty much the same salty goop no matter which way you go. You get ten seconds per person in the car to make up your mind what you want. Move on, please, the reason the drive-thru exists is because people are in a hurry.Report

  5. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Years ago I worked with a terrible, terrible woman.

    She was almost like a SNL character. She was *extremely* overweight, but that didn’t stop her from stopping at other women’s desks and telling them she noticed they were putting on weight and that it made them homely and — if they were single — that they would need to drop a few pounds if they ever wanted a man to marry them. She would then explain in detail why her overweight proportions were the kind that men really liked and so she herself was not nearly as bad off as they were.

    She’d make matter-of-fact comments about family members on pictures (“Oh Gawd, is that your son? You better hope he grows up rich, or he’ll never get laid.”) If she met a spouse at a company function, the next day in the lunch room she’d say loud enough for the person to hear, “Did you see Steve’s wife? What a cow. I guess the only reasons he married someone that ugly is that he’s no prize himself.”

    And this: She’d roll herself around the office in her chair to your cubicle if she needed to talk to you (rather than get up and walk), and then in your cubicle, when talking to you, she would occasionally uncross her legs, lift one up slightly, and let out a noxious fart. Then she’d recross her legs. She would never stop talking, and act like nothing had happened.

    Whenever anyone called her out for her behavior (which they did often), she waived it off. “Oh, I’m from New York,” she’d say. “We’re just more honest in New York than people out here. You probably just don’t know that many honest people.”Report

  6. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Loud whistling, especially indoors. Especially especially when the whistler attempts to make out a tune, but fails and soldiers on anyway. Especially especially especially when others look turn and glare, and are then ignored.Report

    • Along these lines, something that never seemed to happen in the past but that has happened to me several times in recent months: people wearing oversized “Beats-style” headphones while singing at the top of their lungs in a store or on a train or otherwise while in a public space.

      Apparently such people think that while it would be rude to make the rest of us listen to the recording of a professional artist whose music we may or may not appreciate, the entire world should be required to listen to their rendition of that music. They’re just deliberately being dicks whilst believing that their dickishness makes them superior.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        It may not be the exact same thing, but I actually enjoy hearing people sing in public – they may not be technically good singers, but it’s an actual human making a joyful noise.Report

      • Sometimes I’m ok with people just randomly singing in public places (though it depends on the context – e.g., are we on the street or in a train). It’s the doing it while wearing headphones that especially irks, though. It says that others should be forced to listen to your warbling while you listen to a professional.

        I rather preferred the days when folks looking to interrupt others’ lives at least had the decency to carry a boombox.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        I like singing. I’m horribly offtune most of the time, so I try not to sing in places where folks will have to put up with it.

        Yeah, I totally agree. It’s one thing to sing at the top of your lungs (rude), but to not even listen to yourself? Besides, headphones say “don’t tap me on the shoulder, I’m not listening to you” — whereas, if I had a call, I’d tell the person singing to shut up.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        One of the problems with today’s head phones (“HEADPHONES TODAY!”) is that they deliver great sound AND block out much of the outside noise. I’ve been caught singing loudly along with my ear-buds (not even Beats-style) when I thought I was just mouthing the words.

        I don’t doubt that some of these people recognize full well what they’re doing and do it anyway, but I’d also venture to bet that some are more “ignorant rube” than “deliberate ass hat”.Report

  7. Avatar dhex says:

    anyone who signs their letters with “firstname lastname, phd”. you know you’re in for it.Report

  8. People who talk with pride and amusement about being or having been a bully.

    People (usually men, but not always) who take pride in demeaning the women around them or in their lives simply by fact of them being female. (This will also happen with people demeaning men, but in my experience-which is all I’m going by here-there isn’t the sense of pride and self-ameliorization in it).

    Anyone who decides being a “truth-teller” is more important than being nice (this reflects Tod’s contribution).Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    In the dance community, you have people that give disaproving looks if they don’t think your up to snuff.Report

  10. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Truck nuts. Bumper stickers, window decals, or t-shirts on various themes of demeaning other people or (weirdly) truck brands. After-market mufflers designed specifically to avoid effectively muffling engine noise. Honking the horn instead of getting out of the car to ring the doorbell.Report

  11. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Confederate flag outside the south.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

      My cousin in Rome, a 60-something year old man who has lived in Rome his entire life, had a Confederate flag as his Facebook profile picture for about a year, until we finally convinced him to take it down. He saw it as a symbol of the American Civil War, with which he is mildly obsessed (apparently many Italians are), and it was very difficult to convince him that it meant something else here.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Will Truman says:

      I have a theory on this. I think the confederate flag has become a North American short hand among the rural, white, working class (less politely called “white trash”) as a universal fuck you against urban, bourgeois, liberals, or maybe just bourgeois types in general. In other words, it is a class signifier. My Canadian friends tell me that rural, white, working class Canadians like to fly the Confederate Flag because they know it pisses off liberal, urban types from Toronto.Report

      • There is some truth there, but as the saying goes, “it’s not all about you.”Report

      • That came out rougher than intended. Sorry. A lot of it is what you say, albeit not all.Report

      • That’s true, Saul. A section of fans for the now-defunct Ottawa CFL team adopted the Confederate Flag as some sort of symbol of being a rebel or being tough or something or other.

        Ottawa’s getting a new team this summer; I hope that tradition will not re-appear.Report

      • I am actually less annoyed when I see the flag pop up internationally. Even Canada, though I don’t give them quite the benefit of the doubt I give Scandanavians.

        One of the unfortunate things about the whole thing is that… it’s actually a pretty good looking flag. So I can understand the misguided appeal.Report

      • I do have to say, though, I don’t understand the RedBlacks name.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        With my cousin, the issue was more that a substantial portion of his Facebook friends were American (basically the whole extended family).

        The last time he was here in the States, we had a conversation about how Giribaldi had offered to command Lincoln’s armies (and was turned down, though he was offered a lesser position), in the hopes that he would decide that he’d rather use the symbols of the Union.Report

      • This subthread is about the most appropriate place I can find for this link at the moment, so I’m just going to share: http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2014/4/16/5621224/general-sherman-doe

        I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever seen the expression of a Northern equivalent to Southern Civil War nostalgia.Report

      • Pretty straightforward, Will. They’ll be wearing Red and Black.

        (Less snarkily, it’s a way to maintain a lot of the history and iconography of the old Rough Riders team–and, to a lesser extent, the short-lived Renegades. The Rough Rider copyright is owned by a restaurateur in Chicago, so it’s a no-go, plus the team sucked for the last 20-odd years of its existence. The Renegades were a giant total clusterf**k, even resurrecting aspects of the clusterf**kiest aspects of the clusterf**k that was the final few years of the Riders. So, those are out. The logo is a take on the iconic “R” that was the Riders logo for most of its history (incorporating a saw blade to tie in to the logging history ’round here). The team uses the colours they used. And, really, there weren’t a lot of appropriate “R” team names to use. For more, see here: http://stepsfromthecanal.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/whats-in-a-name/ [/sheamlessplug])Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        @mark-thompson, I like that. Sherman would have made a great President during Reconstruction but was basically unelectable because his wife and kids were Catholic.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        Me too. I like it though.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Yes, that’s true. But it’s not “just” a class thing for hicks. It also works on a political level. If you display it deep in blue state usa–nothing more enjoyable than pissing off Progressives. It’s fun to watch them spout and studder.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        “Sure, it’s a symbol of treason and the willingness to kill and betray in defense of the institution of slavery, and sure, it represents a deeply resist and oppressive post to many black (and white people), but it irks progressives, so I’m going to hang one outside the front door” seems pretty damn assholy to me, hick or not.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Actually I consider the North’s actions to be the treasonous side, but will conceede to the racist part, in part.

        I’m perfectly comfortable, however, with your description of hanging a flag as being “asshole-ey”. And yes, I’d hang one up if one of my neighbors had pissed, so yeah. I’m an ass. I’m cool with that.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        Do you mean “if it would piss off my neighbors”? Because I bet it would. Someone on your block, at least. But I bet you’re not going to do it.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        @Michael Drew

        I really need to review my typing sometimes. Yah, I’d hang one up to piss off my neighbor if he had pissed me off and I knew that this would annoy him. Fortunately, I’ve got some nice folks around that keep their noses out of my business and are pretty cool about stuff. So, while I’m capable of doing it, I choose not to.Report

  12. Avatar Cascadian says:

    When people drive slowly on a two lane highway then speed up significantly where there are passing lanes so others can’t pass. Makes me long for that under hood grenade launcher.Report

  13. Avatar Pinky says:

    Dear Citizens of Earth –

    We of the Intergalactic Fellowship refuse to contact you and expose you to all the wonders and knowledge of the universe until you learn how to execute a rolling merge when there’s a giant flashing “merge” arrow telling you to.Report

  14. Avatar Creon Critic says:

    Public drunkenness, particularly when involving belligerence, bodily fluids, and a confined space like a bus, subway car, or train carriage. Extra “points” for getting into conflicts with other groups of drunken people in said confined space. Because my day was not complete before being essentially trapped in close quarters with a threatened and then actual drunken brawl. Sometimes makes me think those prohibitionists had a point.Report

  15. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Has anyone else come across Joe Carter’s piece on why it’s better to be a Satanist than a fan of Anne Rand?Report

  16. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    And did I forget to include failing to return your grocery cart back to the stall in the parking lot of the grocery store?


    Failing to return your grocery cart back to the stall in the parking lot of the grocery store? Douche. Bag.

    Just last week at CostCo some flaming douche decided that he was too friggin special to walk three lengths of his car to put his cart in the stall and just friggin left it there and the friggin thing rolled directly into my car and MADE A FRIGGIN DING on my bumper and when I said “Hey!” this friggin douchemeister looked at me AND SHRUGGED and got into his car anyway because I guess he figured my car was a POS anyway* and drove the frig away.

    Yyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaarghf! Ooh it makes me so mad.

    * I must concede, as to this element of the story, the preponderance of the evidence was with the other guy.Report

  17. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    People who seem to take a misguided pride in being rude or aggressive drivers, speeding, or otherwise making life hard for bicyclists and pedestrians. I’m sorry you have to spend your time in a miserable activity (driving in non-rural areas pretty much sucks), but don’t act like getting to that red light a little quicker will make your life so much better.Report

  18. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Odd, you’re not someone I’d picture getting sidetracked by a picture of Jenny McCarthy.Report

  19. Avatar zic says:

    Cat calls and whistling at beautiful women.

    Talking loudly on your cell phone in public places — actually, cell phones in general; we live in a world where people are constantly talking to themselves. Used to mean you were crazy.

    Driving with your fog lights on all the time. Learn how to turn those puppies off.

    Not tipping or under-tipping food-service workers.

    Using political grouping terms like ‘leftist’ or ‘tea bagger.’

    Wearing too much scented product.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to zic says:

      @zic Cars these days come with lights that look sorta like fog lights that you can’t turn off without turning the headlights on. Threw me for a loop when we got our new car.

      I personally think people should be encouraged to have lights on all the time (unless they have those new fancy lights).Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman says:

        I know that; but that’s not a foglight. Fog lights are particularly a problem on SUVs, because they’re higher off the ground.

        Daytime running lights are a good thing.

        Intense lights that harm the vision of oncoming drivers are not cool and should not be legal. I also have grave concerns about a lot of police lights I see recently; I believe they may cause accidents because they blind drivers. I know they completely incapacitate me, and it takes my vision several minutes to recover. I suspect they trigger seizures in some people.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Will Truman says:

        i find the lights on all the time thing very weird, frankly. i don’t see the safety aspects in daylight (because it’s daylight), so i’m left with the impression that tons of people forget to turn off their headlights.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Will Truman says:

        I can’t figure out how to turn off the lights on my mom’s new volkswagon. So, the lights are on whenever the engine is.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to zic says:

      Using political grouping terms like ‘leftist’ or ‘tea bagger.’

      Both sides do it!Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to zic says:

      Leftist is a perfectly legitimate term. It describes people of a social democrat disposition and who are influenced by Marx to some significant extent. It is not necessarily pejorative. Elias Isquith is a leftist. Shawn Gude is a leftist.Report

  20. Avatar Sam says:

    Referencing a previous thread, if you bring up the notion of a “Man Card” and what one has to do to stay in possession of it, I will roll my eyes so violently that they’ll pop out of my head.Report

  21. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    The cyclist I’ve passed twice already who feels the need to get in front of me at yet another traffic light. Intersections are tough enough with nitwit drivers who have to be the 3rd car making a left through the red light without you clogging it up for the rest of us riders.Report

  22. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    This is not a direct answer to your question, but I must express the irritation the young boys in my area are imposing on me. There are obviously more people out in what passes for the downtown areas in my rural county due to the improved weather. The young men walking, biking, skateboarding, etc. seem to have no sense at all! I’m driving along at a safe speed while they throw caution to the wind and jump out in front of moving vehicles. The ones on bikes aren’t following any sort of coherent traffic safety rules. I’d swear they’re attempting suicide, but then they shout at me for being a “bad driver”! I’d chalk it up to people acting immaturely but I can’t stomach the injustice. I feel compelled to tell them how ignorant they are. Must resist urge to strangle local teen boys…Report

  23. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    If I understood the premise of the post, the request was for examples of a witty comeback to throw at people when they act like douches. I’m a pretty big fan of a quick, “Go f-ck yourself.” On the negative side of this approach I HATE it when some folks think that saying, “I’m just keeping it real,” excuses saying whatever horrible thoughts pop into their head on a regular basis.

    Since the thread also expanded to things that drive us all batty I will also share that I dislike suburban bikers with an intensity that burns like the sun. I am not prone to road rage but I find myself wanting to inflict harm on them nearly always. My part of town has been kind enough to install bike lanes all over the place. Fine, I get it. So staying in the friggin’ lane. It’s not unusual for them to be riding 2-3 bikes wide and holding up traffic. Or better yet, they just ignore the bike lane and pretend they are automobiles. They will sit at a traffic light in between two cars and then when it turns green you get to wait for them to get up to 15 mph so you can maybe try to get around them. And this is on a Wednesday morning. Don’t these people have jobs? Arrgggggh! I’m getting fired up just thinking about it.Report

  24. Avatar Kim says:

    Compelling your server to make cooing comments over wedding pictures on your cellphone (not even your own wedding).

    Asking for a AAA discount on a museum fee that’s less than $10 per person, and is run by all volunteers.Report