May 27, 2024

Column: That Got Me to Thinkin’…? “Don’t be a Putz”


Bruce Williams

“That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” “Don’t be a Putz” Chapter 107
By Bruce Williams





Oxford English Dictionary 






a stupid or worthless person.

“I’m not some two-bit putz who doesn’t know the difference between Ouzo and Dom Perignon”



engage in inconsequential or unproductive activity.

“too much putzing around up there would ruin them”

On the way home from work last night, not once but twice I had a car inexplicably pull in front of me in the fast lane while going 10-20 miles under the speed limit.  In neither case were they avoiding a slower car in front of them while in the right lane.  In fact, in both instances there was nobody in front of them at all, they just decided to float on over, perhaps because they simply preferred the other lane, forcing me to pass them on the right.  Putzes.

Then there’s the guy—usually older, probably retired—leaning at the coffee counter long after he’s received his beverage, shooting the breeze with the busy, haggard staff who usually know him by name…enough at least to ask his pardon when they need to conduct business around his ever-present personage.  Just because Mabel kicked you out of the house for the day due to your farts and halitosis, don’t hold the poor baristas hostage.  Oh, and that waitress who visits your table isn’t flirting with you either nor does she appreciate your unbecoming advances—she works for tips, you putz.

I know I spend a lot of time on Costco etiquette, but I only get two days off each week and usually one of those days requires a trip to the wholesaler to supply our considerable household.  Always be wary of where your cart is parked—especially at the aisle caps where they’re giving away the free samples…these are high-traffic areas.  Don’t diagonally block all directions while you rub your belly in anticipation of that rare and exotic Totino’s pizza roll you’re about to snuffle up like you’re in some fancy French restaurant.  Putz!

Parking lots expose many putzes.  Where there is two-way traffic, you should move fully over.  Don’t crowd  the center like all others should just stand down as you take your God-given right-of-way.  Then there’s the person that makes you pine behind them as they wait for a space with their blinker on while the departing family loads their bags and stroller into their SUV,  even though there are numerous spaces shortly deeper into the lot.  Or the numbnut that needlessly parks so close to your driver side door that you have to enter through the passenger side and climb over the console.  Worst—the PT Cruiser that parks across four spaces so he doesn’t get his precious chassis dinged.

Other putzish behavior: asking obvious questions—

“Where’s your elevator?” 

“To the right of those glass doors.”

(pauses a beat)

“Does it go down…?”

—or being unaware of your body in space…walking four across as a group on the sidewalk, for instance.  Or maybe just lolling two wide with large hovering rumps and duffle-bag sized purses.  People that leave inadequate tips are putzes—worse yet if they try to justify it with anything other than their own cheapness.  People that list their college as “The School of Hard Knocks” are definitely putzes.  Same goes for the, “Working hard or hardly working?”-set.  No.  Just no.

So be wary of those big smiles paired with vacant eyes while you’re out there navigating the world.  Sure, there’s plenty of Debbie Downers and Contrarians to avoid as well, but the Putzicus Americanis will rear its dizzy head when you least expect it, costing you valuable time and patience—two of Life’s most sacred commodities.  It’s like committing the sin of unawareness, which is awful in itself, really.  We’re put here to be conscious, to be present, to live in the moment, to educate and fortify our awareness.  Stop monkey-wrenching my Zen, you…