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Sunday
Jan232011

Act Like a Weirdo, You're Going to Lose Your Seat

“I'm taking this, OK?"

Yeah, that’s fine, I said.

The guy tried to remove the stool next to me from the crowded bar. It was lunch, and he sought to sit with his friends who were gathered on the other side of my buddy and I. We could have moved down, and went to offer to do so, but he gave up his attempt to obtain the seat.

Upon returning to his friends, they queried him on what happened. He erupted in a fit of frustration. He went back over to the stool, tried quickly again and then quit. The front legs were caught behind a foot rail he could not perceive. I tried to point this out, but he wouldn’t have it.

He tried once more, failed, and before a fourth attempt could be made—while the peculiar young man returned to his friends to express despair—another fellow walked right up to the stool, sat down and ordered.

My friend and I looked at each other and completed a thought. I said: “Act like a weirdo…” He replied: “…you’re gonna lose your seat.”

The next day, I was parking in a small lot to go for a hike. One spot left. A car ahead of me snatched it up, but for some reason, they balked—drove in, backed out, parked again, pulled out, then fully pulled out and waited. I gave them ten seconds, drove up and took the spot. They were clearly pained. Sorry, there’s no room for indecisiveness when you’re headed into the wilderness.

In subsequent days I’ve seen this again and again. Whether it is a job, a chair, a parking spot, a relationship—whatever: Act like a weirdo, you’re going to lose your seat. It is behavior rooted in entitlement, believing you’re owed something and that you have a right to squander your seat at the table or take it for granted. It is the same as when someone says they deserve something. I deplore this expression. The only things people truly deserve are justice and a swift kick in the ass. Everything else must be earned.

And this is not a call for conformity. Eccentricity helps distinguish the diligent. This is a note to say that eager people await; I quote Ferris Bueller: “Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.”

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