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The trouble with self-importance

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By John Pawlak

You’re driving up the Front Road and right behind you is a very important person ... a VIP. Right behind you.

You know the type.  There are five cars in front of you and you can’t go any faster, but the VIP just has to pass you since, well, he’s very important.  And so, he tailgates you and once he’s given a three-second window to pass, off he goes, rushing to his very important meeting with other very important people, or “I.”

Now, if he could only pass those other five not-as-important people ...

And then there’s the guy who empties his ashtray on the supermarket parking lot. He’s far too important to drive around with a full ashtray and it’s very important that he empty it before he gets back to his very important home.  

When they clean up after him, I can only assume that they put his very important garbage in a separate area for us normal people to admire from a distance.

Oh yes, and let’s not forget the guy in the restaurant who is talking on his cell phone and wants people in the next ZIP-code to hear his conversation.  It’s very important that he yell out every syllable to whomever he’s talking to so that his very important conversation isn’t missed by anybody.

Can you hear me now?  Yeah buddy, I can hear you, and so can the people three blocks away!

VIPs.  They sometimes seem to be ubiquitous.  You know, like everyone’s favorite, the guy who likes heavy bass rap music and who thinks that everyone within 2,000-feet loves it also. That’s why he plays it at 130 decibels.  

Or the person who takes up two parking spaces because his car is more important than yours.  Go on, admit it, you’d like to let the very important air out of his very important tires, wouldn’t you?

Got some other VIPs in your neighborhood?  How about that guy who parks his car in his driveway but has the car blocking the sidewalk?  Some very “I” people even have very “I” pets. Their pet leaves a VIP (very important package) on the sidewalk and the VIP (person) leaves it there for us normal people to admire.

Even in stores, we are charmed with VIPs. One of my favorite is when two VIPs meet each other in the aisle and decide to stop to talk about, well, I don’t know ... I suppose very important things?  And of course, as they block the aisle, we not-quite-important people have to wait.  

But wait a minute, there are lots of adjectives in the dictionary that begin with the letter “I.” Maybe we’ve got it all wrong.  Maybe these people are in fact VIPs, but they’re not really “I”mportant. Some of them might just be very Insensitive. Or very Inattentive. Or just very Irritable.

How about that guy tailgating you?  He might not be all that important. Maybe he’s just very Impatient. Of course, driving up the side of a mesa is dangerous enough without having someone trying to play tag with your rear bumper. I think we’re really talking about someone who’s just very Idiotic.

A friend was walking his dog, crossing at a street corner, and a VIP driver decides to turn right and didn’t want to stop for someone less “I” than himself.  And so, with my friend nearly halfway through the crosswalk, the I-driver makes a wide turn, cutting right in front of my friend, and proceeds to I-drive down the road.  No, “important” most definitely doesn’t fit this guy either. Perhaps immature. Possibly Imbecilic. More likely Inebriated.

Yes, the I’s have it and it seems to be almost contagious at times.  They come out in force and “we” have to deal with the “I’s” every day.

After a wonderful meal, we walk outside into a cloud of cigarette smoke.  Several VIPs are standing right by the door smoking, blithely ignoring the sign that said “No smoking within 50-feet of door.”

Clearly, our lungs just aren’t important to them.  Very I-people indeed. But why limit ourselves to I’s?  There are plenty of adjectives that begin with other vowels which are equally, if not more, accurately descriptive. These smokers, dare I say, VAPs?

It never ends, does it?  In the supermarket parking lot, a woman is driving down the wrong way in the aisle and sure enough, she stops.  She stops and sits there waiting for, well, I really can’t say.  But I’m sure it was something very whatever.

Very pretty much everything. Very annoying, Very exasperating, Very obnoxious, Very unbearable.  Let’s face it, the world is full of Very (insert appropriate adjective here to express your frustration) People.  

Yes, people can be very ... well, very very.