The rude, the crude and the incorrigible

Bob McKee

This is not breaking news that would prompt television stations to interrupt regular programming or a newspaper editor to yell “stop the presses.” I don’t even know if they still yell stop the presses, it’s probably all done electronically now if the need arises. Besides, yelling is considered unseemly in today’s news rooms. It’s just not politically correct.

In my journalistic career, I never got to yell stop the presses, primarily because this paper was, and still is, printed at the Washington Missourian’s plant some 40 miles away. However, there were a few times when we had to return to the office late on a Tuesday night, write about a breaking news story, develop film, print photographs and then tear up the already once done front page so the following day’s issue could actually contain “hot news.” 

But I still regret not getting to yell “stop the presses” at least once.

But back to the topic. Has anyone noticed that some of the other passengers on this ship have become terribly rude, inconsiderate and unbearably arrogant of late? Or is it just me?

I’m not throwing stones here, understand, because I readily acknowledge that rude and inconsiderate occasionally may be whispered (in a loud voice) to describe some behavior of mine. The third adjective in this trilogy does not apply; I don’t recall ever being called arrogant.

Humble, maybe, unassuming, open minded, objective, a seeker of truth and justice along with possessing a strong and unwavering sense of fairness, sure, I’m guilty as charged.

Reluctantly, I also admit to being a perfect grandfather, a highly skilled and experienced motorcycle rider, an excellent marksman with rifle, pistol and shotgun, and to having a sterling work ethic. But arrogant and boastful? Never.

But I digress. Back to the topic once again. The latest crass incident to remind me of our ever evolving (apparently for the worse) human nature occurred a couple of weeks ago at the local Walmart Supercenter. To make things perfectly clear, it had nothing to do with Walmart other than the fact that it occurred there. The snotty inconsiderate (insert appropriate  synonym for a female of the canine species) undoubtedly would have acted the same in any retail establishment.

Walmart and many other establishments, have checkout lanes labeled “speedy” or “express” that are suppose to be for customers with 20 items or less to checkout. With nose at a slight upward tilt, our suspect blithely pushed her cart, easily filled with three times the so called speedy check out limit, into that lane and with what I perceived to be a disdainful look at me, begin putting her numerous items on the conveyor belt. I had four items, the customer behind me had maybe six items.

I took the woman’s look back at us to mean “what are you going to do about it?” I know what I wanted to do but instead took the roundabout route and said, loudly, to the customer with six items, “I guess there are still some people who can’t read.” The woman ahead, who by now had emptied her cart of only a few items, had me on ignore the whole time. Beginning to do a not-so-slow-boil, I knew instantly that the woman and I were headed into a deep discussion about her intelligence and the ramifications caused by the lack thereof.

But the woman was saved, or maybe it was me, when another cashier announced that she could check me out in the next lane. I mumbled something about remedial reading courses as I hand-carried my four items to the next checkout lane which, by the way, was not even a speedy or express checkout. I paid and headed for the exit but not before giving the woman one more disgusted look, which she ignored or maybe didn’t see. 

My complaint about Walmart and all the other stores that offer alleged speedy or express checkout is that they obviously do not enforce it. I’m sure some inconsiderate and self-centered people would be offended if a cashier told them they had too many items to use the express checkout lane. But it would be nice sometime to hear a cashier indignantly proclaim: “Hey stupid, can’t you read? You have 42 items in your cart, not 20 or less. Find a regular checkout lane.”

This former mild mannered reporter has had it with rude, selfish, inconsiderate and totally inappropriate behavior. Let me quote from the sound philosophy of former Texas Ranger Capt. Woodrow F. Call right after he soundly thrashes an overbearing army scout:

“I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” — From Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove.

Of course I’m not advocating beating the crap out of a man (or woman) just for rude behavior. The fictional Capt. Call lived in simpler times. Life is too complicated today and physical violence is kind of frowned on by most law enforcement people. However, there are ways to get the message across.