September 5, 2015

"I was in a deli, and a man may have cut in front of me in line. When asked if he had, I said: 'I don’t argue over such things. He can go ahead.'"

"The man replied: 'You don’t argue over such things? That’s why you’re fat.' I said, 'You’ll end up in a courtroom.' He replied: 'Good! I’m a lawyer.' I said, 'Well, I am a judge.' The conversation devolved until he accused me of racism. Apparently, he was Hispanic; I hadn’t noticed. But when did it become O.K. to pick on someone’s physical imperfections but not sexual orientation or race?"

A question actually asked of the NYT etiquette columnist, who said:
Are you honestly suggesting that the takeaway from your idiotic spat is that racism trumps fat-shaming? From my perch, both of you acted like lunatics who need to work on impulse control.
The columnist assumes the letter-writer is not a judge. That never occurred to me, but I do think a judge shouldn't be using "I am a judge" to get the upper hand in a conversation with a stranger. I wish I had the confidence in judges that would cause me to read the statement "I am a judge" to mean the person is not a judge. 

28 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

but I do think a judge shouldn't be using "I am a judge" to get the upper hand in a conversation with a stranger.

New Yorkers, being New Yorkers...

David Hampton said...

Makes one wonder if the person claiming to be a lawyer actually is one. In any case, I have no problem with judging someone's conduct if it violates my rights, even if I am white (I am a white male) and the other person is not. Wouldn't be the first time I told someone the line starts back there. If that person persists I don't push it but announce to the rest of the line behind me that apparently the line violator believes his time is more valuable than ours and he should be allowed to stay. Sarcasm or pragmatism it isn't worth further pursuit and I would have departed the establishment. Martin Luther King taught me that.

traditionalguy said...

Judge mentalist is all,the social media do for entertainment. That is so bad. It is worse than bad, it's turble

Bobber Fleck said...

"But when did it become O.K. to pick on someone’s physical imperfections but not sexual orientation or race?"

That's a silly question when uttered by a straight white person...

Doug said...

Bullshit meter just redlined. Made up story to provoke a "conversation". Real people don't talk like that.

Wilbur said...

If someone has reason to be in that much of a hurry, just ask. Most people will accede to a reasonable, courteous request.

Wilbur is not in a hurry.

EDH said...

From my perch, both of you acted like lunatics who need to work on impulse control. For the record, none of it was O.K...
But the next time someone asks, “Who’s next?” just tell him. And if you don’t know, try: “I don’t know. Please go ahead.”


But the person in line was asked by the deli clerk whether the man cut the line, not "who's next?"

I was in a deli, and a man may have cut in front of me in line. When asked if he had, I said: “I don’t argue over such things. He can go ahead.”

How "rude" is it as an advice columnist to ignore the letters you are sent before you pontificate?

geokstr said...

A classic case of micro-aggressive looksism if I ever saw one.

In these modern PC times, you can't call anyone short, fat and ugly anymore - you have to say they're vertically impaired, gravitationally challenged, and aesthetically unabled.

Bobber Fleck said...

geokstr said: "In these modern PC times, you can't call anyone short, fat and ugly anymore - you have to say they're vertically impaired, gravitationally challenged, and aesthetically unabled.

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet"

Or be as short, fat and ugly.

Bay Area Guy said...

Beta-male at the Deli - should be the new headline. Impeach that slacker now.

Michael K said...

Why I stay away from New York.

CWJ said...

I'm a hardliner when it comes to cutting in line. Mostly, it's because I'm aware that when you cut in line in front of me you're cutting in front of everyone behind me as well.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

A lot of animals make themselves appear larger when they feel threatened.

Mary Beth said...

They're lucky there wasn't a senator there, who wouldn't have said, "I'm a senator" but asked, "Do you know who I am?"

On second thought, maybe he was there - probably the guy who cut the line.

bbkingfish said...

I think the whole story probably was a dream.

sane_voter said...

I had something similar happen to me in a small restaurant. We had just sat down for a couple of minutes between a couple at one table and a trio at another. We were the only folks in the place besides the staff. Its very quiet. The man of the couple starts talking very loudly and obnoxiously, and it sounds like a bunch of random phrases and numbers. After about 30 seconds we ask him to please tone it down. After some back and forth the woman says we are harrassing them because they are hispanic! Didn't even realize they were hispanic, and of course it had everything to do with their boorish behavior. He apparently had a problem with someone at the other table who had spoken on his cell phone in the restaurant. But he took a small offense and created a massive scene. He also wanted their meal comped. Jerks, who happened to be hispanic.

Bricap said...

Music is an invasion of privacy! He's breaking the law! I'll slap an injunction on him so fast it'll make his head spin!

harrogate said...

Hear, hear to the columnist's closing points: "I don’t want you shot or slashed or punched for mouthing off to a crazy stranger over paying for your tuna sandwich. It may sound as if I am blaming you; I am not. This man was an odd piece of work. But if a stranger starts coming unglued before your eyes, defuse. Let him go first; if necessary, withdraw. And never impersonate a judge to someone impersonating a lawyer. (No one likes a show-off.)"

Phil 3:14 said...

Judge not, lest you be a judge.

john said...

Even so, Ralphie and Randy still got to see Santa Claus.

RigelDog said...

You guys are reading this very differently than I did. It's terribly written---probably shortened by the columninst---but here's what I think the situation was: Woman is standing in line at deli. Several other people are also standing in line and maybe milling about in the immediate vicinity. At some point she realizes that a person (male) is now apparently in front of her in the line who may or may not have sort of drifted into place out of turn. Another man (not a deli employee) who is also in line asks her if that man in front of her has cut in. She attempts to convey (what the columnist chastens her for supposedly NOT conveying) that these things aren't worth having a fight over, and so she isn't going to contest the fellow's place in line ahead of her. I have to assume that the man who asked about the cut-in was a person who was behind her in line---otherwise, why would he care at all? Even if she DID sound haughty for saying that she doesn't argue over such things as line-cutting, the man who asked her the question then comes back with a really vicious social cut. Very inappropriate and weird. More than anything, that odd escalation made me wonder if the entire query was made-up.
If it was a true scenario, I too thought the woman really is a judge.

Clyde said...

This sounds like something from a Seinfeld episode.

JamesB.BKK said...

Just wait til the Chinese show up (red Chinese, not generally diaspora). To many of them, a line is nothing more than something to go past. If you permit such disorder, pretty soon you're a schmuck.

Not a racial thing; just what you get with a country full of only children and no property rights apparently.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Don't you know who I'm not?!

tim maguire said...

The question doesn't fully make sense, and the reply doesn't either. The reply seems to assume the argument is with the line-cutter ("the possible line-cutter “started it,” as any self-respecting second grader would argue." And "let him go first") when the question describes the line-cutter in the third person as though the argument is with someone else. Then there's the weird escalation--the hostility comes out of nowhere and I can't figure out how tolerance of line-cutting leads to fatness anyway. Why was her response to the fat remark the equally nonsensical "you'll wind up in court" instead of "what are you talking about?"

The whole thing's a mess.

tim maguire said...

P.S. She's obviously not a judge, the formal question about competing grievance industries is proof enough of that, though he is also probably not a lawyer.

mikee said...

Heinlein, in one of his his Lazarus Long books, has a character explain a late arrival by the necessity of having an impromptu trial for a line breaker at the bus stop, along with everyone else there in line. The verdict of hanging was carried out on the spot.

Somehow I suspect the time and place Heinlein lived had a problem with line breakers, too.

hombre said...

I AM a judge! Robe-itis.