What The Hell Happened to Courtesy

English: A KONE Ecodisc elevator in Glasgow af...

English: A KONE Ecodisc elevator in Glasgow after a fire alarm has been activated, causing the lift to enter Fireman’s Mode. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have written many times about the lack of elevator etiquette. There are the people who try to take a cigarette into the car, those that dump buckets of perfume/cologne over their heads and then enter the car and there are those that think that it is ok to hold the door while they finish their conversation with someone who has chosen not to get on the elevator. How is that for a run-on sentence.

But today I encountered a new jerk. Today I rode the elevator with a man who thought that it was ok to share his flatulence with me. It is one thing to share these in silence. I’ll do my best not to cough and turn blue while holding my breath.

It is quite another thing to just let one rip” as if you haven’t a care in the world and it is even worse when you don’t apologize or excuse yourself. That is what happened today.

The man didn’t yell “fore” or “Geronimo” or give any indication that he was about to soil his pants and I am fairly certain that this was “wet.” I apologize for the detail, but I am still horrified by this and as a father who has changed many a diaper I know the signs.

It was loud. It was wet and was most aromatic in a most unpleasant way. I wanted to run. I wanted to flee but there was no place to go. The doors were closed and we were between floors.

As I gasped for breath I thought about my family and a sob escaped my throat. There was something so unfair and so unjust about this. My children were going to have to be told that their father died trying to rescue children from a burning building not that he died as a result of asphyxiation caused by noxious fumes from a common “fart.”

The thought was so upsetting. In my mind’s eye I could see them being teased on the playground. I could hear the vice-principal suspending my son for fighting and saw his mother explaining that he didn’t need to fight every time some kid tormented him about it.

Suddenly the elevator doors opened and I flung myself into the hallway. Gasping for air I rolled on the floor and inhaled the stale but ever so sweet after effects of the cleaning crew. The scent of their passage lingered in the air and I reveled in the gift of life I had received.

In the interim stinky rolled on out of the office and waddled down the hall. I carefully followed him and watched him enter an office. Later today we will show him how we deal with terrorism in this part of town.

The boys and I are going out for burritos and chili. Together we will enter his office and then drag him to a utility closet where we will unleash our own WMDs, mercilessly. And as all good terrorists do I’ll videotape this so that I can create more terror by uploading the file onto the net.

Flatulent Fred, judgment day is coming for you.

(Originally run here)

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Living Within Your Means

I just finished reading an article about what the credit card bill is supposed to do and was disappointed a number of the comments. A number of posters made the obvious comments about the need for people to live within their means.

That is a no brainer that I haven’t any disagreement with. However it is not as black and white as many people would like to think of it as being. Quite a few people live in situations in which they are just a few steps away from falling into serious financial distresss.

This is not a polemic or an apology but the reality of life. A family may have two working parents who are able to pay all of the bills without having to finance anything. Said parents might have spent years building a savings up to help tide them over for that mythical rainy day.

But the thing is that it doesn’t take much for that apple cart to be toppled. What happens if one of them becomes disabled and is no longer able to work. What happens if sudden and unexpected healthcare costs become necessary.

These scenarios aren’t without precedent and they aren’t impossibilities. Things happen. And when they happen you can’t give the bank an IOU for the mortgage or tell your insurance company that you are good for the money. You can’t feed your children with promises.

So I find it sad and distasteful to read to these comments where the self righteous suggest that financial difficulties are due to irresponsible behavior. I recognize that no one wants to be forced to pay more because of the irresponsible or dishonest behavior of others, but at the same time that is life.

We pay more for many products and services because the businesses are trying to protect themselves. I don’t like it, but that is just how it is. And as I have said many times I believe in a society that looks out for each other. We have a social obligation to help each other.

The distinction here is that I don’t think we should be talking about hand outs, but a hand up. If we do what we can to provide support and resources for our community it is better for everyone.

What do you think?