17 May 2008

Group Cruelty is the New Funny

Not long ago, I was riding the subway home late at night, and there was a guy next to me who was falling asleep. He wasn't just one of those guys whose head nods 'til he's in danger of pitching forward and snaps back. No.

This guy would slowly rock forward in his sleep, but his body would arrest that motion, not by jerking backward, but by gently rounding his forward momentum off to the side. In essence, the guy was describing great, wide arcs that brought him precariously close to the people on either side of him.

Which, for some reason, amused the guy sitting across from him no end.

And that guy went out of his way to make sure everyone around him knew he wasn't thinking, "Look at that, that's kinda funny." He was very pointed letting everyone know he was thinking, "That guy over there? Who maybe worked hard at a really long shift? The one who's so tired and so deeply asleep on the train that he's literally flailing about in his sleep?

"He deserves to be mocked."

And so he started including other people around the guy in his little joke, until most everyone was opening laughing at the hapless idiot who was so exhausted he couldn't wait to get home to sleep.

The thing I wonder is this: When did I become the self-righteous, obnoxious guy who, rather than joins in and sniggers at the fun, begrudges the mob their fun?

A.Pants calls me a curmudgeon. Often, I want to say to him, "You've totally got me all wrong," but this time, I think he may have called it.

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