I went to get gas yesterday after work. I was tired and had skipped my lunch, so I was in no mood to be bothered. I was waiting in line at the gas station when I noticed that some dick had left his Mercedes in front of both pumps at a particular island, ensuring he would be the only one pumping gas on that side. As this was a small station, that meant he was occupying 2 of the 8 pumps. Wait, it gets worse.
I probably had to wait about five minutes to get to a pump. I then had to get out and pump my gas. In all that time there was no sign of the driver of the Mercedes. There was no one in the vehicle, and worse yet there was no hose sticking out of the tank. About this time I noticed a guy in a suit and overcoat walking out of the Starbucks across the parking lot and headed toward the Mercedes. Sure enough, he puts his cup of coffee on the roof of the car and starts fumbling for his keys. At this point he notices me glaring at him. "What?!" he says. "Did you just park your fucking car at both pumps so you could go to Starbucks?" I ask. "Yeah," he says, "You got a fucking problem with that?" This presented me with several options:
1. Go the tough guy route, and walk over and fight him.
2. Stand where I was and publicly humiliate him, as by now people had noticed the shouting and the profanity.
3. Drive away and do nothing.
I chose number two. I'm like that.
I says to him I says, "Well, parking there was pretty bad, but acting like an asshole about it is making it a lot worse." This gets a chuckle from the other pumpers. Obviously a quick wit, he replies with, "Well, what are you gonna do about it, pal?" Me: "I'm going to point out what an asshole you are. I thought I was making that pretty clear." Louder laughs this time. But I can tell he is a bit flustered, because he says, "Where are your fucking balls? Come do something about it. I'm not going anywhere." Regrettably, I hit him back with, "I see that, and it's only exacerbating your whole asshole problem." This met with general silence and confusion among the pumpers. You'd think in my thirty years of being a smartass I would have learned that confrontations with the bully are no place to show off your vocabulary. It works in the movies, but extras seem to be a lot smarter than your average bystander.
But I felt as if I had achieved my goal. I got a few laughs and humiliated the guy. So I just got in the car and drove away. There was really no point in getting into a fist fight, and I probably would have lost anyway.
Situations like that are precisely the reason I don't own a gun. Because if I would have had one, I would have pulled it out. I don't necessarily know if I would have shot him, but I would have let him know that I was considering it. I would use it for the shock value, to explain in no uncertain terms that no, I'm sorry, but today is definitely not the day to fuck with me.
As I was driving home I was having a conversation with my friend Steve, explaining my need for something gun-like that would serve the same purpose. Something so immediately shocking and recognizable that whoever I was arguing with would just give up in fear. I've mentioned before that I used to think a fake badge would work in those situations, but surely there must be something better and scarier. That gave me an idea- a whip. Think about it. You get into an argument and they pull their coat up to reveal a whip on their hip, Indiana Jones-style. Who knows how to use a whip? Probably somebody who means fucking business, that's who. I was pretty proud of this, but without hesitation Steve offered up the answer:
I should carry around a jar of bees in the event that someone messes with me. It's brilliant in it's simplicity. Should an argument escalate into a potential conflict I could slowly remove the jar from my pocket and hold it up. "You don't want me to use THESE, do you?"
Admit it, you'd be scared.