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Common sense, in memoriam

As a member of adult society, there are certain things that you expect other adults to know. Don’t cut in line at Starbucks (or any line, for that matter), “cash only” really does mean “cash only”, and a diet comprised solely of food obtained through the window of your car is a sure-fire way to get fat- no matter how often you wear your Sketchers Shape Up’s. Only, as a member of said adult society, you’ve doubtless come to realize that there a good many people out there who need daily reminders from perfect strangers that lines exist for a reason, that “cash only” applies to everyone, and fast food is in fact a direct contributor to weight gain.

As I sat at work today filing the edges of small aluminum samples for our clients (see here if you’re curious), ostensibly to prevent any over-zealous architects from slicing a perfectly-manicured index finger, I got to thinking about how ridiculous my task actually was: Shouldn’t common sense dictate that you handle a piece of metal with care? Obviously not, otherwise I’d be out of a job. But the fact remains, companies go above and beyond to protect their clients when the clients’ common sense calls in sick.

The airport, more specifically TSA security checkpoints. Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no TV, internet or cell service for the past 11 years, you might have noticed that traveling by air has become a hellish ordeal in which you’re stripped of you’re shoes and your dignity simultaneously, leaving you at the mercy of groping hands and unceremonious bag searches. You also might have noticed the perpetually lengthening list of items not permitted past security: Water, pocket knives, fireworks, ice picks, sabers (go figure), pool cues, nunchakus and snow globes (heres the complete list). So no, you absolutely may not take a Jim Bowie knife through TSA security regardless of how authentic it is. Grow a brain.

Coffee is a miraculous thing. It wakes you up, makes mornings bearable and long nights passable. Unfortunately, unless you specified that you would like your coffee iced, it will be served in the traditional way, that is to say, hot .Very hot. As in “a hot cup of joe.” In order to compensate for the apparent lack of common sense employed while imbibing in a morning coffee (and to avoid any frivolous lawsuits) restaurants have taken to stating the obvious. It’s a line we’re all familiar with because it’s plastered on every single to-go coffee cup in the universe:

I think this speaks for itself.

Fast food is a tricky one, but people are always dumbfounded when, after a steady diet of Arby’s, McDonald’s and Jack in the Box, they notice that they’ve put on a few (60) pounds. I know it’s delicious, over salted goodness (I’m partial to Whataburger myself), but don’t go trying to sue anyone because you didn’t know your M/W/F quarter-pounder with cheese, large fries and a coke would lead to elastic-waist jeans, Shape Ups and rejection at the roller-coaster 5 years down the road. Say it with me now, common sense…

Clothing is a personal thing, a public declaration of your personality and attitude in an uncaring world. But I recently read an article in which a young woman was removed from an airplane because the pilot and stewardess could not ascertain whether or not the young lady was wearing any pants. Turns out she was (oops?) but I’m kind of of the opinion that if it’s even up for debate whether you’re wearing pants and drawers, then you’ve made an egregious overstep in the public fashion department. It should not be left up to the pilot of an airplane to tell you your pants are too tiny to be visible. There’s something to be said for “leaving something to the imagination,” but get some clothes that fit for goodness sake.

You get the idea.

Lines, however maddening they might be, exist for a reason, namely, order and organization.  Which is why I stand in line and don’t cut like a bossy kindergartner. But some people- you know who you are- think they’re in a bigger hurry than the rest of us. To which I say: if you’re in that big of a damn hurry, leave earlier, skip the coffee or valet the car. If I made it, you can make it too, and unless you’ve got a legitimate reason necessitating the cutting in line (a venti, half-caf, sugar free, vanilla soy latte before your morning deposition does not cut it), then please do everyone a favor and stop acting like a big self-important jerk. If the afore mentioned pretentious beverage is that important, it seems only logical that you would set your alarm a little earlier…

And while we’re on the subject of lines, 32 little items do not equal 10 regular-sized items in the express line at the grocery store.

Parking lots are a dangerous place in general, which leads me to believe that they’re sort of “common sense dead zones.” I get it, not everyone is an excellent parker, but the white lines are there for a reason: The goal is to fit your car in between the two lines. If, when you get out of the car, you notice that your vehicle is 2/3 in the parking space to the right, and hanging over the space in front of you, just know that in your failure to use the most magical of human organs has resulted in you monopolizing three parking spaces instead of the one you’re allotted. Congratulations. Use your noggin or have your mom drive you to the grocery next time.

If you feel that you know someone who is common sense challenged, please forward this to them.


About Rachel



2 thoughts on “Common sense, in memoriam

  1. If people had common sense, then our legal system would go out of business. Another great post!

    Posted by SimpleP | July 31, 2011, 11:11 am

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