MR WRONG: Feets of rudeness


MR WRONG: Feets of rudeness
Photo via Wikipedia

MR WRONG: Avast! Runners Could Use Some Nautical Manners.

I’M TRYING TO lose a few pounds, you know, for health, and mostly for my lower back, which is treacherous and mutinous and selfish and never happy to help me carry around 10 or 15 extra lbs, or 20, maybe. OK, 25, probably. 30, tops, unless it’s 35.

To that end, I’m out there, out-of-doors, walking around, getting steps on my steps-thing on my phone—when I bring my phone, because hey, that’s more weight to carry—and it’s great, I even run on a part of one of my regular routes. OK, it’s the downhill part, but it’s not walking, it’s extra, I’m changing it up, running helps you by doing the thing where you jiggle your fascia, I think it’s called, and that’s not a euphemism, hiyo.

Anyway, like I said, I’m outdoors. walking around, not in a gym, where you gotta deal with other people, ugh, seriously, I live in a quiet neighborhood, so when I see somebody on my side of the street, I have the luxury of being able to cross over or at least just get off the sidewalk and onto the street for a minute so I don’t have to deal with interacting with any approaching humans.

So I’m out there the other day, and somebody is right up on me, on the sidewalk, on my right shoulder, touching me as they run by, and at the same time they say “RIGHT NEXT TO YOU,” which, no shit, you are merging onto my corporeal form!

It’s a person in running clothes, running away from me, wearing those super-light running shorts that are cut high for full range of leg movement, and also a running top, the stereotypical sleeveless thing that’s ready for one of those pinned-on running numbers for a 5K or whatever.

Seriously, you are out running all over in your I Am A Serious Runner getup and you can’t take one extra goddamn step to get farther away from somebody with your hot runner-breath? Even if there wasn’t COVID, why you gotta be all up in my grille for fuck’s sake? You’re making me breathe your stranger’s steaming runner-breath, jeez! Just because you are a runner running behind me and you are overtaking me because you are running faster than I am walking, you don’t get to just go like I AM ME IT’S ME IT’S ALLL ABOUT MEEEEE running!

Look, I went out on a boat the other day, a sailboat, to be precise, I learned about the jib and port and starboard and buoys and how there’s a green one and a red one, and I got to steer the boat! You look out for the buoys so you don’t crash into stuff under-beneath the water’s surface, things you can’t see.

“Red right return” is the mnemonic device somehow. I still don’t completely understand it, but you keep the red buoy on your right when you are sailing your boat back to the port, because on your way out the green buoy is on your right. I didn’t steer the boat for very long, but I didn’t crash into anything, I swear. I also learned about right of way, because there was a boat behind us as I was steering, headed back, and the boat behind us was making me nervous, and people who know way more than I do about being on a boat told me that other craft was obligated to adjust its course to get around our boat, which was in front of them. They were responsible for avoiding us, it’s like, the Law of the Sea or something, like finder’s-keeping a chestful of gold doubloons in a sunken galleon off the Spanish Main, which is a type of boat or ship from ye olden days and I don’t know what the Spanish part is, I just heard that someplace! Anyway!

A Spanish galleon (left) firing its cannons at a Dutch warship (right). Cornelis Verbeeck, c. 1618–1620. Image: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., online collection, Public Domain via Wikipedia.

I don’t know about boats too much, but I walk on the goddamn sidewalk every fucking day, and I am telling you that announcing your location does not give you the right of way! It does not give you leave to push up on my minding-its-own-business body with your sweaty self! I’m not participating in the goddamn Boston Marathon or whatever! If I’m walking along at three miles an hour on the sidewalk in the same direction as you and I’M IN FRONT OF YOU, then I have the right of way! Just because you are running, which, apparently, according to you, is superior to walking and bestows upon you, the runner, all sortsa extra benefits, one of them is not to invade my personal space with your activity!

Save the goddamn breath that you used to announce your position and use it to be taking a step away from and around me!

I watched that teevee show The Bear, and all these chefs are crammed into a kitchen and they are constantly saying stuff like “behind you chef” and “on your left chef,” and stuff, and the expectation is that they are all on the same team, all sliding around in their food-prep area in a syncopated harmony, and they are inadvertently touching each other slightly and they all know what’s going on, and they are all just trying not to smash into each other, as opposed to being out on a fuckin’ sidewalk trying to get some health and somebody decides to get into physical contact because they are running past you! I did not sign up for that! We’re outside! Circumnavigate! Go the extra steps around me, and hey, you will be getting more running in!

Thank you, and I hope this does not discourage anyone from getting good healthy exercise.

The MR. WRONG COLUMN is a general-interest column appearing weekly wherever it can appear. No refunds. Write Wrong:


New York City, September 20, 2023

★★★★★ The breeze was everything a breeze could be, stirring up puffs of warmth as it came and trailing coolness behind it. On the way to deliver the older boy his swim bag, the wide sidewalks were filled edge to edge with light, and layered with more light from the adjacent plate glass. A yellow Corvette swung around the corner, windows down. Now the younger boy needed his inhaler for basketball tryouts and the nurse's office was closed, one more errand to wedge into the afternoon, but a taxi was coming up the avenue right in time. Two young people in t-shirts practiced a slow-motion dance routine in the traffic circle by the corner of the Park, legs swinging high under the gaze of the Frederick Douglass statue. A man in a sunflower-colored windbreaker pedaled a Citi Bike down St. Nicholas Avenue, passing through an intersecting strip of late light from the cross street. Down on the subway mezzanine, a man was playing saxophone along with a recording of Curtis Mayfield's "Think."


Indignity Morning Podcast No. 150: Around the Anglosphere.

Tom Scocca • Sep 21, 2023

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WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of select sandwiches from Recipes: Dainties, Salads and Clever Hints, author unknown, published by the Lorain Printing Co. in 1919. This book is in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

CELERY SANDWICH— One cup chopped celery, 1 cup minced chicken, 1/4, cup sweet cream, season highly with salt and pepper. Brown bread.

NASTURTIUM SANDWICHES— Mince finely, buds, fresh new stems and leaves, with some fresh green seeds of Nasturtium, mix with mayonnaise, lay a flower on the filling with fresh small leaves, press on cover of thin white bread.

CHICKEN SANDWICHES— Chop 1 cup cold chicken, 1 cup almonds (blanched), 1 green pepper, blend with sweet cream, season highly. Wheat bread.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, kindly send a picture to us at


19 FOLKTALES collects a series of timeless tales of canny animals, foolish people, monsters, magic, ambition, adventure, glory, failure, inexorable death, and ripe fruits and vegetables. Written by Tom Scocca and richly illustrated by Jim Cooke, these fables stand at the crossroads of wisdom and absurdity.

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm Daily. The special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Your $20 plus shipping and tax helps fund The Brick House collective, a Publishing Concern featuring a globally diverse set of publishers doing their own thing, with interesting items and publications available for purchase at SHOPULA.

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