Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today's Schadenfreude

One of the biggest low-grade irritations in people's lives are people who believe The Rules don't apply to them. Society works because people generally follow The Rules: we're generally nice to strangers, we follow traffic laws, we wait our turn in lines. But, a lot of the rules are enforced only socially. So if you're sociopathic enough, you can break them and come out ahead more often than not. Some kinds of sociopath get in the habit of believing that rules in general don't apply to them. But some rules are enforced by a higher standard than social norms -- they're enforced by physics. And if you habitually assume the rules don't apply to you, you may not stop to differentiate which rules are social and which are physics.

I mention this because I watched a guy in a conversion van pull into a parking garage today as I was biking in to work. The hanging bar that says "CLEARANCE: 6'6" " bumped over the top of his van, but this was apparently one of those rules that didn't apply to him. He also didn't believe the sign that said "SPEED LIMIT ON RAMP: 10 MPH" applied to him either. Combine these, and picture what happened when he hit the pinch point at the bottom of the ramp. I really wish I would've taken a picture....

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