Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rewarding Stupid Behaviour

Here's a confession: sometimes, I'm mean to people. Hard to believe, I know, but it's true. In my defence, when I'm mean to somebody it's almost always for their own good. They don't always appreciate that I'm helping them but that's the sort of burden I took on when I realised I was much smarter than the majority of the populace. I have to help people whether they want it or not.

The alternative, so far as I can see, is to let people get away with stupid behaviour. To me, letting them get away with stupidity is the same as actively rewarding stupid behaviour. If they aren't punished, they won't realise they were wrong and they'll never learn better. As I look around me, I don't have any great faith that the knuckle draggers surrounding me are going to spontaneously get smarter. They need help.

They need my help.

One situation where I often find myself helpfully pointing out other people's stupidity is when I'm driving. Often, when somebody does something brain-bendingly stupid in traffic, I'll gently alert them to the fact by blasting the horn for an extended period and politely describe their shortcomings. Something along the lines of: "What the fuck is wrong with you?" Usually screamed at the top of my lungs.

Occasionally, passengers in my car have suggested that this doesn't achieve anything. The moron did something stupid, I reacted in time, accident avoided, leave it at that. That's crazy talk. My mother for one always wants me to be nicer to people and I told her that was a crazy idea: "Shut the fuck up mum, these morons need to be kept in line. If you let these dickheads get away with their fucked-up behaviour they think they're in the right. You can't encourage them."

Okay, I don't really talk to my mum like that. First, I'm too respectful. Second, she'd fucking kill me. Don't fuck with my mum. My mum will fuck your shit up.

Just the other night I conducted a little street education that I found particularly fulfilling. Melbourne loves its sport and I had the bad timing to be driving past a major sporting venue just as the massive crowds were spilling out at the end of a game. I knew exactly what would happen as I waited at the lights for the hordes of pedestrians to cross. The lights would change and these fuckwit lemmings would keep streaming across regardless of the fact they were going to come off second best in a clash with oncoming traffic.

Sure enough, morons kept shambling across the road long after the signal told them to stop. Then the lights turned green for me. I let the few straggling dickheads get out of the way then started to move forward. BUT the morons weren't finished. After I started forward, another group of four fuckwits stepped right in front of me. Obviously, I braked (I'm not going to jail for them) but they actually seemed totally unaware of how fucking stupid their behaviour was. Honestly, I feared for their safety. Other drivers aren't as deferential to pedestrians as I am and this level of stupidity was definitely going to get them killed.

So I decided to help them.

My lesson to them consisted of revving my engine sharply, dropping the clutch which made the car jump forward, then stopping just as quickly after half a metre. The added bonus is my car's tyres have a tendency to squeal dramatically when I do this. This actually had a better effect than I intended. I thought they would jump a bit and get out of the way. As it turned out, they totally freaked - one of them even fell over in terror (don't worry, they weren't hurt). They really thought I was going to run them down. They may just think twice before walking into traffic in the future.

It was pointed out to me that this was a little mean. Well, yeah but I think it was justified. Not because I was teaching them a lesson for their own good - but because it was really fucking funny.

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