The No-Asshole Rule

Great story, great policy, but I wonder does it work in practice.

One day, I waited behind an especially rude customer who was sitting at the counter. He made crude comments, tried to grab the waitress, complained about how his veal parmigiana tasted, and insulted customers who told him to pipe down.

This creep kept spewing his venom until a fellow customer approached him and asked (in a loud voice), “You are just an amazing person. I’ve been looking everywhere for a person like you. I love how you act. Can you give me your name?” He looked flustered for a moment, but then seemed flattered, offered thanks for the compliment, and provided his name.

Without missing a beat, his questioner wrote it down and said, “Thanks. I appreciate it. You see, I am writing a book on assholes … and you are absolutely perfect for Chapter 13.” The entire place roared, and the asshole looked humiliated, shut his trap, and soon slithered out — and the waitress beamed with delight.

(I’m an asshole from time to time, although I’d like to think I become an asshole only when I need to, because it’s the only language they understand.)

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