I just have to bitch for a minute, here. OK, FINE, more than a minute. But this is really getting out of control.
Why does every single person seem to think that they are exempt from the rules that everyone else has to follow, lately?
Well, maybe not lately. Probably this has always been happening. And listen, no one roots for the rulebreaker more than me. But not when you’re being a complete and total jackass about it and putting other people out. That’s not cool or risque or living-on-the-edge, that’s just being a total fuckknuckle.
Is this because of the “me” generation, or just a general shift in societal norms that everyone thinks they’re the most important thing EVER and no one else matters or WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.
Examples. Oh, DON’T YOU WORRY CHUMP. I totally have examples.
Example the first: The Weekend Warrior
I work at an answering service on Saturdays, as I’ve mentioned, because I’m poor and need the cash. We get a lot of calls from people, some more valid than others. But lately, there have been a lot of things like this:
Me: Thank you for calling Dr. Blah-Blah’s office, this is Amy, how can I help you?
Them: I’m out of birth control pills and need you to page the doctor to call me in an emergency prescription.
Me: I’m sorry, but the doctor doesn’t call in prescriptions on the weekends. May I ask who’s calling? I’ll take your information and have them get back to you as soon as they’re open Monday morning.
Them: No. I need them now.
Me: I’m sorry, but I can’t page out any prescription calls. The doctor doesn’t allow it.
Them: The doctor would want you to page out this call.
Me: I can’t.
Them: I know for MOST people you can’t. But he’d want you to. For me. He KNOWS me.
Me: I’m sorry. I can’t. I’d lose my job.
Them: No, you wouldn’t. I don’t know why you’re fighting me on this. HE KNOWS ME. He’ll be so mad you didn’t page this. You’ll probably lose your job because you didn’t. DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?
Me: No, I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.
Them: You bitch. I NEED THOSE PILLS. What don’t you understand, you stupid whore? I’M ALL OUT OF PILLS AND THE DOCTOR HAS TO CALL THEM IN NOW. It’s my legal right.
Me: I can take a message and ask the office to call you back Monday, but unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do to help you with that this weekend.
Them: I’m coming for you.
OK. First, let’s just think about this rationally. Birth control pills are in a see-through blister pack. You know when you’re running out. So you’d know if you were coming close to the end of them, and you could have called the office Friday.
Second, it says, right there in the literature, if you miss a day of your pills, start the next day, and if you miss two days, start the cycle of pills over again. Well, you’re starting from the top, so missing a day or two isn’t going to kill you. Unless you’re planning on having all the sex this weekend. In which case, I say to you, kudos! And, I’m pretty sure you can control those urges.
Third, I’m not arbitrarily making the rules. I’d LOVE to page the doctor with this call, if only because it will make you STOP YELLING AT ME AND CALLING ME NAMES. However, if I do? The DOCTOR will yell at me and call me names, and that’s so much worse, trust me, because the doctor, who actually in a roundabout way pays my salary, can get me FIRED. And I need to pay my student loan payment on a monthly basis so I can’t have that. I can’t page the call. I can’t. The doctor DOESN’T want your call. That’s why, in the file HE set up, it SAYS “don’t page any prescription calls on the weekends or after hours.” Sure, he knows you. As well as he knows the rest of his patients. He knows you well enough to know you’re going to call for stupid reasons on a Saturday when you could have easily taken care of these things during business hours and he’d like to spend a little of his weekend with his family or doing whatever it is that doctors do.
YOU ARE NOT A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE.
Example the second: Artistic License
My theater has a local Playwright’s Showcase every year, where we solicit unpublished, unproduced one-act plays from locals and choose the best among the submissions and produce it as a staged reading in July. The rules are simple: it must be a one-act, it must be by a local, it can’t be a musical, a children’s play, a monologue, or a screenplay, and the deadline is December 31.
Here are some example emails and submissions I’ve gotten.
A person from Nebraska sent four full-length plays. This is wrong on two counts. Also, how did you even hear about our tiny little showcase?
After I sent out an email asking for submissions and outlining the rules I have listed above, someone sent me a response asking when the deadline was and if it had to be a one-act.
Again, after I sent out the email, someone sent me a response saying they would be sending a children’s musical, because it was good enough that I would WANT to read it and produce it, because it’s for the children. Again, wrong on two counts, and also, presumptuous!
Not really against any rules except societal ones, but someone sent one last year that was really, really racist. Worryingly so, actually.
Last year, someone missed the deadline – not by a little, either, but by months. I explained I’d hold the play for next year but they didn’t want that. They wanted them to be in THIS YEAR’S SHOWCASE. We’d already chosen, and cast, the showcase for this year.
Again, not actually against any rules, but someone wrote to me asking “how do I write a play? What’s a play look like? Do I type a play? I’ve always wanted to write a play but have never seen a play. Maybe you could help me write the play?” Because I’m a cold-hearted bitch I encouraged them to check out their local library for examples of actual plays first. I didn’t address the collaboration they were proposing.
I used to submit poetry, and listen, you have to read the rules. If you don’t, you have to understand you’re wasting the time of yourself and the person you’re mailing your work to. They’re not bending the rules of submission for you.
NONE OF YOU ARE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES.
Example the third: Driving Me Crazy
There’s a huge traffic jam in the lane you need to be in. The lane to the left of the lane you need to be in is clear. It runs parallel to your lane, until the end, when it turns left and your lane turns right. You are on your way to work. So of course, you get out of the traffic jam, get into the left lane, race up parallel along the line of waiting cars, then budge on over to the second or third car in line and put on your blinker, right?
Because YOU shouldn’t have to wait your turn, like everyone else in line. Because YOU are special! And a Very Important Person! You have Places to Go! And Things to Do! You are In Your Car! Driving it! And you have no time for the nonsense that is MORNING TRAFFIC!
It is because of peckerwoods like you that we HAVE the stupid traffic jam in the FIRST place. It slows the rest of us down every single TIME we have to wait for someone to let a line-cutter like you in. Why do you think you’re special? Why do you think everyone else should have to wait, but you get to move to the front of the class?
The only excuse for this is that you’re currently bleeding to death or your wife/surrogate/mistress is having a baby.
YOU ARE NOT A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE AND ARE ALSO A MASSIVE DOUCHECANOE.
Let me just tell you something, people who think that rules don’t apply to them. There’s a time and a place to rebel. If that time and place puts other people out, makes other people’s job harder, or just flat-out makes you look petty, small and entitled? THIS IS NOT THE TIME OR PLACE. Sit down, shut up, wait your turn, and realize that it’s a big goddamn world out there, and every single person in it thinks they are the only person that matters in it. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
And – spoiler alert! – acting NICE and HUMBLE and PATIENT and QUELLING YOUR INNER SENSE OF SELF-IMPORTANCE once and a while actually gets RESULTS. People are more likely to help you out if they think you are a NICE PERSON.
You’re welcome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have fifteen emails to answer about things like whether or not “a monologue can really be considered a monologue if it’s one person talking, but sometimes? They use an accent?”