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What it takes to be a jerk (Dave Barry)
Maimi Herald ^ | Dave Barry

Posted on 05/07/2006 8:33:21 AM PDT by nuconvert

What it takes to be a jerk

BY DAVE BARRY

(This classic Dave Barry column was originally published on Sept. 29, 1996.)

Recently, when I was having a hamburger at an outdoor restaurant, two guys started up their Harley-Davidson motorcycles, parked maybe 25 feet from me. Naturally, being Harley guys, these were rebels -- lone wolves, guys who do it Their Way, guys who do not follow the crowd. You could tell because they were wearing the same jeans, jackets, boots, bandannas, sunglasses, belt buckles, tattoos and (presumably) underwear worn by roughly 28 million other lone-wolf Harley guys.

And, of course, once they got their engines started, they had to spend the equivalent of two college semesters just sitting there, revving their engines, which were so ear-bleedingly loud that I thought my hamburger was going to leap from my plate and skitter, terrified, back into the kitchen. I believe many Harley guys spend more time revving their engines than actually driving anywhere; I sometimes wonder why they bother to have wheels on their motorcycles.

Perhaps you, too, have experienced an assault of Harley-revving; and perhaps you have asked yourself: Why do these people DO this? What possible reason could they have for causing so much discomfort to those around them? As it happens, there IS a reason, and it is an excellent one: They're jerks.

I'm not saying that ALL Harley guys -- some of my friends are Harley guys -- engage in this obnoxious behavior. I'm just saying that the ones who DO engage in it are jerks. And I am not afraid to tell them so, even if they are large and hairy and potentially violent. I am not afraid to say: ``OK, Mr. Loud Harley Guy, you got a problem with me calling you a jerk? You want to DO something about it? You want to express your disagreement by tapping out lengthy Morse Code sentences on my skull with a tire iron? Then why don't you -- if you have the guts -- come see me PERSONALLY at my place of employment, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.? Come on if you dare, fat boy! Ride right into the lobby!''

And let me also say, while I'm at it, that I'm sick of you people who park in spaces reserved for the handicapped, even though you are not, personally, handicapped. You know who you are. Many of you even have those little rearview-mirror handicapped signs, which you got from a friend or relative, or which you once needed because of some temporary medical condition that has long since been cleared up.

One of my hobbies is to watch when cars pull into handicapped parking spots, and see who gets out. Very often, in my experience, these people appear to be totally unhandicapped: No wheelchair, no crutches, not even a trace of a limp. I realize that some of these people have problems, such as heart conditions, that are not visible. But some of them, to judge by the sprightliness of their walks, are off to compete in the decathlon. Their only handicap is: They're jerks.

What we need in this country -- I would pay extra income tax for this -- is an elite corps of Handicapped Parker On-Site Medical Examination SWAT Teams. These teams would prowl the streets, wearing rubber gloves and armed with X-ray machines, CT scanners, scalpels, drills, saws and harpoon-sized hypodermic needles.

When a team spotted a handicapped-zone parker who could not immediately prove that he or she was handicapped, that person would immediately undergo a severely thorough on-the-street physical examination conducted by burly personnel who have attended medical school for a maximum of four hours including lunch (''Hey Norm! Which ones are the kidneys again?''). These examinations would involve full frontal nudity and the removal of enough blood, organ and tissue samples to form a complete new human; also, if the SWAT team found a Harley guy revving his engine in a handicapped-parking zone, it would employ the 250-foot intestinal probe nicknamed ''Big Bertha.'' The idea would be that if you weren't qualified to park in a handicapped zone BEFORE the physical examination, you definitely would be AFTER.

And let's talk about you people who always send your food back in restaurants. (I KNOW this has nothing to do with handicapped parking; I can't stop myself.) I mean, sure, if the food is truly BAD, if it has RODENTS running around on it, OK, send it back; but what about you people who ALWAYS send your food back, thereby turning EVERY SINGLE MEAL into an exercise in consumer whining?

I'm sorry! You're jerks! Especially if, when the bill comes, you also ALWAYS insist -- even if everybody ordered basically the same thing -- on figuring out your EXACT share (''Well, I had the Diet Sprite, which is 10 cents less than the iced tea. ...'' ); and then you decide that a 5 percent tip is adequate, thereby forcing your friends, who are embarrassed, to put in more money.

Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. Put your ear right down to the page: YOUR FRIENDS HATE IT WHEN YOU STIFF THE WAITER. IF THE SERVICE IS OK, YOU SHOULD TIP 15 PERCENT. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TIP, THEN DON'T EAT AT RESTAURANTS.

Also, you should never, ever, no matter what, butt in front of people waiting in line without asking their permission. Also, if, when you talk to people, they keep backing away from you, it's because you're TOO CLOSE, all right? SO DON'T KEEP ADVANCING ON THEM LIKE A HUMAN GLACIER.

Thank you, and I apologize for using so many capital letters. I can be a real jerk about that.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: barry; davebarry; harley; humor; jerk
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1 posted on 05/07/2006 8:33:25 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
when the bill comes, you also ALWAYS insist -- even if everybody ordered basically the same thing -- on figuring out your EXACT share (''Well, I had the Diet Sprite, which is 10 cents less than the iced tea. ...'' ); and then you decide that a 5 percent tip is adequate, thereby forcing your friends, who are embarrassed, to put in more money.

Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. Put your ear right down to the page: YOUR FRIENDS HATE IT WHEN YOU STIFF THE WAITER. IF THE SERVICE IS OK, YOU SHOULD TIP 15 PERCENT. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TIP, THEN DON'T EAT AT RESTAURANTS.

This is the only one that really makes me crazy.

2 posted on 05/07/2006 8:39:26 AM PDT by Hildy (Producing a penny now costs the government more than 1.4 cents)
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To: nuconvert

Barry is dead wrong about the handicap spots. Many people I know have mobility issues which don't take a wheelchair or cane.

Knee replacements, heart conditions, or any other number of issues may justify not being able to walk all over the place.

Judgmental BS without knowing the facts can make dave just as much a jerk as those he assumes to be jerks. It must be a low creativity day.


3 posted on 05/07/2006 8:39:43 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: nuconvert

Addition... people who let their dogs roam unattended off their leashes. You may have a perfectly friendly dog; but my dog (on a leash,) may try to kick your dog's butt.


4 posted on 05/07/2006 8:42:37 AM PDT by cobaltblu
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To: nuconvert

Thanks, that was wonderful!


5 posted on 05/07/2006 8:42:43 AM PDT by solzhenitsyn ("Live Not By Lies")
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To: longtermmemmory

I saw a lady park in one once and then get out and pick up her toddler and carry her across the parking lot.


6 posted on 05/07/2006 8:44:18 AM PDT by cobaltblu
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To: longtermmemmory

You must have missed this.....

"I realize that some of these people have problems, such as heart conditions, that are not visible. But some of them, to judge by the sprightliness of their walks, are off to compete in the decathlon. Their only handicap is: They're jerks."


7 posted on 05/07/2006 8:44:42 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: Hildy

How about people who insist on splitting down the middle even though they got something WAY more expensive, and then not figure in a tip either. This happened to me once....once.


8 posted on 05/07/2006 8:47:03 AM PDT by cobaltblu
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To: nuconvert
Also, if, when you talk to people, they keep backing away from you, it's because you're TOO CLOSE, all right? SO DON'T KEEP ADVANCING ON THEM LIKE A HUMAN GLACIER.

Agreed. I've been known to point this out to people who think I can't hear them if they're more than six inches away. Unless you're female and I'm clearly interested, back the F off. It's annoying as hell.

9 posted on 05/07/2006 8:48:53 AM PDT by Riley ("What color is the boathouse at Hereford?")
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To: nuconvert

"Also, you should never, ever, no matter what, butt in front of people waiting in line without asking their permission..."

Someone should show this to the proponents of giving amnesty to the illegals. It's a very basic concept.


10 posted on 05/07/2006 8:50:12 AM PDT by Joann37
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To: nuconvert

People stand in public door ways while they look in their bag or have a conversation or answer their cell phone or whatever, they're the real jerks. Oh, and DemocRATS, they're jerks too.


11 posted on 05/07/2006 8:50:40 AM PDT by advance_copy (Stand for life, or nothing at all)
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To: Hildy

Do you ever fly Southwest Airlines? How about the guy who appears out of nowhere and merges into the "A" line just as boarding begins.


12 posted on 05/07/2006 8:50:47 AM PDT by Poison Pill
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To: Riley

LoL.
They're called, "Close talkers". Lol


13 posted on 05/07/2006 8:55:25 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: nuconvert

There are a lot of jerks who ride Harleys. There are a lot of Jerks who drive automobiles. there are jerks in Congress and probably a few jerk doctors.

We cant assign jerk status to only Motorcyclists.

I tip good in restaurants, but I dont feel it is an essential. If I go with a group and I dont tip its because the service sucked. Dont chip in more to make up for me. Dont put up anything. Bad service doesnt deserve a tip.

I also have been to restaurants with the jerk who orders Drinks, a Steak with Lobster and dessert and wants me , who had a chef salad and Tea to split the tab evenly with him.


14 posted on 05/07/2006 8:55:57 AM PDT by sgtbono2002
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To: nuconvert
Thank you, and I apologize for using so many capital letters. I can be a real jerk about that.

Could you also apologize for being an anal retentive, whiny, liberal, warm and fuzzy, kumbayah-chanting, HACK?

What an ass.

Never did like the idiot.

15 posted on 05/07/2006 8:56:43 AM PDT by OldSmaj (I received my koran from CAIR. I desecrate it daily, in the privacy and comfort of my own toilet.)
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To: nuconvert

OKay, I'll add one to the jerk list....

People who wait until the cashier totals up their order and THEN start making out the check and THEN need to balance their checkbook.


16 posted on 05/07/2006 8:59:04 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: Boxsford; kitkat; Irish Rose; Ditter

Pong


17 posted on 05/07/2006 9:01:44 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: nuconvert
I estimate the one-in-a-thousand person who thinks that a loud Harley is "cool" is the bozo who's on it.

The other 999 people wish that guy would ride the Harley into a wall.

18 posted on 05/07/2006 9:02:15 AM PDT by Psycho_Bunny (ISLAM: The Other Psychosis)
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To: nuconvert

I'll add another to the Jerk list:

People who think every thread is about illegal immigration. (#10)


19 posted on 05/07/2006 9:04:26 AM PDT by RobFromGa (In decline, the Driveby Media is thrashing about like dinosaurs caught in the tar pits.)
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To: nuconvert

Or, after completing their transactions, they stay in line and put their money away instead of stepping aside to let the clerk wait on the next customer.


20 posted on 05/07/2006 9:04:39 AM PDT by Joann37
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To: nuconvert

21 posted on 05/07/2006 9:06:28 AM PDT by Lady Jag (Learning to shrug is the beginning of wisdom)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: nuconvert

Dave Barry is usually witty and sarcastically funny. This article was a complete waste of my time. No plot, no point, just contrived whining about his ability to "have a consummate thought at the penning of this article", disguised as his thoughts about contrived and ceonceived jerks based on a few personal experiences.

I hate "jerks" who waste my time. But then again I don't blame him as I did force myself to finish the article.


23 posted on 05/07/2006 9:09:15 AM PDT by The Unknown Nobody (You can't hit stupid with a brick and build a house...)
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To: sgtbono2002
I also have been to restaurants with the jerk who orders Drinks, a Steak with Lobster and dessert and wants me , who had a chef salad and Tea to split the tab evenly with him.

Really? Then why are you friends with this "jerk?" And if you don't think tipping is "essential" like Barry said, you shouldn't go to restaurants, and please don't argue with me. I can't stand people like you. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

24 posted on 05/07/2006 9:09:17 AM PDT by Hildy (Producing a penny now costs the government more than 1.4 cents)
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To: OldSmaj
Could you also apologize for being an anal retentive, whiny, liberal, warm and fuzzy, kumbayah-chanting, HACK? What an ass. Never did like the idiot.

On the other hand, you sound like a real sweetie

25 posted on 05/07/2006 9:11:36 AM PDT by maine-iac7 ("...but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." LINCOLN)
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To: nuconvert
Perhaps you, too, have experienced an assault of Harley-revving; and perhaps you have asked yourself: Why do these people DO this? What possible reason could they have for causing so much discomfort to those around them? As it happens, there IS a reason, and it is an excellent one: They're jerks.

Whatever the reason is, it's probably the same reason teen-age kids drive around in cars with windows down and rap music blasting so loud from the speakers that local geographical institutes record seismic activity. I would go along with the reason being that they are just jerks.

26 posted on 05/07/2006 9:12:54 AM PDT by SamAdams76 (I think Randy Travis must be paying his bills on home computer by now)
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To: longtermmemmory
Many families have the rearview mirror handicapped tag that they pass from car to car for quick errands. Please don't nitpick; it mucks up a thread.
27 posted on 05/07/2006 9:13:18 AM PDT by Lady Jag (Learning to shrug is the beginning of wisdom)
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To: OldSmaj

You don't like Dave Berry? O_o

Now that's something you don't see every day. :)


28 posted on 05/07/2006 9:13:22 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: OldSmaj

BTW, are you from North Dakota by any chance?


29 posted on 05/07/2006 9:13:55 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: nuconvert
you're TOO CLOSE, all right? SO DON'T KEEP ADVANCING ON THEM LIKE A HUMAN GLACIER.

Wanna have a fun time? Next time you're in a restaurant with someone, quietly and slowly, while in conversation, start pushing or putting things, like the salt/pepper shakers, the posy vase, etc - over the halfway line onto their side of the table.

Watch them start to fidget and get more and more uncomfortable - You are 'intruding' on their invisible demarcation line ...it's called "territorial imperatives" -

30 posted on 05/07/2006 9:16:30 AM PDT by maine-iac7 ("...but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." LINCOLN)
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To: maine-iac7
On the other hand, you sound like a real sweetie

Hey!

This is one of my GOOD days!

31 posted on 05/07/2006 9:17:08 AM PDT by OldSmaj (I received my koran from CAIR. I desecrate it daily, in the privacy and comfort of my own toilet.)
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To: Poison Pill
Do you ever fly Southwest Airlines? How about the guy who appears out of nowhere and merges into the "A" line just as boarding begins.

Yes...he and the fifty people who feign disabilities in order to "pre-board" are the reasons I seldom fly Southwest any more.

32 posted on 05/07/2006 9:17:14 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("When the government is invasive, the people are wanting." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: cobaltblu
How about people who insist on splitting down the middle even though they got something WAY more expensive, and then not figure in a tip either. This happened to me once....once.

Ha.. there was a guy like that with us in college... man, it happened that he ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, and then loudly demanded that we split down the middle when the check came... when we pointed out the fact that his food was more expensive, he had the gall to call US cheap. Noone went out anywhere with him more than once!
33 posted on 05/07/2006 9:17:24 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: The Unknown Nobody; OldSmaj

Have you two met each other?

Allow me to introduce you


34 posted on 05/07/2006 9:17:29 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: Lady Jag

You mean they lend it to healthy family members to save them walking distance in a parking lot? That's crappy.

I was driving my motherin-law car recently, she was not with me, and it has such a tag. But I didn't park in handicapped spaces because it would be both rude and illegal for me to do so.


35 posted on 05/07/2006 9:19:24 AM PDT by FarmerW ("We have the freedoms we fight for, and we lose those we don't defend." -Rushdie)
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To: nuconvert
Here's one... fat slob/slobette (and I'm not talking about little kids) standing at the ice/soda dispenser having to add that extra 1/20 oz. to their cup. Add a little soda, slurp up the foam, add a little more soda, slurp up the foam... until until ~40 seconds go by.

Damn people, there's a bottomless supply of high fructose corn syrup... fill up your cup and sit your tail down so we can get ice for tea.

36 posted on 05/07/2006 9:19:26 AM PDT by Trajan88 (www.bullittclub.com)
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To: Constantine XIII
BTW, are you from North Dakota by any chance?

WTH is a "North Dakota"?

37 posted on 05/07/2006 9:20:00 AM PDT by OldSmaj (I received my koran from CAIR. I desecrate it daily, in the privacy and comfort of my own toilet.)
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To: cobaltblu

this pisses me off to no end. My neighbors do this, and they know their dog is aggressive and mean. He has attacked my dog, and yet they still walk him without a leash. One time I told them that they only had seconds to subdue their dog before our dogs spotted each other and a fight ensued (my dog, on a leash with me helplessly watching him be attacked) , but they continue to do it. It's the rudest, stupidest behavior. It's like thinking your own sh%t doesn't smell, so you refuse to flush. Sorry for the gross analogy, but it ticks me off.


38 posted on 05/07/2006 9:21:53 AM PDT by ruthles (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean people aren't out to get you.)
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To: Trajan88

If they were thin, would they be less of a jerk?


39 posted on 05/07/2006 9:22:15 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: nuconvert

It's your turn when the guy in front of you leaves; not one second before, clean your own house and let the slobs live as they may.


40 posted on 05/07/2006 9:22:41 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: nuconvert

People who insist on running others' meetings

People who stop the whole street full of cars behind them to let the attractive young woman turn in

Waiters/waitresses who "accidentally" overcharge

People who conspicuously hand street people money

People who put 3 weeks' worth of luggage in the overhead bin

Don't get me started!


41 posted on 05/07/2006 9:22:56 AM PDT by VoiceOfBruck (optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: Lady Jag

That's wrong.


42 posted on 05/07/2006 9:23:13 AM PDT by ruthles (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean people aren't out to get you.)
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To: longtermmemmory
Barry is dead wrong about the handicap spots. Many people I know have mobility issues which don't take a wheelchair or cane.

Well on that subject, why have handicapped spaces at all. I mean, what is the big deal about going another hundred feet or so for anybody? Does it really make that big of a difference? Think about it. If you are really so incapacitated that you can't go more than a couple hundred feet, you probably have a wheelchair anyhow.

I don't get the handicapped spaces at all. Especially when you park at a shopping mall and have to go for miles and miles anyway once inside. I think it's just political correctness run amok. Somehow our society survived up until the 1960s with no handicapped spaces and our handicapped had much less mobility options in those days.

What I find humorous is when people spend large amounts of time "jockeying" for a close parking space at the shopping mall, only to spend the next two hours walking endlessly around the mall. I mean, these people get all aggravated and beep and gesture when somebody slides into the spot ahead of them. When all they had to do was park a little in the back where there is ample parking and be inside the mall in maybe 30 seconds. I have a pedometer strapped to my belt everyday and sometimes I record 2 or 3 miles in a shopping mall!

43 posted on 05/07/2006 9:24:39 AM PDT by SamAdams76 (I think Randy Travis must be paying his bills on home computer by now)
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To: OldSmaj

It's just like a South Dakota, but northier.


44 posted on 05/07/2006 9:25:05 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: FarmerW
I was driving my motherin-law car recently, she was not with me, and it has such a tag. But I didn't park in handicapped spaces because it would be both rude and illegal for me to do so.

'Integrity' is what you have when you do the right thing- even when you know that nobody's looking. :-)

45 posted on 05/07/2006 9:25:50 AM PDT by Riley ("What color is the boathouse at Hereford?")
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To: maine-iac7

Once, for about a week, I was going around just walking up to people and handing them an object, saying only: "Here, hold this," over 80% of the people would take it before asking me why.


46 posted on 05/07/2006 9:26:16 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: nuconvert

no... however it is that is the standard operating proceedure from my experience.


47 posted on 05/07/2006 9:26:48 AM PDT by Trajan88 (www.bullittclub.com)
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To: SamAdams76

A lot of the time the handicap spaces seem to be wider so that those wheelchair lifts have someplace to deploy.


48 posted on 05/07/2006 9:27:10 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: Old Professer

"It's your turn when the guy in front of you leaves; not one second before, clean your own house and let the slobs live as they may."

You can call them slobs, I call them jerks.


49 posted on 05/07/2006 9:27:55 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: nuconvert
All I've got to say is I sure as hell am glad I'm not a jerk!!!
50 posted on 05/07/2006 9:28:53 AM PDT by RinAZ2005
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