By Dom Cioffi
I haven’t wanted to physically assault anyone in a long time, but over the past week I came close on several occasions. I’m not sure if it was the stress of the holiday season or the fact that some people just decided to abandon social graces, but I genuinely got pushed to the limit.
The first situation occurred while I was at a car dealership getting my truck serviced. I was sitting in the waiting area where a large screen TV was tuned to a middle-of-the-road news channel. There were magazines to read, but most of the people sitting around me were dialed in to their smartphones.
I had a little work to take care of so I whipped out my laptop and began typing away. A few minutes later I heard a cellphone ring.
Suddenly a guy a few seats away from me starts a conversation. What irked me wasn’t that he took the call, but rather that he didn’t subtly excuse himself from the area. Instead he yapped away as if none of us existed.
I stared at the guy in disbelief. I mean, if this person were to have had a conversation with the woman sitting next to him, the volume of his voice would have been half of what it was when talking on his cellphone. Of course, he rambled on about some impending business deal like he was giving a speech to a local Rotary club.
And before I knew it, another guy two seats away from the first guy gets a call on his cell and he also starts talking like no one else is in the room.
I looked around at the other people and no one seemed bothered. I, however, was infuriated. At what point did we, as a society, decide that the audible comfort of others was unimportant?
In my mind, I stood up, walked over to the first guy and leveled him with a right uppercut to the chin. I then looked over to the second guy and exclaimed, “Lower your voice or you’ll get the same!”
My second confrontation occurred while I was at a recent NFL football game. There I sat with my wife and son on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, having purchased tickets from an associate earlier in the week. The seats weren’t cheap, but I thought they were worth it given their close proximity to the field.
Everything was fine until six minutes into the first quarter when two guys showed up and sat in the seats directly in front of us. Within seconds I knew we were in trouble.
While one of the guys was fairly low-key, the other was an absolute social nightmare. Visibly inebriated, this imbecile felt the need to stand up and scream when everyone else was quietly seated.
In fact, sitting seemed to be a foreign exercise for this guy. More often than not, he was grapping the moveable seat of his plastic chair and slamming it against the backrest. He did this while screaming “De-fense! De-fense!” And every time he slammed the seat, my $12 beer slopped all over my feet.
I endured this nightmare until the third quarter, when I finally poked him while he was sitting on the back of his chair texting. “Any chance you can just sit in your chair so my son can see the game?” I asked kindly. He turned around and looked at me and then at my son before exclaiming, “Any chance you can try to have some fun, bro?”
That’s when I bum-rushed him into the cement isle and pummeled him with several repeated blows to his skull, leaving him bloodied and unconscious (again, this occurred in my head).
My third instance of immense irritation occurred yesterday while I was checking out at the grocery store.
There I was, minding my own business, casually waiting for my turn at the register when this old guy behind me begins muttering under his breath. I couldn’t make out what his direct complaint was, but I was pretty sure it had to do with the speed at which the girl at the register was processing customers.
After I finished checking out and was grabbing my bags, I heard the man bark, “Young lady, you’ll never amount to much if you don’t take your job seriously. Your work ethic is pathetic!”
That’s when I stopped, set my bags aside, walked up to the man and thrusted my fist into his stomach with enough force to make him reconsider his criticisms (and yes, that occurred in my imagination as well).
Again, I don’t know what got into me this week, but I do know that seeing “Creed,” the latest installment in the “Rocky” franchise, may have had something to do with it.
“Creed” brings the popular boxing series to a new generation when the illegitimate son of ex-champ Apollo Creed shows up to Rocky Balboa’s home hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps as a pro boxer.
I have to admit, this film was better than I expected, even if the storyline was almost a direct rip-off of the first “Rocky” movie. Any fan of the series will revel in this new chapter and fully enjoy revisiting Sylvester Stallone’s revered character.
Check this one out if you have a soft spot for boxing or this franchise. Otherwise, save your money for the next three weekends when a slew of highly anticipated films are released.
A punchy “B-” for “Creed.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him firstname.lastname@example.org.