Power corrupts. I’m not talking about the huge government specters, or steamin-mad-at-dirt dictators, I’m talking about you and me. For the most part, we all feel jerked around in our everyday lives. We work for people who are getting rich off our labor, ideas, dedication, etc. We get shit on by about half the people we come into contact with every day (I might catch more slack than the average jackass, but I assume that’s about right). We feel helpless against the landlords and utility companies who rule our paychecks. Life seems like a constant struggle to keep from being taken advantage of.
We feel that we have so little control over our live, we seize any stupid little chance to demonstrate that we have power over other people. Example. I just moved into a new place. The landlord told me my parking space was in a 2 car garage attached to the building. Being the inconsiderate jerk I am, I parked there. Next morning as I cheerily made my way to my car to go to work, I’m parked in by a little red BMW. There’s a note on my huge, dirty American car: “This parking spot belongs to Miss Dipshit. You can not park here under any circumstances. Next time you will be towed. Miss Dipshit, Apartment 2.” I went to Miss Dipshit’s house to explain the situation, and her roommate told me she was in Palm Springs for 4 days with her fiancee. Politely expressing concern about the fact that I was unable to transport myself to work, instead of compassion and understanding for an honest mistake, I was told: “Well that’s what you get for parking where you shouldn’t park. I’m surprised that car even runs.”
Do these sound like the words of the well-adjusted? How easy would it have been for her to park on the street, and leave a note saying, “Hey, this is my spot. Please don’t park here again. Thanks.” Instead, Miss Dipshit flexed her stupid little muscles, and felt the rush of power as her righteousness was upheld. She swam and golfed with her rich boyfriend while I met the people on the Pico bus (not that the bus is bad, it’s just expensive).
Traffic is the same way. Most people drive with their hands on their horns, just waiting to punish anyone who isn’t quite quick or decisive enough. Partly out of frustration, partly out of “I can do this because I am right.” It usually accomplishes nothing but making the honker feel in control.
It is our lack of power over our everyday lives that causes us to act out stupidly against each other when given a chance. I once worked for a manager at Pizza Hut that ran the store like a labor camp, not because it produced quality pizza in an efficient manner, but because he was a divorced loser with nothing else going for him but the fact he could verbally abuse people under the context of being a “tough boss” and get away with it. Everyone’s worked for someone like that. Now, I’m all for people who get into what they do, but fuck if my paycheck demands me putting up with some cocknoose who can’t get laid to save his life.
So, I’m not asking everyone hold hands and sing “We Are The World.” Just cool the fuck down. Powerflexing is something that feeds on itself. You get treated like shit, so you treat someone else like shit to soothe your own ego. Real power comes from not having to use it on each other. Take a deep breath, put your gun back in its holster, and save your anger for something worthwhile, like those fuckers who write parking tickets.