A Day in the Life

For those of you concerned about my temper (I’ve seen scattered comments about anger management, etc.), I give you this account of one hour of my day:

In one hour today in Wellsburg, I learned that my Subaru dealership was trying to overcharge me by 600 bucks (Tire America will replace the struts for 400, not 1050, which is less than the labor cost alone at Wheeling Subaru). While at Tire America, the clerk answered three phone calls for two minutes a piece while allegedly serving me. He then argued with me that my car did not exist because he couldn’t find it in the computer and said I had the nomenclature wrong until I pointed at it eight feet away through the picture window- “It’s right there. Go touch it. It exists.” He then miraculously found it in the computer.

While that was happening, some idiot in a pickup truck parked right behind me and boxed me in, despite there being five other spaces. I asked whose truck it was and would they please move it, and a guy looked at me and said “I’ll be out in a few minutes.” I looked at him and said “So I should just stand here for five minutes while you are being rude and inconsiderate?” The people in the waiting room all gasped (I didn’t even swear and said it in a shocked quizzical tone, not one of anger), and he grumbled and went and moved it.

I drive to Kroger, and a woman walks 45 yards down the middle of the road and refuses to let me pass. I give a slight honk, a “Hey, I’m here kind of honk, not a BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP GTFO of my way honk) and she gives me the finger.” At that very moment, some bluehair in a medicare sled Buick starts to pull out in reverse to my left and almost creams the entire driver side door. I go in, grab a cart, and am standing in the produce aisle and some woman talking on the phone runs over my foot (I was wearing tevas) with her cart. I say excuse me, and she asks me “What” as if I just killed her firstborn. “You ran over my foot.” Her response? “Oh.” I will note I said nothing, but my thoughts were of pure evil.

I walked down the aisle, am at the end, and a 3-4 foot tall kid in full football gear comes tearing around the corner and hits me in the balls head on with his helmet. I check out, go to get gas with my Kroger points. Spend five minutes trying to prepay, and it doesn’t work. Walk up to the attendant and tell him I can’t get the pump to work, and he tells me “Oh, yeah. That one is out of order.”

I then followed some elderly person home doing 20 in a 45 the entire way.

That was one fucking hour of my day. One. And I swear it is like that every single day. Every single one.

My mother says she is worried about my temper. I told her the problem is I am sober and am painfully aware of how fucking stupid everyone is around me. No one pays attention to anything they are doing, and when they screw up, they don’t take responsibility and just blame it on someone else- if they even care enough to try to mount an excuse. Most people just say to hell with it and pretend nothing happened- I mean, they weren’t inconvenienced.

I’m sick of it. Just do what you are supposed to and stop being jerks, folks. It’s like 3/4 of the country is painfully unaware that there are people out there besides them, and it is even worse when people are in their cars. Who knew flipping a turn signal was too much of an ordeal for 95% of the people on the road? It’s like people just don’t care that they are in a multi-ton weapon that can KILL people.

Oh, and my shoulder that I had reconstructed is starting to slip out of the socket and I am in constant pain, and will most likely need to have additional surgery. So I got that going for me. All I can say is as shitty as this all is, life is still better sober.

223 replies
  1. 1
    les says:

    Who knew flipping a turn signal was too much of an ordeal for 905 of the people on the road?

    Well, there’s a reason that on the Kansas driver’s license exam, the answer to any question involving turn signals is “no.”

  2. 2
    Nick says:

    I emigrated to Canada and every day is sheer bliss.

  3. 3
    RoonieRoo says:

    That’s why I don’t leave the house unless I absolutely have to.

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    Dude, everybody deals with this crap all day, every day. This is what the world turned into while you were too fucked up to see it happening.

    If you let it get to you, they win.

  5. 5
    Davis X. Machina says:

    My mother says she is worried about my temper.

    Listen to your mother.

  6. 6
    Nick says:

    Playful snowshoe hares frolic in my neighbourhood.

  7. 7
    John Cole +0 says:

    @burnspbesq: But why should we have to put up with it?

  8. 8
    Random commenter says:

    Dude, you live in West Virginia.

  9. 9
    SFAW says:


    Playful snowshoe hares frolic in my neighbourhood.

    Hah! Global warming my ass, you libtards!

  10. 10
    dance around in your bones says:

    You know what John – I hear you. I am surrounded by stupid asses all day, and it seems that I spend much of my time apologizing for their stupidity, mitigating the assholiness of it all with a ‘aw, what the hell’ remark, or just putting on a blank expression and ignoring the whole thing.

    I don’t know when people got so stupid. The only people who seemed stupid to me when I was a kid were adults…..oh, wait.

    I kinda wish I was a kid again.

  11. 11
    El Tiburon says:

    Tevas? What, your crocs not match your outfit?

  12. 12
    different-church-lady says:

    [bad thing happens]

    {would you like to punch someone in the neck?}
    – NO

    – YES
    {do you punch someone in the neck?}

    – NO
    – YES
    [get anger management]


  13. 13
    Elizabelle says:

    On the positive side, you were not in a Wal-Mart.

    Pet a pet.

  14. 14
    kc says:

    Life would be easier if people would stop being needlessly dickish.

    That applies to online life, as well.

    Maybe I’m just getting old, but it seems like general dickishness is increasing.

  15. 15
    Arclite says:

    I live in Hawaii where the vast majority of people are polite, laid back, and contentious. I’m always startled at how different Orange County CA is when I have to go out there for business. There’s something to be said for regional culture.

  16. 16
    Josie says:

    You are right, John, at least about the driving. There are days when I would swear that someone has put out a hit on me, and everyone is trying to kill me. I go to the grocery store and do my errands very early in the morning, so I deal with as few people as possible. Many things are easier at 7:00 in the morning. The thing is, though, I am old; you are very young to be feeling this way.

  17. 17
    Irony Abounds says:

    I need to show this to my wife just to prove I’m not the only person that thinks like this. All I want is for people to act in a considerate manner, and treat people like they would like to be treated. Instead you get people crossing the street not more than 20 feet from an intersection with a crosswalk and creating traffic issues simply because they are too lazy to take the few extra steps necessary to get to the crosswalk. Or I see what looks to be an open parking spot only to find a shopping cart there because some asshole is too gawd damn lazy to take the cart to the shopping cart bin 10-20 feet away. Or slow-moving cars where sure as shit the driver is texting or talking on the phone instead of paying attention to driving with the flow of traffic.

    Are any of these things all that important? No, but they add up and I’m just fed up with lazy inconsiderate people. If you have a shitload of stuff in your cart and the person behind you has only a few items, let them go ahead of you. If you drop a can of spaghetti sauce in an aisle and make a huge mess, don’t just walk away and leave the mess, go tell someone so it can get cleaned up. Maybe karma will repay acts of kindness.

  18. 18
    kc says:

    @John Cole +0:

    @burnspbesq: But why should we have to put up with it?

    What’s the alternative?

    People. Can’t live with’em, can’t kill’em. Unless you’re a cop.

  19. 19
    mclaren says:

    No one pays attention to anything they are doing, and when they screw up, they don’t take responsibility and just blame it on someone else- if they even care enough to try to mount an excuse. Most people just say to hell with it and pretend nothing happened…

    Hmm. That explains the behavior of the last 5 presidential administrations, doesn’t it?

  20. 20
    dmsilev says:

    @les: In Boston, using turn signals is regarded as “giving information to the enemy”.

  21. 21
    SatanicPanic says:

    @burnspbesq: I don’t know, I feel like California is not nearly this bad. At the very least, people would apologize for running over your foot at the grocery store.

  22. 22
    rando2000 says:

    John, it is hilarious that humanity still goes on and that we’ve accomplished so much in the face of all of this rampant stupidity. Please try to learn to laugh at it. I see all the fuck-ups that you see too (and more, my job is full of really dumb people). Meet friends with the same perspective as you, and rant together. Don’t feel guilty: things are as bad as you think they are. People are as inconsiderate as you think. But the few people who can see this the same way as you can make life worth living.

  23. 23
    Thoughtcrime says:

    …a 3-4 foot tall kid in full football gear comes tearing around the corner and hits me in the balls head on with his helmet.

    John, you could have a hit show on your hands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAg1r6zw7Bg

  24. 24
    burritoboy says:

    Cole, I have bad anger management problems too – like being thrown out of bars, throwing chairs through windows, destroying landscape bad (it’s only through luck that I haven’t been arrested). I think you’re on the right path – if you can turn the anger into something useful – like a blog post – then you can begin to deal with it. Think about it this way : the crazier, ruder and stupider the people around you act, the better the material for the blog will be. So sit back and enjoy it.

  25. 25
    SFAW says:


    In Boston, using turn signals is regarded as “giving information to the enemy”.

    That’s how you can tell a MA driver is actually a transplant from NY – they use their directional. Even for lane changes.

  26. 26
    Anne Laurie says:

    Oh, and my shoulder that I had reconstructed is starting to slip out of the socket and I am in constant pain, and will most likely need to have additional surgery. So I got that going for me. All I can say is as shitty as this all is, life is still better sober.

    We’re all grateful for that last line, John.

    Meanwhile, consider the possibility that being in pain all the time is reducing your tolerance for all the trivial stupid stuff that happens because half of the human race is below average. Can you talk to your orthopedist / physical therapist about braces or patches or other non-drug intervention that might help?

    Or maybe give your frat guys a chance to step up, return some of the favors you’ve done for them, and let them do some of the crappy little going-out-in-public errands for you until you’re in better shape?

    (Yeah, they won’t do it all perfectly, like you would in person, but remember your eldest-child skills: It’s easier to be a little pissed off by the shortfalling of the people you love than a lot pissed off by the general incompetence of the human race!)

  27. 27
    🚸 Martin says:

    It’s like 3/4 of the country is painfully unaware that there are people out there besides them, and it is even worse when people are in their cars.

    That’s not it.

    What they don’t realize is that they aren’t the most important person on earth. About 6 months ago I’m driving home from work and the guy in front of me, the first at the traffic light is in the lefthand most lane that goes straight. To our left is the left turn pocket, and he realizes he’s not in it, and he turns on his left turn signal. We don’t do yield on green because there’s 3 million people in the county and all of them would die so turn pockets get dedicated green arrows, but at this intersection at this hour the straight green goes first and the arrow comes last, but the guy sits there with his blinker on. I hit the horn and he gives me the ‘what am I supposed to do’ raised hands thing. There’s literally 50 cars behind me, all honking now. I get out, walk up to the guy’s window and say ‘By the way, you are not more important than the 50 other people stuck in this lane – go straight and make a u-turn at the next light. You fucked up, don’t make everyone else pay for your fuckup’ And he huffed at me and took off straight. Maybe ⅓ of the cars made the green.

    You know, I get that everyone can’t think through the ramifications of every decision, but making a wrong turn isn’t the end of your life. Your GPS will get you where you need to be probably only 20 seconds late. Don’t piss off the world for 20 seconds.

    But Cole, the answer to your conundrum is that in the general consumer space your time and sanity are now valueless. If you want to stay calm, you need to start paying for that consideration. That’s likely harder in WV than in other parts of the country, but that’s the new reality. Go hire one of your college students to be your personal shopper. Give him/her the list, a roll of cash, and send them off every Saturday. They won’t mind the frustrations and you probably won’t mind the $10/hr you pay them. Knock a few of these irritations out and the rest won’t seem so bad.

    But I’d have told off the guy who parked me in something awful. You went easy on him. The other people wouldn’t have bothered me so much.

  28. 28
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Perhaps a vacation in a nice tropical country (Fiji, Jamaica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii) would be nice just about now, John. Get away and relax for awhile. You may run into annoying people while on vacation, but you’ll be enjoying yourself too much to care.

  29. 29
    M. Bouffant says:

    Fuck everyone of those bitching assholes to hell. Gawddamn conciliatory weaklings would roll over for ISIS rather than cause a scene. If people had the guts to get angry & stand up to resist being fucked in the ass every day of their lives in these United Snakes maybe they wouldn’t get in the ass so often.

    I hadn’t even read this part when I started typing:

    The people in the waiting room all gasped

    I rest my case. Cowards, every one.

    I told her the problem is I am sober and am painfully aware of how fucking stupid everyone is around me.

    And that is the exact truth. I’m in a constant state of rage when sober, but when I was a serious drinker I was a happy, “Whee! Who cares?” drunk, rather than a raging angry jerk.

    And I’m thinking it’s time to call for banning cars as well as guns. Well, cars that idiots can drive themselves.

  30. 30
    RSR says:

    lol, I once yelled at a guy causing my head to explode due to his a-hole parking job :”you’re inconsiderate!” He was simply stunned. So I’m right there with you.

    (This was in Rochester, so there’s a good chance it was DougJ or MisterMix as well.)

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    Sorry you’ve had a crap ass day, John. If your mother is worried about your temper, pay attention. She loves you and wouldn’t say anything if she wasn’t worried.

    My perspective is, the only person I hurt when I get angry is me. No one else cares if I get angry, but it affects me negatively, what with all the negative endocrine factors and the bad day that follows. So when I do get angry I start looking at it and decide whether or not it’s worth it to me to be angry. Usually it’s not. I’d much rather use that energy for something positive.

    Shit happens. How I react to it is my choice.

  32. 32
    tulip says:

    What a crap day! It did make a wonderful blog post however. Sucks for you… but it made me laugh.

  33. 33
    srv says:

    I, for one, welcome the return of our Angry Overlord. Harness your anger and take it out on your minions here. Most of them deserve it.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    burnspbesq says:

    @John Cole +0:

    Well, what’s the alternative? People are going to be how they are going to be. No one gives a shit any more. That’s the reality, and there’s very little you or I can do about it, because the institutions that used to teach people how to behave have exited that business, and the subtle societal pressures that used to enforce those norms are just gone.

    You could, I suppose, become one of those gun-totin’ assholes that people go out of their way to avoid. I’m not doing that, because that’s not me and because I live in a state with sane gun laws. Or you could be that guy who loses his shit over minor stuff and periodically gets arrested. Or you could live waaay back in the hills and go off the grid.

    None of those seem to me to be viable alternatives. So I’ve grown a patient streak that, in all honesty, I didn’t have when I was your age (I’m about 15 years older than you). Becoming a parent had something to do with growing that patient streak. You can’t lose your shit at your kid, and you can’t lose your shit in front of your kid.

    You’re not me, and I’m not you. If what works for me doesn’t work for you, so be it. And none of us are perfect. There are occasions when it’s a good thing I’m unarmed. But on balance, a thicker skin is better than a thinner one. Imagine how much you would laugh if you were watching this shit happen to somebody else, and pretend it is happening to somebody else.

    Life is too fucking short to let the assholes ruin it for you.

  36. 36
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    You need some dog love.

  37. 37
    Jim C says:

    I go in, grab a cart, and … I walked down the aisle, am at the end, and a 3-4 foot tall kid in full football gear comes tearing around the corner and hits me in the balls head on with his helmet.

    Isn’t that what your shopping cart is for, to protect you from rogue inside middle linebackers?

  38. 38
    BillinGlendaleCA says:


    I’m convinced that new cars, particularly BMW’s and Benz’s DO NOT have turn signals. I’ve never seen a turn signal on these cars.

    Note: I drive a car from the 80’s, it does have turn signals.

  39. 39
    burnspbesq says:


    I don’t know, I feel like California is not nearly this bad.

    It varies from place to place within the state. I’ve had days on the Westside when I thought I was on the Upper West Side.

  40. 40
    M. Bouffant says:

    @burnspbesq: And what the fuck did you do to stop the world from turning onto a shithole while you were, I assume, sober& saw it happening, you self-righteous prick?

    Incidentally, J.C.’s hardly been unaware of this happening, this is not the first time he’s mentioned this kind of crap, & he’s been pretty good at noticing events for however long he’s been at this.

    Here’s the clue: If you let them get away w/ it, they win. If you think to yourself I got screwed good, but I’m not gonna let them get to me you might want to consult a psychologist to see if you get the help you need to stop being a doormat.

    “esq.” my ass.

  41. 41
    Dog On Porch says:

    It’s about time you moved to San Francisco, Cole, and began wearing flowers in your hair. Either that, or begin considering the lilies of the field….

  42. 42
    MaxUtil says:

    @Arclite: I worked in a call center for a while. Uniformly, everyone in Hawaii is calm, happy, and willing to take a minor inconvenience in stride. Everyone in NJ is pissed, they don’t even know what about, but they’re pissed and pretty sure it’s your fault.

    I exaggerate, but I do think there are regional differences. In California now and while drivers are perfectly willing to risk your life to shave a couple seconds off their drive, people just won’t be this rude to your face. There is some sense of standards of behavior when dealing with strangers.

  43. 43
    Tiny Tim says:

    Don’t get mad at someone driving slowly. They probably have their reasons.

  44. 44
    SIA says:

    For goodness sake. Go to some AA meetings. Staying sober (dry) without support can be agony. Some people, if real alcoholics, can do it, but most can’t. Signed,
    Someone who knows what the fuck I’m talking about

  45. 45
    M. Bouffant says:

    @kc: We may get more sensitive to it as we age, or the statistical sample becomes large enough to confirm it absolutely, but I can assure you that the assholes are not decreasing.

  46. 46
    SectarianSofa says:

    Where’s the the Meet the Press/Chuck Todd thread? Did I miss it?

  47. 47
    SatanicPanic says:

    @burnspbesq: Maybe LA is worse. I don’t know. Things are pretty mellow down here

  48. 48
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Nick: you clearly don’t drive in Toronto, then. I was stuck behind the same old lady that was in front of Cole

  49. 49
    slag says:

    This is fascinating. No one I know deals with anything like what you’ve described here on a frequent basis. I’m with the blamers of West Virginia.

  50. 50
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Tiny Tim:

    Typing email, for instance.

  51. 51
    burnspbesq says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    What planet are you from?

  52. 52
    srv says:

    @Dog On Porch: Too many Subarus and Googlibertarians out here.

  53. 53
    LT says:

    I sent you a DM on Twister 2 weeks or so ago, but to say again, here out loud: you inpisred me to take a break. From (at least) two bottles of red, or equivalent in beer, bourbon, and wine, a night, for many years, I haven’t had a drop since July 18. I drink mineral water now. Planning on doing a year. May go longer just because – so much money saved! Wow! And – so much work to drink! The buying and the carrying and the opening and the pouring and the thinking and the explaining and the waking up and the shame shame! and returing of the bottles and the not remembering what the wife said and the and and and.

    You don’t get nearly all the credit, but your posts back around then gave me a nudge, and I thank your for that.

    P.S. Quit yer bitchin.

    Peace out.

  54. 54
    SIA says:

    @SectarianSofa: haven’t seen it either but how stupid is NBC to put Despicable Mini-Me in at MTP?

  55. 55
    different-church-lady says:

    @burnspbesq: @M. Bouffant: Hey, what’s the prize for winning these contests anyway? Is there a trophy? Do you get to come back for the week of champions?

  56. 56
    burnspbesq says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    And what the fuck did you do to stop the world from turning onto a shithole while you were, I assume, sober& saw it happening, you self-righteous prick?

    I did the one thing I had control over. I raised my kid so that he is completely unlike you.

    You’re the guy Cole is bitching about, and you’re so narcissistic that you can’t even see it.

  57. 57
    Blue Stater says:

    John, as a recovering alcoholic with 35 years of sobriety, I’ve been following the story of your recovery with much interest. For my first year in sobriety, I was exactly like the self you describe. But gradually, bit by bit, day by day, I came to realize there were more important things than these irritants. That realization is one form of what we call serenity. That’s why we use the Serenity Prayer. And we say it again and again, because one day or many one-days-at-a-time doesn’t vaccinate us against these feelings. Serenity isn’t permanent. You have to reclaim it every day. Things won’t get better, but *you* will get better.

  58. 58
    Suzanne says:

    @John Cole +0: You put up with it because people are assholes and you make a conscious decision to forgive them anyway.

    Or you hide in the house in your PJs, if you’re me.

  59. 59
    dance around in your bones says:

    Also. I understand about pain in the previously wounded place. Lately I have had NEW pain in the 2 years ago broken hip – it’s new, it’s excruciating, it wakes me up at night. Does my doctor understand this? Naw, she thinks I want early refills on my pain meds. Fuck that shit, I’m worried that I have a new fracture in my osteo-arthritic hip that I broke 2 years ago!

    Anyway, got new x-rays today and will wait to see what the x-ray gurus say.

    I hope your shoulder works out ok, in some fashion. You have had more than your share of pain, JGC.

  60. 60
    p.a. says:

    @burnspbesq: whenever I interact with someone who goes above and beyond whatever service is required I make a point to try to contact their boss and give the employee an ‘attaboy’. Easier by far with small firms than with large. I worked directly with customers for twelve years (New England Tel/NYNEX/Bell Atlantic) and, in the words of Faulkner, I ‘soured’.
    (not in any way implying I was a model employee. but dealing with an unhappy subscriber sucks)

  61. 61
    wasabi gasp says:

    Prior tales of your town sounded a wind chimey ring of a some-kind-of-wonderful Appalachian Northern Exposure. These recent tales sound like you’re bent on ruining it for them, shit magnet.

  62. 62
    SectarianSofa says:

    Just imagine the dickish drivers just met with some bad news, or are dealing with something that’s spiked their mood in a really bad way — their significant other just dumped them, their business just tanked, they just got fired, their boss was sexually harassing again, they found out a loved one was dead, cheating, was diagnosed with something nasty, they are losing the house, the car, the kids are not all right, they got a call their toilet was flooding the apartment complex, their manuscript got rejected, their best friend just dropped them on Facebook, pastor told them to have some decency and leave, their meds are messed up, they just want to go to sleep for a long, long time, etc..

    I think it’s reasonable to assume this kind of thing happens some of the time. Cut ’em some slack. They are probably miserable. If they aren’t, they are probably sociopaths, and not much you can do. They’ll make someone having a bad day snap at some point, and regret it if they live through it.

  63. 63
    Glocksman says:


    I looked into it, but as it turns out my family in Alberta doesn’t give me enough ‘points’ to qualify.
    Now if I’d kept my job as a short order/buffet cook, I’d been able to emigrate, as Alberta didn’t seem to have enough cooks at the time, while my then current job as a certified forklift/VNA truck operator wasn’t in demand.

  64. 64
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    John, I’ve been there.

    Whether you are an atheist, or agnostic (I was an atheist when younger, and am now agnostic, though I believe in a higher power than myself) and even if you think AA is a pile of bullshit, get a sponsor, and work the twelve steps of AA.

    If you are thorough, miracles can happen.

    I used to be the angriest motherfucker I knew. Now not even the stupidest of nincompoopery can ruffle my feathers.

  65. 65
    SectarianSofa says:

    @burnspbesq: Seems perfectly reasonable. Keep Ormazd shiny and bright, and don’t let Ahriman win the day. (Though don’t let Ormazd overcharge you either.)

  66. 66
    big ole hound says:

    @dmsilev: Fifty years ago I learned to drive in Boston but then the turn signal was king; if it was on you had the right of way, especially on Neponset Circle or Storrow Drive at 6 p.m.

  67. 67
    M. Bouffant says:

    @burnspbesq: A lovely planet on which a world of assholes, idiots, & conciliatory fools has been superimposed.

    A world of people who are afraid they’ll lose their pathetic collections of plastic crap & their mortgaged houses if they dare resist the assholes.

    P.S.: Don’t get me started.

  68. 68
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @John Cole +0: I don’t want to madsplain anything to you Cole, but, this.is.water.

    David Foster Wallace knew a bit about life without booze. As well as too early an end.

    ETA: Topical comicfrom this week.

  69. 69
    SectarianSofa says:

    @SIA: Sadly, seems pretty in character….

  70. 70
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @John Cole +0:

    Dude, it’s going to happen. You can either be bothered by it, or not.

    Being pissed off only makes you pissed off. It has no other effect (except sometimes pissing off other people in the process)

  71. 71
    Mandalay says:


    I did the one thing I had control over. I raised my kid so that he is completely unlike you.

    You just won the thread and made me laugh out loud.

  72. 72
    2liberal says:

    so this actually works! who would have known?


  73. 73
    Mike in NC says:

    The population in our beach town triples in the summer. We have exactly two traffic lights. I was sitting at one of them today, in the left turn lane waiting for ten cars to come through, when the driver of the car in the opposite left turn lane suddenly decided she needed to go straight. Asshole missed me by inches.

  74. 74
    Downpuppy says:

    I got my 3rd call from a scammer pretending to be from Microsoft. It’s quite liberating to be absolutely sure you’re dealing with a dickhead crook, and just let loose.

  75. 75
    Seanly says:

    It doesn’t sound to me like you have a temper. You sound pretty restrained to me. I too would’ve honked at the person taking 20 minutes to cross the travel way in the parking lot. Seems like people take the longest line that they can to cross the road…

    When I was living in NJ, I had a co-worker who was always telling me to try to have a positive mental attitude. She said it so much a bunch of us at work (including her) made it a joke. One day, she did take me aside and apologize, saying “You do seem to have a lot of bad luck.” I guess she saw that I did try to have a positive attitude despite crappy stuff going on.

    I try not to be the jerk taking a right turn in front of traffic going straight or who doesn’t really stop at a stop sign. The other day a lady blew threw an intersection on her bike – I had right-of-way and was just putting my foot to the gas when she blew through the stop sign. I wanted to turn the other way and let her know that I was a few seconds away from ruining her morning ride, but figured not worth the effort. I try to stop at the yellow lights. I also make sure to pick up my pace & go straight across when I am in the parking lot.

    I’ve had parents around here (Boise, ID) apologize for their kids being a little loud or rambunctious, but mostly it’s okay. I have to chastise my dog for being a bit of hard-charging barker.

    Life’s too nasty, brutal & short and it’s getting miserable here for everyone, so no use in sweating a lot of the small stuff. I’ve got a job, my wife is getting the care she needs for her leukemia, our house is still standing and the house we’re stuck with in another state keeps getting rented out. I complain to myself a lot, but otherwise I’m good.

  76. 76
    Violet says:

    Also, John, maybe consider acupuncture for the shoulder pain if you don’t want to take any medication for it. It really can help. If you can get a pedicure in the wilds of West Virginia, there has to be a place you can get acupuncture. Won’t solve the actual problem with the shoulder but it might help the pain.

  77. 77
    JeremyH says:

    John, IQ 100 is defined as being the median IQ of the population. That means that fully 50% of the population have IQs in double figures. I’ll leave you to contemplate that; it explains an awful lot.

  78. 78
    chopper says:

    try living in NYC. every hour of every day is like that shit.

  79. 79
    JPL says:

    This is the best blog ever!

    Years ago I had a Volvo and the cap for the horn fell off. You could still use it but you got shocked, so one had to be careful about when to honk at someone. It taught tolerance. My son was with me and didn’t know about the horn problem and well let’s say he also learned tolerance.
    John just needs a little shock once and awhile and he’ll be able to withstand those little nuisances. He’ll save his anger for emergencies.

  80. 80
    el_gallo says:

    Move to Portland, the people there are the friendliest, most considerate, drivers I have ever had the pleasure to motor amongst. The niceness is almost scary.

  81. 81
    Cervantes says:

    I told her the problem is I am sober and am painfully aware of how fucking stupid everyone is around me. No one pays attention to anything they are doing, and when they screw up, they don’t take responsibility and just blame it on someone else.


  82. 82
    Shana says:

    I notice people don’t take off at green lights like they used to. I assume they’re all texting and give them a reasonable few seconds and then LAY on the horn. Usually works. Another pet driving peeve, what’s with people leaving a whole car length between themselves and the car in front of them? I’ve noticed more people doing that too.

  83. 83
    M. Bouffant says:

    @burnspbesq: An uncritical, go along to get along, passive conformist who will conform, produce as much as he can for his boss, & consume all he can w/ the crummy wages he doesn’t dare complain about?

    Just what your world needs.

  84. 84
    Mandalay says:

    I was wearing tevas

    That may result in painful problems from supermarket carts, but your sartorial flair does have a useful side effect.

  85. 85
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @SectarianSofa: Who gives a fuck about that changing of the guard?

  86. 86
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Howard Beale IV: I came here for the vitriol.

  87. 87
    chopper says:



  88. 88
    cat says:

    @John Cole +0: Why are you such a beautiful fucking snowflake you don’t have to put up with the same shit the rest of humanity does?

  89. 89
    leeleeFL says:

    @SFAW: I know! I use my blinker always. Even on curves. I think the people behind me must think I am nuts! The NY never leaves you!

    Thanks for this rant. I laughed thru the whole thing. I feel for you John. Glad you still want sobriety.

  90. 90
    Linnaeus says:

    I read the news today, oh boy…

  91. 91
    Violet says:


    Another pet driving peeve, what’s with people leaving a whole car length between themselves and the car in front of them?

    When driving? That’s actually a safe way to drive. When parked at a light? That’s just inconsiderate, especially if there’s a left turn lane in the mix and the person stopped far enough back to block other drivers from accessing the lane.

    That’s one of my pet peeves–the first person in the lane at a stoplight who stops at least a car length from the actual line, maybe more. Do not understand that. There are people behind you, dumbass. They want to access the left turn lane and you stopping so far back means more cars have to wait and traffic stacks up.

  92. 92
    AnnaN says:

    It isn’t that you’re angry, it’s the disproportionate level of anger you feel to the emotional crap being flung your way. That’s why your mom is concerned. I’d be cheesed too if I had that hour in my day. I think you have a lot going on now with fears about your present and future, your health, etc. I think that you will find your anger subsiding as you progress through rehab.

    Until then, I am sending you a hug through the ether.

  93. 93
    SIA says:

    @SectarianSofa: Yep. Dumb as a sack of hair, they are.

  94. 94
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Elizabelle: I went to Wal Mart the other day, not because I wanted to but because my bank account was low and I had money on my Wal Mart card to get groceries. The shelves were empty yet again and of 24 check out lines there were two open. Each had at least five people in line waiting to check out. There was much grumbling from the people in line about only having two checkout lines open. I was behind a couple who had three carts full of groceries and stuff, three carts. I watched the stuff being checked out and I thought to myself “if these people pay with foodstamps I am going to go balllistic” at which point the people payed with foodstamps. I was about fit to be tied. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to food stamps, but it pisses me off that someone can buy three carts full of groceries and stuff with food stamps and I have to shop at Walmart because I can put it on a Walmart card because I don’t have the money in the bank even though my husband and I work full time.

  95. 95
    mark says:

    What a great post, John. You have a twin brother, me, down in Florida.

    I even need my shoulder rebuilt, too. Maybe I should just forget surgery? Take heart, you have an identical sober twin you never knew about. Today, I drove from Miami to Tampa and had at least as many near-death/near homicidal rage moments as you. I tell people “I have Tourettes Syndrome when I drive” only a few get that I’m half-kidding.

    If we ever get together, we’ll either be on CNN or (more likely) have a fucking blast.

  96. 96
    taylormattd says:

    I love everything about this post John. The non-angry can suck it. :P

  97. 97
    Porco Rosso says:


    Me, I listen to esquivel and louis armstrong

  98. 98
    SatanicPanic says:

    @el_gallo: Oregonians are super nice, what is up with that?

  99. 99
    Dog On Porch says:

    @srv: An IRS official one day informed me that I owed $$$ to Uncle Sam. Her steely eyes convinced me she was telling the truth– I did owe, fair and square. Still, that rude truth pissed me off. Two hours later, still fuming, I crested Hyde Street in San Francisco. There I saw, flying below me with Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge as backdrop, the Blue Angels doing their warm-up schtick prelude to weekend festivities.

    The fuel that squadron burnt in .07 seconds would have covered my tab, and then some. But was I bitter?

    Fuck yes I was.

    “Welcome to my world, Cole”.

  100. 100
    SectarianSofa says:

    @cat: Why’s everyone harshing on John? He’s right about people being inconsiderate fucking idiots. He has a bad day, and doesn’t want to deal with that shit. He has a good day, maybe he ignores it.

    Also, John, chill the fuck out, man. It’ll be OK. Take deep breaths or do some Tai Chi, yoga, get your Shikantaza on, that kind of shit. (I joke, but, really. Back when I was behaving I did one or more of those habitually. Universe sucked less.)

  101. 101
    jame says:

    The combination of your continual pain and other people’s obliviousness is a sure-fire blood-pressure elevator.
    I walk off my anger because it doesn’t hurt so much to walk now, and it relieves my mind.
    I have a sister living in the next town who is a good friend, and I have pets (although sometimes they raise my blood-pressure, too, and I have to ask them “Where is the joy that pet ownership is supposed to bring?”).
    They do keep me out of trouble, mostly.
    I admire you so much for saying what I would only have thought at the auto joint. That trumps anything else.Thank you.

  102. 102
    kc says:

    @Shana: @Shana:

    Another pet driving peeve, what’s with people leaving a whole car length between themselves and the car in front of them? I’ve noticed more people doing that too.

    Thought that was the right way to do it.

  103. 103
    Mudge says:

    Dear John,

    Here I sit deep in the comments, but I will nonetheless make my comment to the ozone. You must always remember one thing:

    Half of the population is below average.

    Some work in Tire America stores.

    I do not know the fraction of pickup truck drivers who are assholes, but it is high. The truck advertises this. I live in WV and own a pickup truck (a 1994 Ford) which I only drive to carry large things (sheet rock or loads to the dump). It’s a beast and I am careful. Those who have a truck for primary transportation often have an attitude. They enjoy the beast.

    Second, I live in WV and got to Kroger (kudos to you for not saying Kroger’s)

    Kids in football outfits deserve two things…a bit of forgiveness and a hearty “watch where you are going, kid” , with a smile.

    Huge numbers of folks are far too self absorbed. See woman in parking lot. See woman who ran over your foot. Certain people on cell phones go into another universe and lose contact with ours.

    See my comment about below average, the Kroger gas guy. You simply cannot expect them to act as you would act.

    I am on Medicare. It happens. As we age, many are more careful, to try to avoid your driver side door, but it takes so much more attention. We can’t click our heels anymore and we stumble on stairs. The shower is much scarier the it used to be. If you had run off the road, I suspect the person driving 20 miles an hour would have stopped to help. Not sure the pickup driver would.

    Put yourself in other people’s less than optimal shoes (or tevas) occasionally.

  104. 104
    Pogonip says:

    @Nick: Oh, shut up.

  105. 105
    Shana says:

    @Violet: Sorry, I should have been more descriptive. Yes, a whole car length while stopped at a light.

  106. 106
    KG says:

    Burnsy is right, pretty much all you can do is not be an asshole. And it’s not as bad here in California. But people are all wrapped up in their own problems, and a lot of times that means they are unaware of what effect they have on others. I’d’ve called out the guy in the parking situation too, because that’s just fucked up and bullshit. Otherwise, you groan and talk a little shit later

  107. 107
    Bucky Reynolds says:

    I know what you mean, it seems that courtesy has gone out the window. The other day I was in the grocery store and I needed to get something from the freezer. A woman was talking on her cell phone and was blocking the door and the adjacent doors with her body and cart. I indicated that I need to get something from one of the doors, but she told me she was talking on the phone and please not to interrupt her. She then said she would be done in a minute. I waited 10 minutes (looked at my watch) and again interrupted her, she just waived her finger at me and shushed me. I decided to do other shopping and come back in 10 minutes. I used my own phone camera to take a picture and time stamp when I started this other 10 minute shopping. Came back and she was still their, took another picture and left again. Came back in 10 minutes and she was still talking took a picture again and then went to see the manager. I explainged to the manager that I needed to get at this freezer section and told her (manager) my problem. The manager went to this freezer area, the woman was still talking, and the manager asked if she could unblock this section. The person on was on the phone said she just got on the phone and that I had no right to complain. I then got out my cell phone camera and showed the manager the time stamped photos. The person then accused me of fabricating these pictures and lying. Also, she stated that she was going to sue me for taking her picture without her consent.

    The manager trying to be diplomatic asked what product I needed, the manager then went into the back of the store and got me the item from the storeroom. When I finished checking out she had moved but was still on the phone.

    I have had so many of these types of incidents with people and their cell phones that I am think about giving up mine.

  108. 108
    Shana says:

    @kc: When I learned to drive, let’s see. 39 years ago, we were taught you need to see the tires of the car in front of you when stopped at a light. This is way more than that.

  109. 109
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:


    I emigrated to Canada and every day is sheer bliss.

    For you. Last week I was threatened with jail while trying to cross the border with a toolbox and a folder full of docs from a Canadian law firm that supposedly entitled me to a Work Permit.
    We joked that it’s probably the world’s most polite jail: “Hi! Gotta lock the door now. Sooorryyy!”

  110. 110
    gelfling545 says:

    @Downpuppy: A friend got taken in by this. I can’t understand how – like Microsoft is really going to call anybody, ever.

  111. 111
    John O says:

    Hilarious shit.

    And people wonder why I’m a voluntary shut-in.

  112. 112
    SectarianSofa says:

    I’m probably a vacuous hippie-flower lotus muncher or something, but I like this:

    Zen story about the empty boat, intentions, yadda yadda :

    Maybe I can quote mostly whole thing and not break the blog:

    There’s a Zen story in which a man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk. He sees another boat coming down the river toward him. At first it seems so nice to him that someone else is also enjoying the river on a nice summer evening. Then he realizes that the boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster. He begins to yell, “Hey, hey, watch out! For Pete’s sake, turn aside!” But the boat just comes right at him, faster and faster. By this time he’s standing up in his boat, screaming and shaking his fist, and then the boat smashes right into him. He sees that it’s an empty boat. This is the classic story of our whole life situation. There are a lot of empty boats out there. We’re always screaming and shaking our fists at them. Instead, we could let them stop our minds. Even if they only stop our mind for 1.1 seconds, we can rest in that little gap. […]

    There’s a little more, but you have to pretty much be down with Tibetan buddhism to care about it.

    Empty boats. Lots of empty boats crashing around.

  113. 113
    Ohsuzanna says:

    Whoa. I feel your pain. Low Frustration Tolerance.

  114. 114
    SectarianSofa says:

    @kc: No, supposed to be two car lengths. At least. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

  115. 115
    Eric U. says:

    I’ve been driving long distances a lot, and the thing that blows me away is how much road rage I have caused just by using my cruise control. People that have wide swings in speed seem to think that those that are going a constant speed are doing it intentionally to get in the way.

  116. 116
    Origuy says:


    someone can buy three carts full of groceries and stuff with food stamps

    Maybe they are buying three carts full of groceries because they don’t own a car and go grocery shopping once a month in a borrowed car.

  117. 117
    snetzky says:

    I’ve been a long time reader of Balloon Juice, though I don’t comment often.

    Having been an anger addict, myself, let me give you a piece of advice. You are lacking one thing. Perspective.

    Given the things you’ve been through over the last few years (Getting sober, losing Tunch, getting your car crunched, having your shoulder get messed up) you need to get yourself in the habit of saying the following when things happen. “If that’s the worst thing that happens to me today, I’m doing pretty good.” In your case, it’s likely to be true, considering all the things that you’ve been going through.

    Remember that you’re just as big an asshole, just as big a dumb shit, as everyone else at some point, despite your best efforts, and other people’s bad behavior may seem a little less like a personal affront and more like just regular raggedy human behavior, to be ignored. Nothing personal, just people being stupid, and it’s okay because we’re all stupid, sometimes, even you.

    And you can tell me to fuck off and take my Pollyanna attitude with me, but the fact of the matter is, I deal with the same bullshit you do on a daily basis, but it doesn’t make me crazy and I can let it slide instead of obsessing over it, where I used to stew and stew.

    You can do this John, just take a deep breath and get some perspective.

  118. 118
    Pogonip says:

    John, welcome to 21st-century America!

    Crappy, isn’t it?

  119. 119
    SectarianSofa says:

    @SatanicPanic: I assume you’re not in San Diego or LA?

  120. 120
    Haydnseek says:

    Way late as usual, but I can relate to Cole, and agree with Burns. As difficult as it is, I try to be kind when I can, because everybody, and I mean everybody, is fighting some kind of battle.

  121. 121
    ed says:

    Move where people are nicer dude. Not here (DC -burbs) Atlanta mybe

  122. 122
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    I think that great David Foster Wallace commencement address subtitled ‘It’s Not About You’ applies here.
    I loved DFW and that great idea that the frustrations of the world are not intentional slights to be taken personally gets me through traffic jams, airports, checkout lines and difficult times in my life.


  123. 123
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: I tried the subtle approach above, telling Cole This.is.Water. It was a bit too inside baseball I expect. Six years in about a month since DFW left, by the same means as Robin Williams.

  124. 124
    JohnK says:

    @Davis X. Machina: This
    @Violet: and This

    JGC, it will take some time for your brain chemistry to return to normal. Your anger may be related to post acute withdrawal syndrome. Things will get better slowly, one day at a time. Serenity now.

  125. 125
  126. 126
    windpond says:

    My husband used to get completely livid when the stoplights wouldn’t sync or when someone HE felt was an able-bodied worker was paying for groceries with foodstamps. Everything large or small made him furious. He’s been dead for 23 years now.

  127. 127
    hilts says:


    Nate Silver channels his inner clueless douchebag. Like Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, he was once arrested, but cops later gave him a burrito so it was no harm, no foul.

    h/t http://thedailybanter.com/2014.....-protests/

  128. 128
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
    I’m on my cell and can’t see all of the comments. I know it applies very specifically.
    Losing DFW to depression hurt bad. Still does.

  129. 129
    Violet says:

    @Shana: Yeah, that’s annoying and I’ve noticed more of it lately too. Don’t get it.

  130. 130
    M. Bouffant says:

    @kc: One car length for every ten mph you’re going. Assuming you’d like to be able to stop w/o hitting the car in front of you if it brakes suddenly.

  131. 131
    jenn says:

    @Bucky Reynolds: Holy toledo, that is world class rudeness there. Obliviousness happens by all of us from time to time. That’s on a whole other level.

  132. 132
    M. Bouffant says:

    @cat: Why do you think you have to put up w/ any of it?

  133. 133
    RSA says:

    Whoa. If West Virginia is almost heaven, I think some debauchery is in order for me.

  134. 134
    Haydnseek says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Before you get too pissed off, please consider that the people you’re making assumptions about might very well work full time as well, but their wages are so low that they have to use food stamps to survive. Your slight inconvenience pales in comparison to the people in their position.

  135. 135
    Jacks mom says:

    Happens to me every time I go to the grocery store. Well not the helmet in the balls but the totally rude behavior. I’ve stopped telling Mr. Jacks Mom because he thinks I’ve just been in a very bad mood for a very long time and thus bring it on myself. He could be right but something about the general public just screams ASSHOLE to me.


  136. 136
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    I spent most of the week in Tuscaloosa, escaping Detroit on one of the last flights before the torrential rain that flooded the area closed the airport.
    Alabamans seem very nice and polite. Maybe it’s me, but I’ve gotten used to it from frequent visits. Seems kinda superficial to a stranger. Lots of formulaic friendliness in public. Being a loner crackpot and borderline misanthrope, I’d be much happier just being politely left alone rather than having to smile and exchange meaningless pleasantries with people I’ll never see again.
    There’s good manners and then there’s good manners…

  137. 137
    KG says:

    @Eric U.: this might be a Southern California thing, but I tend to get annoyed at people who go the speed limit or just under it in the fast lane. A lot of times they seem oblivious to several people passing them

  138. 138
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @M. Bouffant: Because other people exist. And some of them are stupid. Some of the are good people at heart but are momentarily distracted. Some of them just got laid off or diagnosed with a terminal illness and just don’t notice other people. OTOH, some people notice that someone else has a flat and is wearing nice clothes so they stop and change the tire for them. Some people shovel their neighbor’s driveway just because.

    Living your life in a rage because of the bad things just leads to an unpleasant life.*

    *I can get as annoyed as anyone in traffic – people should move at the speed I want to go or at least give me room to get past them. Lines at the store where someone has 20 people behind them and is digging for a coupon for two cents off a can of cat food – that one too.

  139. 139
    J R in WV says:

    Discussed the results from my shoulder X-rays with Doc Bill yesterday, advanced arthritis, bond spurs, calcitic tendonitis. Suddenly it hurt more than it had in quite a while!

    So now I have an apponitment with the local shoulder specialist orthopedist. September. Fortunately my family Dr has been our family Doc for 35 years, so when I talk about pain, he understands that I’m not talking about drugs.

    The little piece about politeness above is really good, if everyone read it the world would be better, except that most Assholes would be sure that those rules aren’t for them, they’re for the other guy. ETA: Here it is, it was in another thread:


    John, don’t know whether the parking, the foot run over, or the little Madden football kid was the funniest, but I can understand how they set you off. Neighbors have a little corgi mix, shaped like a Daschund weiner dog, but really high energy. We call her Wiggles for the high activity wriggling that never stops.

    When she first meets you (or second, or third) in the day, she jumps up to greet you, and hits your groin parts with her front paws, hard. But she’s so happy to see you, and wagging everything so hard, you can’t really get mad. It’s pretty funny, actually.

    West Virginia isn’t always like John’s day today. I think he ran into a lot of people from Ohio or Pennsylvania. Ohioans always drive slow in the fast land, never signal, and take the right of way whether it’s theirs or not, most of them anyway.

  140. 140
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @KG: Drive in the right hand lane unless passing. Fairly simple rule. Few follow it.

  141. 141
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Blue Stater:

    Serenity isn’t permanent. You have to reclaim it every day. Things won’t get better, but *you* will get better.

    This is Truth even if there’s not a substance abuse problem.
    I appreciate the reminder. Thank you.

  142. 142
    Origuy says:

    Somewhat on topic: The NYT has a set of charts showing immigration between states as well as from outside the US.
    Where We Came From
    For example, 70% of the people in West Virginia were born there, with most of the rest coming from neighboring states.

  143. 143
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): In my neck of the woods people don’t follow it. So if you do follow it you’ll be going, oh, 35 in the freeway while you could be going 60 if you’d move over a lane.

  144. 144
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I saw it, what it’s called, or how to find it, but a few months ago I saw a terrific PSA (on YouTube via Facebook, probably) that took someone through a variety of annoying and infuriating interactions, then went back and had pop-up captions saying things like “Mother is dying,” “Lost job yesterday,” “Just diagnosed with breast cancer,” “Victim of domestic abuse,” etc. All the awful things that can and do happen to people. If anyone knows the PSA I’m talking about (it might have been British, can’t remember), I’d love to track it down again. It was that good.

  145. 145
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: I am usually passing people, so I spend a lot of time in the left lane. If I have passed everyone and the right lane is clear ahead, I move back into it. I also move over when I can for people coming up fast from behind. It works on the autobahn; it should work here.

  146. 146
    LAC says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): and getting high fives from posters like srv and mcclaren. Misery loves company and that is sad company.

  147. 147
    KG says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): with seven to ten lane freeways out here, that rule gets kinda lost

  148. 148
    cat says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    A world where everyone acts with exactly the right politeness means nobody can have a bad day which means everyone is catering to everyone else’s needs while ignoring their own.

    And everyone who thinks the country used to be polite and nice needs to check their damn privilege. Try being any of the dozens of ethnic minorities in american history and see how polite they were treated.

  149. 149
    AndoChronic says:

    Two AA verses for you John. “Easy does it” and ” You know what they say if you meet more than three assholes in a day…!” :) Do something relaxing tonight. Pulling for you.

  150. 150
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Another pet driving peeve, what’s with people leaving a whole car length between themselves and the car in front of them? I’ve noticed more people doing that too.

    Well, in all candour, I expect you’re very young. I am not, and I do leave more room between my car and the one in front these days simply because I know damn well that at age 72, although I am a good driver, my reflexes simply aren’t what they were. So I allow myself a bit of extra space when I’m driving in case I have to slam on the brakes. (In fact, truth be known, I’m much more comfortable if there are two car lengths between me and the one I’m following. At least.)

  151. 151
    kindness says:

    John….I know you have family in West Virginia. I know you have history in West Virginia. You gotta move out of West Virginia though.

    Come out here to California. You’d dig it.

  152. 152
    tybee says:


    pretty cool.

    reminded me of an old joke my father used to tell: those who move from south georgia to north florida raise the average IQ of both states.

  153. 153
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I try to imagine why I would be doing the sort of thing someone is doing that is pissing me off, and then imagine that maybe they’re doing it for that same reason. Everybody seems to assume that they would only do X for a really good reason while everybody else is just a flaming asshole.

  154. 154
    chopper says:


    Funny, one of my pet peeves is not dying in a car accident because I was tailgating the shit out of the dude in front.

  155. 155
    Seanly says:

    @kc: Not at a light. People follow closer at freeway speeds & then drop back at stop lights. I think Shana forgot to mention that she meant when stopped at a light or stop sign…
    My employer required everyone to take some driving class (online) and they recommended staying back not only while driving (6 to 10 seconds), but also being back 2 car lengths at light. Many turn lanes aren’t even that long.

  156. 156
    dcdl says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Just an fyi about food stamps, my husband and I just got off of food stamps. You don’t actually get much money even when on unemployment. When we were on unemployment we only got $300 a month for a family of six. For some people that might seem a lot. It is not. When unemployment ran out we got a lot. The max for a family of 6, $900 a month. I can tell you when our card got the money which for us was on the 8th of the month we did a big grocery trip. We needed it bad.

  157. 157
    mclaren says:


    Life is too fucking short to let the assholes ruin it for you.

    The irony…it burns!

  158. 158
    Eric U. says:

    @KG: I don’t cruise in the fast lane. My cruise control matches the speed of the car in front if they are within a certain range, so I am not desperate to pass someone going 1mph slower than the cruise is set for. I have theories about the road rage, but I think it’s all based on an ego deficit of the people that do this. I have often wondered if their erratic driving isn’t feeding some subconcious need for conflict.

  159. 159
    Glocksman says:

    Jeez, it seems my complaints about a lot of local drivers are shared by others.
    My pet peeve is people who are on 41 North and see a line of cars coming up the on ramp, yet refuse to either slow down, speed up, or move over in order to let them merge into traffic.

    This is why during rush hour you have 20+ cars stopped on the Diamond Av/Us 41North ramp waiting to merge because some assholes can’t understand road courtesy.

    Before anyone asks, yes, if I see cars trying to merge on the highway I make room for them anyway I can unless I have to stop in order to do so.

    It’s not the law, but it is courtesy to do so.

    Never mind the morons who insist on doing 50 in a 65 zone while in the left lane.

    ‘Well, I’m under the speed limit’ :rolleyes:

  160. 160
    max says:

    In one hour today in Wellsburg, I learned that my Subaru dealership was trying to overcharge me by 600 bucks (Tire America will replace the struts for 400, not 1050, which is less than the labor cost alone at Wheeling Subaru). While at Tire America, the clerk answered three phone calls for two minutes a piece while allegedly serving me. He then argued with me that my car did not exist because he couldn’t find it in the computer and said I had the nomenclature wrong until I pointed at it eight feet away through the picture window- “It’s right there. Go touch it. It exists.” He then miraculously found it in the computer.

    Told you – and I could tell you because I Was a Teenage Parts Jobber (and my own qualified mechanic) and I know all the tricks. Franchise dealers are notorious for overcharging, because that’s where they make their scratch – they barely break even just selling cars. A good franchise dealer will do premium work, fast & efficient and charge you an arm and a leg for it. A bad dealer will charge you the same for slow, shoddy work. At any place, the usual trick is to overcharge for parts while appearing to undercharge for labor.

    (And a good place to take your car is Goodyear. They do good work, I have found, but they charge a little extra.)

    400$ sounds a little low to me: make sure they’re changing the springs as well as the struts, and make sure they’re giving you the good quality struts (Monroe or Gabriel or in a pinch KYB) and not that ‘economy’ shit which will have to be replaced in a few years. You don’t want to be doing rear struts on this beast again for 10 years.

    As for anger, Anne Laurie is right; being in pain while doing the sobering up thing is fine recipe for a bad temper and blowing up at the little stuff. So trim your sails a bit and mutter the Serenity Prayer to yourself when you get cranked off.

    And don’t take your car to the Subaru dealership for repairs.

    [‘Anne Laurie has my email, if you can’t dig it out from my posts – email me next time you got the car questions before you do anything, OK dude?’]

  161. 161
    Ruckus says:

    @Bucky Reynolds:
    I carry my phone when I drive, just so I have it if my POS van craps out. I have left it in the van for 3 days before without even realizing it. I don’t miss it, I don’t miss having instant access to meaningless crap all day long. If someone wants to talk to me they can leave a message and I’ll get back to them when I can. And yes I carried a cell phone for work for over ten years. But even then I turned it off when I went home. It improved my life immensely.

  162. 162
    Anne Laurie says:


    reminded me of an old joke my father used to tell: those who move from south georgia to north florida raise the average IQ of both states.

    Dang, when I was growing up in NYC we said the same thing about people moving to NJ!…

    (and now I have dear friends living in Hoboken, so I have to mind my manners.)

  163. 163
    leeleeFL says:

    @mark: I am totally stealing the Tourette’s line. My language when driving would make a sailor blush

  164. 164
    raven says:

    Late to the thread because we were with our friend with brain cancer tonight. This shit it a process John and you may never get it right. I know exactly what you are talking about, the fucking word is full of morons. I thought being sober would solve everything but, as Pete Hamill says in “A Drinking LIke”, “not drinking doesn’t solve life’s problems, you just live it with more lucidity”.

    I went into counseling after I had been sober for 10 years when a guy with an MP plate on his car almost hit me and then flipped me off. We pulled over to the side of the road and, as I tend to do, went straight at him and got all in his shit. Fucker was twice my size and half my age but I didn’t care. It never came to blows but I realized I needed help to defuse. My shrink was a buddhist and really was great. It helped but I still have to watch it. Hang tough and don’t give in to the booze.

  165. 165
    peej says:

    Cole, you’d never survive the traffic here in the DC area. Everyone around here thinks that they need to get wherever they’re going ahead of everyone else. I never knew that the on-ramp for an interstate could be used as a lane to get around slow-moving traffic until I moved here.

    I’ve also run into the types who stroll down the center of lanes in parking lots, but since I drive a Prius, I just assume they can’t hear me.

  166. 166
    gian says:

    It’s people who can’t make a left turn from the left turn lane without swerving into the lane to their right… that and flat out running reds to turn left. Reminded of how UPS plans routes to only make right turns….

  167. 167
    Glocksman says:


    Good advice.

    While my own anger is no longer drink fuelled, it still exists and my therapist helped me realize that the root causes of a hell of a lot of it wasn’t the actions of the people I was angry at, but repressed anger about other things looking for a way out, and that the repressed anger existed even before I developed into full blown alcoholism about 10 years ago.

    Though I still slip and get angrier than I should about things, especially the small stuff.
    The big things I can handle with little problem these days, but it’s life’s little slights that seem to set me off if I’m not absolutely aware of what it is exactly I’m doing.

  168. 168
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    Reminded of how UPS plans routes to only make right turns….

    Sounds like driving in NJ.

  169. 169
    raven says:


    I’m the same old story same old act
    One step up and two steps back

  170. 170
    Ruckus says:

    All I can say is as shitty as this all is, life is still better sober.

    It really is. Glad you were able to find this out. Welcome to the living, but boy does it suck some days, even sober, and even calm.
    And just a note. I’ve been riding motorcycles for 46 yrs, most of that in LA traffic. Today’s traffic in LA is better, no question. And it’s not a subtle difference, it is very noticeable. There is more consideration for others, but of course there is always the odd asshole or dozen who are late or think they might be, those who have to drive faster than the traffic no matter how fast the traffic goes, those who can not abide by someone on a bike getting ahead of them, and on and on. And it’s still better.

  171. 171
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: UGA starts Monday and you ought to see Athens. Fucking girls everywhere driving and yakking on their phones. I watched one ditz pull in a parking lot blabbing away with the phone in one hand and smoking with the other.

  172. 172
    WaterGirl says:

    @LT: I don’t know if Cole saw your comment, but I was really pleased to see it. Keep at it! I’m happy for you.

  173. 173
    condorcet runner up says:

    It’s like 3/4 of the country is painfully unaware that there are people out there besides them

    it sure seems that high some days, but the actual number is closer to about 27-28% …

  174. 174

    Think of the battle as one to keep your calm, and count keeping your calm as a victory.

    The “spend 1 hour, 20 minutes on the phone with the post office’s internet customer service line” Raven. Had breakfast and updated my resume while doing that.

    PS: if you every have a problem with the USPS Click-N-Ship service, call their customer service line, say “Click-N-Ship,” and when you get to an operator, ask for “IC3.”

  175. 175
    Tim F. says:

    despair.com . It never fails to cheer me up.

  176. 176
    LT says:

    @WaterGirl: Means a lot, WaterGirl. Thank you heaps. Prosit mit sarsaparilla!

  177. 177
    Grover Gardner says:

    Hang in there, John. It gets better with age. Seriously–I turned 58 this year and suddenly, I JUST DON’T CARE. ;-)

  178. 178
    boatboy_srq says:

    Remarkably even-tempered, Mr. Cole, especially under the circumstances.

    DC has been like this for a while: everyone is more important than you, needs to get there faster (or occasionally slower) than you, has more important phone conversations / email / text messages / DMV business / shopping / dining / whatever than you, etc etc. I hadn’t realized the IGMFY had spread so far.

  179. 179
    Louis says:

    Oh well, every day above ground is a good one (in case no one said it).(Said from my job in a hospital ER).

  180. 180
    Glocksman says:


    Heh indeedy.

    The big sign of progress for me is that I can laugh at myself when others do.
    Before arrest and therapy, while I wouldn’t have shot anyone for laughing at me*, I definitely would have either verbally (most likely) or physically accosted them.

    These days I can usually see the humor when I do something to make others laugh at me.

    *I can safely state that if I didn’t shoot on the spot the cemetery salesman who raised the price by 3x on a plot for my mother once he heard that the plot he gave the first quote on was only a few away from my grandparents’ graves, I wouldn’t shoot anyone except in legitimate self defense.

    Considering that I’d had only perhaps 4 hours sleep in three days while she slowly died from pancreatic cancer and I was legally carrying a Smith Centennial, if I’d actually wanted to shoot him the means were on my hip at the time.

    My sisters later told me that when he came back and said he’d made a mistake and that the plot was $1500 and not the $500 he originally quoted, my face went pale and my right hand started to my hip before I turned and walked away.

    When they asked why I walked away, both were surprised that I was carrying and that I came *that* close to gunning the motherfucker down.

    Compared to cemetery salesmen, used car dealers are paragons of virtue and kindness.

  181. 181
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    When my cousin and his wife get cut off when are going someplace — and he always drives — he always says “I’ll tell him to fuck off. You give him the finger.”

  182. 182
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    John, irritability with the world at large is a classic symptom of depression. Whenever I feel like I just CAN’T STAND THESE FUCKING STUPID PEOPLE ANYMORE, it’s a sure sign another bout is coming on. I hope that’s not what’s up with you, because it sucks and you have enough to deal with already, but you might give a thought to having that checked out. Peace.

  183. 183
    SIA says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: That made me laugh! How are you SD?

  184. 184
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I was once driving with someone who, when cut off in traffic, shouted at the other guy, “Go fuck yourself; save the money!”

  185. 185
    SIA says:

    @Grover Gardner: I have more of that now in my late 50s than I ever thought possible. Such a relief. More Not Caring please.

  186. 186
  187. 187
    max says:

    @max: (And a good place to take your car is Goodyear. They do good work, I have found, but they charge a little extra.)

    BTW, Cole, there’s a Munro in Wheeling and a Goodyear in Triadelphia if you’re willing to go that far.

    [‘Might be closer ones but Google doesn’t show any.’]

  188. 188
    Anne Laurie says:

    @SIA: That makes three of us!

    I think it’s the “ten thousand hours” thing. By the time you start calculating how many months till you’re eligible for Social Security, you’ve put in at least that many hours dealing with at least that many of the world’s arseholes, both amateur and professional classes…

  189. 189
    SIA says:

    @Anne Laurie: I especially appreciate it after being pretty sensitive all my life. It’s a joy to realize that I really don’t have to care!

  190. 190
    Gus says:

    @Bucky Reynolds: I would have taken her phone, stomped it into tiny pieces and screamed at her until she whimpered for mercy. My blood pressure rose just reading your story.

  191. 191
    Tom says:

    @burnspbesq: Where’s the Like button ?

  192. 192
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I try to be the change I want to see in others.

  193. 193
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Well, we knew that about you, but our concern is really about the type of change you want to see in others.

  194. 194
    Diana says:

    @chopper: This entire thread made me laugh, but I’d like to be a little more precise about annoyances in NYC.

    To be specific, when I moved here twenty years ago, the average person in NYC was nasty, mean, fast and smart. Not civil, but not dickish either. No-one made eye contact with a stranger, but everyone knew how to jaywalk and get on and off the subway and how not to run into other people on crowded streets.

    Now some of us are still mean, but increasingly we get nice, friendly, and stooopid. As in yapping on the phone while it’s their turn to order coffee, and then apologizing, but meanwhile you and everyone behind you and the barista had to wait while you heard about how they just drove around for 45 minutes looking for a parking space (um, why exactly is this person trying to get around by car in Greenwich Village?). As in jaywalking and shrieking when a bicyclist almost nicks them. As in being polite on the subway platform but then they stop moving just as soon as they get on without realizing other people behind them are also trying to get on the subway, so maybe they should move further into the subway car. They’re sweet and rich and here to have fun and have no idea how to live on any city, especially this one.

    It doesn’t make me angry but it does keep freaking me out.

    But that line about signal lights giving information to the enemy made me laugh out loud.

  195. 195
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    All I can say is as shitty as this all is, life is still better sober.

    Yep. Welcome to the club. I’m not going to jive you and tell you that it gets better, but now you know, too, that it could easily be a lot fucking worse.

  196. 196
    MattR says:

    @kc: I would agree that is more or less the right way to drive. A full car length may be a bit much but you should always leave enough room that you can get out from behind the car in front if it dies when the light changes. Urban areas may be a bit of an exception, especially busy roads at rush hour, because you want/need the line of cars to take up less space so it doesn’t extend back to the previous light, potentially leading to gridlock.

  197. 197
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @MattR: If you can see the rear tires of the car in front of you, you should be able to steer around it if it conks out.

  198. 198
    MattR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Does that rule of thumb still work as cars have evolved? Sadly I have no feel for the current turning radius of today’s larger cars/SUVs. I like little cars that I can weave in and out of city traffic.

    And just because I need to vent – am I the only one who hates the way the back of cars have changed in the past 10-15 years? As they have gone to the sleeker designs, it seems like the amount that you can actually see out the back window is significantly reduced. I think it is some combination of changing the vertical angle of the back windshield so it is less perpendicular to the ground and also the shape of the area between the back window and back windshield is more curved and less boxy so now all I see is upholstery where I used to see road. I have a 2001 Hyundai Elantra and was test driving some new cars today, including the 2015 Elantra. I don’t think I felt comfortable backing up or trying to merge onto a highway in any of them. I am going to have to go back and see if I can play with the seat positioning to make things better or else maybe try a hatchback.

  199. 199
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @MattR: Look, I honestly want a Lotus Elise S to supplement my Saab. My brother bought a Camry – how much less interesting can you get?

  200. 200
    Anne Laurie says:


    I especially appreciate it after being pretty sensitive all my life. It’s a joy to realize that I really don’t have to care!


    It’s like all those extra friggin’ nerve endings finally got sandpapered away by the jewelers’ grit of daily life!

  201. 201
    SIA says:

    @Anne Laurie: you have a way with words Anne Laurie! That’s it exactly.

  202. 202
    MattR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): A convertible is one way to fix the rear visibility problem :)

    Less interesting than a Camry? A Civic? And I think I am going to look at one of those tomorrow. Either that or a Ford Focus

  203. 203
    Glocksman says:


    From all I’ve heard, the new Focus is pretty good, but as a Kia owner can I recommend the Kia Soul?
    If it’s good enough for Pope Francis to use during his visit to South Korea, it has God’s own blessing. :)

  204. 204
    MattR says:

    @Glocksman: You would think the salesman would have suggested that when I commented about the limited visibility in the Forte. Looks like it doesn’t have quite the power of the Forte, but I will have to go give one a try.

  205. 205
    Glocksman says:


    For me, the Hyundai Beta II engine in my Spectra (newer version with more power per CC is in the latest Soul) has plenty of power for driving unless I want to drag race. :)

    If that’s what I want to do, I’ll borrow my Dad’s 2014 Camaro SS.

  206. 206
    MattR says:

    @Glocksman: Probably a good thing if I have an underpowered engine :) Thanks for the suggestion.

  207. 207
    MattR says:

    @MattR: My only hesitation with a Kia, or Hyundai, is that I haven’t been thrilled with the durability of the Elantra. I am pretty sure I just got a bad car, but it is still a bit of a mental hurdle to go back to the well with another Korean car. (Or the same dealer)

  208. 208
    Cain says:

    Ya need to come out to Portland. We’re nice to a fault. Seriously, they piss me off for being too polite especially when they break the rules.

  209. 209
    moderateindy says:

    Look out Cole the Whaa–ambulance is coming through. Yes, it does seem that people are more inconsiderate these days, but some of your complaining reeked of, Why isn’t everybody making sure that John Cole isn’t inconvenienced in any way?
    Of course, you are the guy that lives in a college town, near bars, and get worked up when drunken college kids walking home from the bars are loud.
    Personally, I am hyper-considerate, and think that large swaths of humanity make an effort not to be jerks. I also truly believe in the power of random acts of kindness. But I do reserve my anger for those that are being intentionally inconsiderate, or those that act like simple rules of society don’t apply to them. For them I become a confrontational, sarcastic dick, but ya can’t spend all day freaking out that people aren’t acting exactly the way you want them to. Happy’s how ya travel, it’s not a destination.
    One last thing, looking back on your life have you ever had an extended period of time when you were happy? Excluding times when you were constantly wasted

  210. 210
    Montarvillois says:

    Complaining to us about a doctor’s assistant’s attitude because you didn’t bother with an alarm clock, slept in, and missed an appointment took a lot of chutzpa and exposed your short fuse. Gotta take life as it comes, man, ease-up.

  211. 211
    Death Panel Truck says:

    I told her the problem is I am sober and am painfully aware of how fucking stupid everyone is around me.

    Yes, the world is stupid and only you are sane.

    Fuck off, Cole. Asshole.

  212. 212
    Keith G says:

    @burnspbesq: Just so you know…That was a marvelous piece of writing which communicated an excellent point of view.


    That was one fucking hour of my day. One. And I swear it is like that every single day. Every single one.

    What you described is stimulus. Your task (one we all face) is to decide how you choose to respond – a choice that fits with the person you want to be and/or need to be.

    @raven: Also a very important comment.

  213. 213
    LT says:

    @Death Panel Truck: You are an intact bag of asshole.

  214. 214
    Central Planning says:


    this might be a Southern California thing, but I tend to get annoyed at people who go the speed limit or just under it in the fast lane. A lot of times they seem oblivious to several people passing them

    I drive the NYS thruway from Buffalo to Albany frequently. I’ve noticed more people going slow in the left lane, and I’m doing more passing in the right lane. Even when flashing headlights at them to get their attention, they don’t move.

    I’ve also noticed more truckers going slow in the left as well, but I suspect they might have some GPS things that record their speed so it’s harder for them to pass another vehicle moving at 64mph if the fastest they can go is 65mph.

  215. 215
    Central Planning says:


    Before anyone asks, yes, if I see cars trying to merge on the highway I make room for them anyway I can unless I have to stop in order to do so.

    It’s also up to the driver of the car merging to get up to speed. I can’t tell you the number of people that merge onto a highway going 35mph and causing all sorts of quick lane changes and brake lights.

  216. 216
    Central Planning says:


    (And a good place to take your car is Goodyear. They do good work, I have found, but they charge a little extra.)

    I’ll second that. I submitted an internet request for tires to a local dealer a week before Thanksgiving. We’re traveling with the family and could hit snow, so I want snow tires. I call them the day before the appointment (Tuesday) and ask what time I should be there. “Oh, we haven’t scheduled you yet. Can’t get you in for a week.”

    A few calls later, I’m talking to the Goodyear guy. He’s got tires in stock and can get me in the next day.

    I also took the van there for an oil change and inspection. The guys says it needs new wipers. I’m more than capable of buying them and changing them myself, so I ask how much? He says $25. I told him he could do it. They’ve been reasonable and attentive. What more could you ask for?

  217. 217
    Sam says:

    At the end there I think you touched upon part of the issue.

    When I was first getting sober I had a lot of days like this (though not all that bad in a single hour). My head all still foggy and messed up.

    Going to AA meetings and talking and listening to others going through the same thing helped me more than I could have imagined it would have before I did it. There are people there who are going through the exact same thing you are or they have gone through it themselves.

    Remember when you talked about the folks who had been in rehab before you who helped you so much? It’s something like that.

    I couldn’t have made it these (almost) 18 months without that support.

  218. 218
    Paul in KY says:

    @Thoughtcrime: I laughed my ass off at John’s recap. If that had been the Larry David show, people would say it was an all-time great episode.

  219. 219
    Ted and Hellen says:

    Fourteen years ago, sometime after I became a sober person myself, I too realized that most people are profoundly stupid. Stupid in the sense of being numb, out of it, thoughtless, incurious as to the difference between reality and their twisted view of the ongoing world outside their skin.

    How do you think the Retarded Bush Boy was able to start and then leave unfinished, TWO wars for Obama to inherit, etc. Most people are indeed stupid, willfully so.

    Seriously, deep breathing techniques help a lot with this; as does yoga.

  220. 220
    Ted and Hellen says:

    Oh, and my tribute to Robin Williams.

    I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he was clearly a genius of some sort; and I know plenty about the power of depression.

  221. 221
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @John Cole:

    It’s like 3/4 of the country is painfully unaware that there are people out there besides them

    THIS. It’s what I see every single time I have a day like yours–which are getting more and more frequent lately.

  222. 222
    tones says:


    Totally right I live in OC and it is the pit of despair for anyone with half a brain.
    [They all drive like jerks too.]

    Coincidentally it is the only bastion of [R] voters in the entire blue, blue state.

    Maybe not such a coincidence, then…hmmm

  223. 223
    Trinity says:

    “life is still better sober.”

    You inspire me John. Thank you.

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