It Ain’t That Common

Boyleing Points
Typography

I spun around thinking someone was calling me. But, nope. It was just one of those people who have earphones in and shouting into a phone mic at their chest. They were all the way across the street. You know how it is, they’ve got to make sure the whole zip code is in on the conversation — because it’s so important. Everybody wants to know about somebody’s haircut or wants to know what happened on Bridezilla last night. Good thing they’re screaming it.

The volume is like the old walkie-talkies or worse, the two soup cans tied together by string. You’d go hoarse yelling, "Can you hear me?  Can you hear me?!  Come in, come in.”  More times than not, your brother or friend would tap you on the shoulder, “I’m right here.”  

People who use these earphone/headsets also seem to be doing all the talking. They’re completely oblivious to the surroundings and just yammer on. They could be in Stop & Shop, on a nature trail, delivering the mail or behind a counter in a convenience store.

What the hell is it with some people? It’s only recently occurred to me that the biggest misnomer in the English language is common sense. The reason they call it common sense is because it’s supposed be common—but it ain’t.

We all do dumb things once in a while but a lot of the times they’re at our own expense.  I was fidgeting with a watch on my wrist all day. I decided to take it off as I was getting into my car. I put the watch on the roof of the car, forgot it, and drove off. Dumb. I loved that watch.

Now, I really don’t want to be a behavior cop. I’m just dumb enough to think people get it. You have a dog? You pick up after it. You don’t roll down your car window and dump trash on the road. You don’t take up two spots in a parking lot because your car is precious. 

Of course, most of us with common sense feel the urge to tell the knuckleheads out there about the rules of the road. We’d like to think we can impart some common sense on the uncommonly obtuse. But the irony or paradox — I forget which is which — is if we do so we are not exercising common sense. Okay, follow the bouncing ball: Telling someone with no common sense to use common sense is not very sensible.

If you’ve got to tell people these basic rules you’re pretty much wasting your time. You are directing your common sense at someone who can’t or won’t get it. 

You might have a lapse in common sense if you forget your child in aisle 5 (guilty). You might not look so sharp when pouring a beer from a pitcher into a mug only realizing too late you’re holding the mug upside down (guilty). You might have stubbed a second toe while jumping around after stubbing your first toe (not guilty but I know a guy….).

Those things happen. 

But rude, self-absorbed crap drives me nuts. As I was stewing about some jerk, someone told me I was being too harsh. That poor guy, he doesn’t have common sense, he has a-hole sense.

Ah, finally, an explanation.

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