1. The “Here’s a Random Picture of My Kid” Douchebag
It used to be that during the holidays people would send you greeting cards. They were usually simple and included a nice message like, “Wishing YOU and YOURS a very Merry Christmas!” As the narcissistic nature of our society has increased (see my article Facebook is for Douchebags) many of my friends no longer send me Christmas cards. They, instead, send me pictures of their kids masquerading as Christmas cards. Who they hell came up with this narcissistic douchebag idea? More importantly why would you possibly send someone a picture of your kid without them asking? Allow me to explain. You think your kids are awesome and cool…no one else does. Ergo, whenever you’re in a group and show someone a picture of your kids and they smile and nod THEY ARE JUST BEING NICE. They don’t really care. The only person that does care, however, is the dude running the company telling you that you should spend money making greeting cards with pictures of your kids instead of Santa, Jesus, the Easter Bunny, whatever. Just don’t do it. It tells everyone you’re a douche. So what do you do when you’ve got a friend who sends you the narcissist greeting card? Send them a random picture of Howard Stern. No, seriously…I’ve tried this and it works well. I found a random picture of Howard Stern online, printed it out and mailed it to a friend who sent me a picture of her kids…on my birthday. Which incidentally made no sense to me at all. It said Happy Birthday with a picture of her kids in the background with nothing else written on it. So I sent her a Stern. A few days later I got an email asking why I sent her a picture of Howard Stern. I replied asking why she sent me a picture of her kids on my birthday. Surprisingly, I didn’t get a Christmas card from her last year…problem solved.
2. The “Oblivious Parent” Douchebag
So you’re in a restaurant and having a nice meal and suddenly a family walks in with a kid (or sometimes a small herd of children), and suddenly you spot it. The sure tell-tale sign that your meal is over; the infamous bag of stuff. Every oblivious parent goes out in public with the bag of stuff…it’s almost a trademark. The bag of stuff serves a singular purpose of attempting to keep the unruly child behaved until the meal is over. The bag contains all the kid’s favorites; coloring books, action figures, portable electronics. It’s all a futile effort in the end, though. 10 minutes into the meal, the kid gets bored and starts causing havoc. Throwing food, running around. And this doesn’t just occur in restaurants, it occurs on airplanes, in movie theaters, in grocery stores. Now the solution to this is rather devious and I’m ashamed to say not only have I not created it, but I’ve never been brave enough to use it. I’ve been there to witness it though and it’s awesome. About 10 years ago I dated a girl who trained birds (no it didn’t last long but that’s not the point) the point is she carried a small squirt gun with her. One night we go out for a nice meal at an upscale restaurant. Shortly after we arrive, in walks the family carrying the bag of stuff. About 10 minutes after they arrive the kid is running around the restaurant pestering every single person there. Mom and dad think it’s cute, but no one else does. Soon the kid starts playing tag and running into everyone’s legs. What do mom and dad do? Nothing…absolutely nothing. On the kid’s 12th pass to our table my girlfriend pulls out her water pistol and smiles and says to me, “Watch this.” As soon as the kid was in range “SQUIRT” right in the face. It was AWESOME. The kid had no comprehension of what the hell just happened. I think the best part is my girlfriend didn’t even make eye contact with the kid. The kid just froze. He didn’t know what to do. My girlfriend just looked up at me and smiled and said, “They’ll be outta here in 5 minutes…watch.” Sure enough the kid ran back to his parents and starts tugging on his moms arm, “Mom, mom…that lady just squirted me in the face.” Of course the mom is appalled and insists that her son stop lying, but the kid just keeps on pointing and protesting. Finally, the family gets a couple of to-go boxes and leaves with the mom apologizing to my girlfriend on the way out. It was beautiful!!!
3. The “My Kid is Awesome” Douchebag
So your at the park with your kids and another parent sits next to you and starts a friendly conversation. Suddenly out of nowhere the parent says, “Well we’re really happy because Jimmy’s teacher says he’s the smartest kid in the class. You know he just turned 5, but he’s reading at 6th grade level.” KABLAM!!! You’ve been sidelined by the most insidious of all douchebags, the “My Kid is Awesome” Douchebag. This kind of douchebag thinks that their kid is amazing and is the smartest kid in the room. And they’re bound and determined to convince you of it too. The problem is just like someone showing you pictures of their vacation, you don’t want to seem rude, or to offend. And the douchebag parent doesn’t seem to realize you’re just being nice by listening. So you just sit there. And you smile. And it goes on and on. Now when confronted by this situation most people panic, and make the wrong decision. They seem to think that this is a cue to start talking about their kids. This is a huge no-no because in turn the douchebag parent just ups the ante. I actually witnessed this in Epcot early last year. Two parents were bragging about their kids. One was 7, the other was 9. By the time the brag-fest ended, the 7 year old had a PhD in theoretical physics from MIT, the 9 year old was a decorated war vet who saved an Afghani baby from a burning building. Now there is an easy solution to this that doesn’t involve too much skill or innovation. The next time you find yourself in this situation…brag about your neighbors kid. I’m absolutely serious; I’ve used this method at least two dozen times and it has yet to fail me. The reason it works so well has to do with human anatomy and physiology; specifically the part of the brain known as the frontal douchebaggerate lobe. The FDL, as medical professionals call it, is the part of the brain that controls the speech centers based upon an individuals arrogance, vanity, and douchebaggery. The Kardashians , for example, are generally viewed as suffering from an enlarged FDL. Now the way you get out of this situation is to disrupt the input/output carrier signal of douchebag parent’s frontal douchebaggerate lobe. This is achieved once you brag about your neighbors kid. What was once a normal speech pattern for the douchebag parent becomes a series of “Ummms” and “Ahhhs” I once had a conversation go like this:
DBP: “So I was at a parent teacher conference and Timmy’s teacher said not only is he the smartest kid in class but he’s tutoring all the ‘muggles’ “
Me: “Wow that’s great! You know my neighbors daughter just turned 10 and she’s a concert pianist. We were over at their house just the other night and boy is she good!”
DBP: “Ummm…uhhh, yes so Timmy’s also going to be tutoring kids in the next grade level…”
Me: “That’s fascinating. We listened to her play Rachmaninov concerto #5. I’ll tell ya that kids going to Juliard some day!”
At that point the mom made up some bizarre excuse about having to tend to a sudden bowel movement and left. Problem solved!!!
4. The “Guy Sitting at Home in His Underwear is More Important Than You Are” Douchebag
So you’re at the autoparts store, or the hardware store, or the custom foods store…somewhere, and you’re in line patiently waiting to be served. You’ve gotten dressed, brushed your teeth, and shaved. You’ve done your part; or maybe you’ve left work after a hard day, or maybe your spending part of the weekend to work on a project. Regardless of the reason, there you are in line…waiting…wanting to spend money; wanting to buy something. You’d like to be helped, but you can’t. You’re the seventh person in line and the line isn’t moving because every single time the store’s phone rings, the dude behind the counter stops to answer the damn phone. If you’ve ever been in this situation, then you’ve fallen prey to the ‘Guy Sitting at Home in His Underwear is More Important Than You Are’ Douchebag. It’s not the fault of the guy in his underwear. It’s the fault of the idiot in the store who doesn’t realize that maybe he should stop playing on the phone and take care of the customers in front of him. Then again, maybe it’s not really his fault either. He’s only on the phone because his manager has told him that whenever the phone rings he has to answer it because the next customer is on the phone. The only problem with this is that the manager never realized to explain that even though your next customer may be on the phone, you’re current customer is in front of you, and is likely in front of you because he or she wishes to spend money in your establishment. Now there is an easy way out of this and I’ve used it a number of times. It’s gutsy, it’s brash, and it’s not for the faint of heart. The next time you find yourself in this situation…call the store. When the guy behind the counter answers, first make sure you can spot the person talking to you, then tell him what you’re looking for and make sure it’s in stock and find out how much. Lastly, take out your credit card and tell the guy, “I’ll take it!” I once had a conversation go like this:
Clerk: “Yes, we have that air filter in stock. It’s going for $13.97 right now.”
Me: “Great!! I’ll take it. Let me give you my credit card number.”
Clerk: “Oh I’m sorry sir, we can’t take a credit card over the phone…you’ll have to come in.”
Me: “Okay, hang on.”
At this point I jump out of the line and approach the counter, and hand over my credit card. Now at this last part there is a bit of psychology involved. You can only make eye contact with the clerk behind the counter for a moment. You have to seem excessively busy. So as you approach the counter keep your phone out, make eye contact and smile, and then call a friend. Or act like you’re calling a friend. The clerk will become confused at this point. If you’ve done it correctly the clerk will smile/chuckle, grab the item and ring you up. Try it…you’ll see. Just make sure you don’t make eye contact with anyone else who was in line on your way out.