Stop the pile-on nazis October 28, 2009 10:48 AM   Subscribe

The answers to this question have just been a horrible pile-on and it needs to stop. Seriously, 50+ answers saying essentially the same thing? Can we use some restraint here?
posted by desjardins to Etiquette/Policy at 10:48 AM (140 comments total)

Sometimes you come to the internet to get support. Sometimes it doesn't work.
posted by smackfu at 10:50 AM on October 28, 2009 [14 favorites]


If anyone deserved to get piled on, it is her. Wow. She was really obnoxious.
posted by jayder at 10:50 AM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


We've been keeping an eye on that thread today. It's a little hard to tell what's a pile-on and what's a bunch of people violently agreeing with each other. If people start calling the OP names, we'll put a stop to it. Lots of people telling her she's wrong, not so much.

Put another way: the question's title equates cops with nazis. It would have been nice if there was some care paid to how this question was asked. Not that this means that the OP in any way deserves people telling her off, but that sometimes when your question is "this totally annoying thing happened to me and I'M STILL TOTALLY ANNOYED. Was I right or wrong?" people can respond to tone and not to content. Unfair, but there it is.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:51 AM on October 28, 2009


I refuse to agitate to stop the pile-on. On principle.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 10:51 AM on October 28, 2009


And here's another pile-on.
posted by desjardins at 10:52 AM on October 28, 2009


Well, it says "pen nazi" which is more of a dated Seinfeld reference than a Third Reich one.
posted by smackfu at 10:54 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


a bunch of people violently agreeing with each other

Doesn't that kinda violate the tone of AskMe?
posted by desjardins at 10:54 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only if you know it's a Seinfeld reference. And even so, it's still a bit contentious.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:56 AM on October 28, 2009


Can we use some restraint here? Yes!
Will we use some restraint here? No!
posted by adipocere at 10:56 AM on October 28, 2009 [12 favorites]


The question could have been worded to remove any of the silly details a la "What is the best way to report a police officer for behavior I thought was rude during a traffic stop". The question as written reads a bit like asking for sympathy in an unsympathetic situation, MeFi doesn't do that so well.

The OP has invested an awful lot into that one traffic stop, Pyrrhic victory indeed.
posted by edgeways at 10:58 AM on October 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Doesn't that kinda violate the tone of AskMe? Not really, AskMe is for asking questions and getting answers. People have to be constructive, non-abusive and helpful.

It gets a little murky when the OP is in the wrong according to most people in AskMe, but in both of those threads (with a few exceptions) people were being at least mostly helpful. As much as it might make these questions go better, there's no real way to say "Please only answer if you agree with me." Maybe I'm just tired and not seeing the gleeful mockery, but my basic feeling is if you ask your questions with a lot of GRAR you get a lot back [either in agreement or in disagreement].

The ticket question was basically "Was I wrong? My husband says I was wrong." and people are saying "Your husband was right." Mister speed trap was asserting that he has to use the brakes on his car to go 20MPH and people are saying that's not true. People often respond to negative confrontations with authority by going on the offensive. In both these situations I think people are saying that the approach these people are taking (reporting the cop for bad behavior, changing the speed limit rules) seems like it will be less than fruitful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:02 AM on October 28, 2009


I hope the poster's pen gives like multiple orgasms or something if she's spending $103 to use it.
posted by xmutex at 11:03 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


This question is no different than the kid asking which knife to carry around guatemala---it's a flawed premise, and like I've said 100 times or so (ok like 6),

IT'S NOT OUR JOB TO BE YOUR HUCKLEBERRY.

That said, if we can't contribute, we should keep our mouths shut, but I don't see anything inherently wrong with telling her the last train to pickletown left with her not on it.

I suppose I could have not just dropped the F bomb on her, but sometimes people need a goddam reality check.
posted by TomMelee at 11:03 AM on October 28, 2009


it needs to stop.

Metafilter users telling other Metafilter users that people giving answers they don't like "needs to stop" needs to stop.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:04 AM on October 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


Sounds like the asker is still trying to figure out how to be a special snowflake in the middle of summer.
posted by iamabot at 11:05 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


IT'S NOT OUR JOB TO BE YOUR HUCKLEBERRY.

What's being someone's huckleberry?
posted by xmutex at 11:06 AM on October 28, 2009


Huckleberry.
posted by TomMelee at 11:08 AM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't believe that, when the cop says he's going to let her off with a warning, she starts arguing about a pen. And then she wants to report the cop.

I guess there are reasons why they issue parking tickets.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:08 AM on October 28, 2009


xmutex, you're no daisy; you're no daisy t'all!
posted by adipocere at 11:09 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awesome! Now we have two threads we can use for the pile on!
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on October 28, 2009


I've said before here that I think that the freedom to answer a question as you like contributes to making ask.metafilter pretty great. I think it's good that a question like "where should my axe-murderer boyfriend and I go on vacation?" is met with an immediate and unequivocal DTMFA. Yes, most questions aren't that obvious; but the simple asking of a question by implication gives the person asked a certain latitude to reframe the question if need be.

It's threads like this that test my patience. It's obvious that in a thread this size dozens, if not hundreds, of people are waiting in the wings thinking the same thing when somebody says something in a particularly annoying way like the lady asking this question. And suddenly there's a pile-on because everyone rushes into the breach to share their own annoyance at her annoyance.

But in the end I agree with jessamyn; the freedom to answer however you choose so long as you're not abusive is part of what makes this place grand, so threads like this are a necessary evil. Besides, when I'm honest with myself, I was really just annoyed because I happen to like googling for government forms, and I couldn't actually start doing that until she gave her location; until she did, I just felt like I was standing in the wind trying to take down the laundry.
posted by koeselitz at 11:10 AM on October 28, 2009


yay!
posted by jerseygirl at 11:11 AM on October 28, 2009


I suppose I could have not just dropped the F bomb on her, but sometimes people need a goddam reality check.

Yes, the 52 comments preceding yours were clearly failing to give the poster a reality check.

Anyone who is posting in the thread at this point is doing so to satisfy his or her own sense of righteous indignation, not to help the poster find an answer to the question.
posted by brain_drain at 11:13 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


In certain situations, there's the answer you want to hear (just do ___ and your SO will be more agreeable), and then there's the answer you need to hear (DTMFA). The problem is that without an overwhelming majority answering it clearly, the asker may not get the picture. The problem comes that Metafilter has a very strong tendency against "quoted for truth" or "I agree with ___" posts, so people will actually answer the question again, to add their voice.

I don't see it as a pile on in any sort of way. It's perfectly possible that from our disparate viewpoints, only one of us will resonate with the asker and get them to actually consider the viewpoint that runs contrary to what they want to hear. Of 50 responses, each is important because it might be the one that was needed.

Of course, if people are breaking the rules, insulting the asker, spamming, etc, that's not right. Name-calling isn't cool, and that would constitute a pile-on. Otherwise, though, as long as it's civil, I believe we've established that more voices and opinions are usually better, because it gives much more perspective than only 2 or 3 responses and no duplicated viewpoints.
posted by explosion at 11:13 AM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not only is it a pile-on, but everyone is wrong. Wow.

Sure, the poster made a bad decision. They acknowledge that. Nonetheless, s/he wants to report a police officer on what is undoubtedly a power trip.

Once again MetaFilter is in the vanguard of defending a broken police system.
posted by DU at 11:16 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jaltcoh: Metafilter users telling other Metafilter users that people giving answers they don't like "needs to stop" needs to stop.

I agree. And I saw your disagreement with me in the thread before it got nixed; you said something to the effect that people were giving their answers, and my implication that they weren't was unfair.

That's absolutely true. Instead of saying "we can't answer this question without a location," I probably should have said "I can't answer this question without a location." The answer I felt I could contribute wasn't possible without knowing what state she was in. To be honest, I think a complaint in her case is a waste of time, and we're all probably slightly worse off if she makes it, but that's negligible; and, like I said, I happen to like googling for government forms.

But "you have no room to make a complaint; let it go" is just as valid an answer as any. Admittedly the twentieth time it's repeated it seems less necessary, but frankly I don't mind repetition at the end of the day. People can have their say as long as they're not assholes.

Kudos to the mods for doing this right.
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I pile hot sauce on my pizza and I'm tired of being ashamed of that, so bug off!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think in my entire life I've ever been able to cite the make and model of my pen or pencil. I can't decide if this makes me feel smug and self-righteous or woefully underinformed and ignorant about every-day tools.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:20 AM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


DU, I don't think that people are denying the cop was being a bit of a prat too.

I think, however, that if you want to Make A Stand Against A Corrupt Police Force, there are far better hills to plant your flag on than "which pen I use to sign a form". That's all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:21 AM on October 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty surprised and bummed out about the whole thing. I think I admitted in my question that I had been impractical, and that my "victory" was hollow. But I guess I didn't express enough self contempt, because everyone made sure I got some.

To the few who actually answere my question, "thanks". To others, who kindly offered, I admit, a much needed other perspective, "thanks." To everyone else: I hope youre not as mean to people in real life as you are to strangers asking questions on metafilter.
posted by hollyanderbody at 11:22 AM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I suppose I could have not just dropped the F bomb on her, but sometimes people need a goddam reality check.

I have to agree that the OP had already gotten a reality check. The issue as I see it is that many people seem to think the OP needs a very specific kind of reality check, the sort that only they can bring. This is a misapprehension and if you can't keep yourself from swearing at the OP because you think they need a reality check, go kick your dog. Oh, it's not cool to kick your dog because you have misplaced aggression? Exactly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:22 AM on October 28, 2009 [17 favorites]


Anecdotal data:

I'll turn 36 next week and in those years I have yet to meet a person who admits to either

A) Having deservedly received a traffic citation

B) Having deservedly been terminated from a job
posted by The Gooch at 11:23 AM on October 28, 2009


wants to report a police officer on what is undoubtedly a power trip.

I can think of at least one plausible reason where the officer was following a perfectly reasonable and factually sound departmental policy, so no, it is not "undoubtedly a power trip". If he had tazed and arrested her, you would have something approaching your certainty.
posted by nomisxid at 11:25 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not only is it a pile-on, but everyone is wrong. Wow.

Sure, the poster made a bad decision. They acknowledge that. Nonetheless, s/he wants to report a police officer on what is undoubtedly a power trip.

Once again MetaFilter is in the vanguard of defending a broken police system.


The woman in question got stopped for a violation of traffic safety law. A robot police officer would have issued a citation on the spot. This human officer instead offers a warning, as shit happens, and he wants to be a helpful guy who doesn't kick someone when they're down.

However, to prevent abuse of this helpful attitude, he requires she signs her name, so that they have record of her being aware of the problem such that if she were caught again later, she could not plead ignorance for a further warning. He asks her to use his pen, for an unknown reason which could range from simply wanting uniformity in paperwork, to concern that her (unknown) pen might not properly provide pressure to the 2nd page copy, to perhaps even knowledge of people having used disappearing ink pens in the past.

She decided to argue with him instead, and only at that point did he revoke his offer of clemency. He did not go on a power trip, he reach beyond his purview. Instead, he simply offered kindness, and then revoked it when she became argumentative.
posted by explosion at 11:25 AM on October 28, 2009 [30 favorites]


Pen nazis. Pile-on nazis. Who makes the nazis?
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Once again MetaFilter is in the vanguard of defending a broken police system

Let's back this up to the 30,000 foot level:

- Officer stops driver for somewhat minor violations
- Officer says here's a warning, not a ticket this time, please sign it, here's a pen
- Driver says no thanks, I've got a pen
- Officer says please use my pen
- Driver gets indignant because of extraneous circumstances, demands to use her own pen, doesn't understand why the officer won't let her, gets angry with officer
- Driver doesn't let it go
- Officer turns friendly-ish warning into actual citation (which he was within his rights to do at first but didn't) because of an uncooperative driver

The officer was prepared to do nothing but issue a written warning, which carries no legal consequence; the driver repeatedly challenged the officer on a relatively meaningless point, in a rather angry manner, so the officer decided to make the warning a citation. How is that a broken system?

The officer might have done a better job explaining WHY he wanted the driver to use his pen, but he is under no obligation to do so. This does not make the system "broken".
posted by pdb at 11:26 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


What was left out: Her husband is the cop. And she left out the very filthy, angry sex.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:28 AM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Once again MetaFilter is in the vanguard of defending a broken police system.

That is a completely glib and incorrect assessment of what went down there. Do you really think that if she filed a complaint (based on the information she provided in the question) would go anywhere? It's a total waste of time. It's not like the cop pepper sprayed her or otherwise did anything that could actually merit discipline or pay. Cops don't have files like schoolchildren. It's not going to matter and the woman is silly for not realizing the vanity here.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:28 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shaka, when the walls fell.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:29 AM on October 28, 2009 [15 favorites]


Hate to say it, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the question was this. I can't be the only one.
posted by koeselitz at 11:30 AM on October 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


I got a speeding ticket I totally deserved. But then I was friendly about it, went to court, admitted I was in the wrong but a first time offender and the ticket got magically changed into a (very expensive) parking violation with no points on my license. I reccomend this strategy because at the end of the day it's more important for me to keep my money and sanity than to keep the moral high ground. Everyone draws this line differently.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:30 AM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


DU: Once again MetaFilter is in the vanguard of defending a broken police system.

Chillax. When the Revolution comes, I'm sure they'll let you stand up against the wall with the rest of us. We'll even hold your hand if you'd like.
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh come off it. Seriously brain_drain and DU? Who's the one with the chip?

Here's my biased unedited first impression of the OP. Likely wrong, but based entirely on her own choice of words.

She's just another person who believes that other people exist to her service and convenience. Meaning us, the cop, whomever. Forget that she was in the wrong for the entirety of the interaction w/ the cop, she wants an apology.

Boo hoo crai mor n00b.

And while I would never debate that the police system in this country could use work, I don't think a cop issuing chica a warning and then a ticket when she became belligerent counts as a broken police system.
posted by TomMelee at 11:32 AM on October 28, 2009


Jaltcoh ... I saw your disagreement with me in the thread before it got nixed; you said something to the effect that people were giving their answers, and my implication that they weren't was unfair.

It wasn't deleted - it's right here.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:34 AM on October 28, 2009


Hate to say it, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the question was this. I can't be the only one.

Yeah, I really don't understand people who choose to make a COURAGEOUS AND PRINCIPLED STAND IN THE FIGHT AGAINST POLICE STATE OPPRESSION on something relatively meaningly and unimportant and in a situation in which they were in the wrong in the first place.

But, as jessamyn says, everyone draws her own line.
posted by dersins at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2009


meaningly meaningless
posted by dersins at 11:37 AM on October 28, 2009


Has anyone thought about the laugh this story oh-so-clearly got down at the station afterward?

"Wait a minute. Wait. You were gonna let her off with a warning, and she said WHAT to you?"

"I know, right?"

"My mind is blown. Blown! She mouthed-off after you let her out of a ticket? Who DOES that?"


Sounds like a Family Guy cutaway.
posted by jefficator at 11:37 AM on October 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Jeez, that's not even that bad a cop story.

I've had a cop ask me "Why are you crying?" and then when I explained how the situation she was putting me in was incredibly stressful and unwarranted and frightening, she said "Oh, just curious."

I've been hassled by a cop for sitting in a car making out with my boyfriend. At 3am. At 27 years of age. Because we left a 5-person house party but weren't sober enough to drive home yet. "What do you want us to do, get out and walk around some more?" we asked her. "If you want more police attention. Is that what you want?" she threatened. She told us that we shouldn't be there, that people with homes don't do things like we were doing, sitting in a car. "I own a home," she scolded. I asked her if she was a teetotaller, and she said she didn't know what that was. That's about the time I told her I went to college. Yeah, we did some sharing. Oh well, bad attitude happens to the best of us. I have no idea what she wanted us to do. Ultimately we went back in the house where our friends were sleeping.

It's like the less police have to do, and the less you're breaking a law, the meaner they are to you. I've been arrested and the cops were very workmanlike then. It's perplexing.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:37 AM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


hollyanderbody: To everyone else: I hope you're not as mean to people in real life as you are to strangers asking questions on metafilter.

TomMelee: Boo hoo crai mor n00b.

holly, seriously, I don't think you have anything to worry about as far as certain people's real-life interactions. It looks like that basement door isn't opening any time soon.
posted by koeselitz at 11:39 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


This question is no different than the kid asking which knife to carry around guatemala...

Ooh, where's this?
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 11:39 AM on October 28, 2009


Jaltcoh: It wasn't deleted - it's right here.

Heh - sorry, I assumed. It was only my response to you that got nixed.
posted by koeselitz at 11:40 AM on October 28, 2009


TomMelee: This question is no different than the kid asking which knife to carry around guatemala...

iknowizbirfmark: Ooh, where's this?

Help me choose a knife, machete and training manuals for self defense.
posted by koeselitz at 11:42 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had missed that thread in my feed reader -- thanks for bringing it to my attention, as it turns out I had something I wanted to add to the helpful discussion.
posted by toomuchpete at 11:45 AM on October 28, 2009


The phrase has ties to Arthurian lore. A Knight, coming to the service of a damsel would lower his lance and receive a huckleberry garland from the lady ( or kingdom) he would be defending.

Where the hell were all these huckleberry's growing? Were they shipping them from the USA, because I've never heard of a British huckleberry.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:45 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


FTR I agree with the prevailing sentiments in both threads; hollyanderbody is best served by letting the incident go, and relucent has an uphill battle if he wants to challenge the speed limit. I think the fact that comments are/were being deleted in the first thread kind of proves my point that it is/was getting out of hand.

Also, I am apparently the only person on Metafilter who has had nothing but neutral-to-good interactions with cops. And I've gotten a well-deserved speeding ticket.
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on October 28, 2009


Shit, I just posted this in the original thread, please delete over there.
-----
In the spirit of not piling on over there: it doesn't matter if YOU know your pen is going to work fine - it matters if the officer knows it. From the link in-thread the picture of that pen looks like it has an extra fine point and could conceivably tear the cold damp sheet. should the cop really have been expected to inspect the pen, or know it by sight?

It doesn't sound to me like the cop was being too unreasonable, if the poster had used the cop's pen - even after getting to mouth off a little - they could have gone their separate ways.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:45 AM on October 28, 2009


lol koeselitz, I don't think most people around here really grasp the depths of my sarcasm.

I'm not *mean* to people IRL, but if someone I know personally came to me with that story, I'd definitely respond with a general WTF.

What you read as "mean", I read as "honest." If you want honesty, you ask me. Like, for example, one of my friends is on the edge of breaking up w/ his wife, and he asks me all the time what I think. He knows I won't candy coat it when he's being a jackass, and that's why he asks.

You don't come to askme to hear what you WANT to hear, you come to get ANSWERS, and if the PREMISE is FLAWED, we let you know that you need to reanalyze your position.
posted by TomMelee at 11:49 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


At least the officer didn't take her baby and his pacifier away from the truck!
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anecdotal data:

I'll turn 36 next week and in those years I have yet to meet a person who admits to either

A) Having deservedly received a traffic citation


Most, if not all, traffic tickets I have received I have deserved. Mind you I don't get them often because I generally am pretty specific how and when I speed or break other laws... but speeding is speeding and it is against the law and I have never tried to argue my way out of it or other tickets.


Once again MetaFilter is in the vanguard of defending a broken police system.

Oh, get over yourself. In this instance a "working" police system would have walked up handed her a citation, made her do a blow test for alcohol AND made her sign with a pen known to work and work properly.
posted by edgeways at 11:54 AM on October 28, 2009


I don't think most people around here really grasp the depths of my sarcasm.

You're such a Hamburglar, TomMelee!
posted by dersins at 11:55 AM on October 28, 2009


I'm in AZ, and I gotta say that when the OP said that's where she's from, I got this image of this particular OBNOXIOUS cop that we've got in my neck of the woods. I mean, he's really aggressive and obnoxious, - drives like a maniac, drives up on curbs to get around you, total prick when "conversing" etc. He's even got a nickname . . . that he's proud of.

Not saying it's the same cop, but there are some aggressive jerks out there that pull these power trips all the time because they can. That's not dissolving the OP of her responsibilities, but more like conceding that neither adult in the situation handled it very well.

I don't know if OP has the officer's name, but perhaps google his name or something - see if there are other people complaining about him.
posted by Sassyfras at 11:57 AM on October 28, 2009


Also, I am apparently the only person on Metafilter who has had nothing but neutral-to-good interactions with cops.

Nope, I have too.

Granted, my interactions with cops have always been either as plaintiff (I got mugged when I was 19, and I got a threatening phone call from a stranger two years ago), as witness (I worked for a delivery service and one of our orders seemed a little hinky, so me and three plainclothes cops had a little sting operation in the lobby of a hotel trying to catch them) or as bystander (I asked a cop in New Orleans for a restaurant recommendation during Mardi Gras and we ended up having such a great conversation he gave me an official set of New Orleans Police Department mardi gras beads).

The closest I ever came to a police citation was when I was 17 and had just learned to drive and started pulling out of a parking place just as a cop was passing by; I panicked when I saw him there and tried to "speed up and get out of his way quick" rather than just stopping, but then I pulled over when he flashed his lights at me. He pulled up beside me and gave me a bit of a hairy eyeball about how "you know that wasn't a smart move, right?" But I was clearly freaked out and clearly a big "super-new driver", and clearly had been scared witless by the experience, so he just eyed me a moment longer and said, "right, as long as you don't do that again, then okay," and let me go.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:59 AM on October 28, 2009


we let you know that you need to reanalyze your position.

And if you CAN'T do it with decent MANNERS we ask you politely to go ELSEWHERE.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:02 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


dersins: yes, yes I am. The better question is...how did you know?
jessamyn: was that at me, or in general? If it was to me, then I'm sorry.

Turns out I am jessamyn's huckleberry. I was trying to keep it secret. she always outs me though.
posted by TomMelee at 12:07 PM on October 28, 2009


TomMelee: Huckleberry.

from that WikiAnswers link: The phrase has ties to Arthurian lore. A Knight, coming to the service of a damsel would lower his lance and receive a huckleberry garland from the lady ( or kingdom) he would be defending. Therefore, \"I am your huckleberry\" may well have been spoken to the Earps and the statement's meaning may be \"I am your champion\".

PeterMcDermott: Where the hell were all these huckleberry's growing? Were they shipping them from the USA, because I've never heard of a British huckleberry.

You're dead-on correct, PeterMcDermott, at least as far as I can tell. (The popularity of the phrase, and this sort of ridiculous explanation of its provenance, stems entirely from the movie Tombstone, I think, and the fact that when people see a movie about the past nowadays they seem to think that it really happened that way!) It's ridiculous for WikiAnswers to claim that Arthurian knights carried huckleberry garlands; quite apart from the fact that huckleberries don't really make very good garlands, there's the major inconvenience of having to travel to North America to be considered. The Online Etymology Dictionary traces the word 'huckleberry' itself to circa 1670 American usage as a corruption of middle english 'whortilberry,' and the colloquial metaphorical usage to around 1835. A common saying which arose around that time seems to have been 'a huckleberry to a persimmon,' i.e. something tiny to something much bigger (since huckleberries are very small). So 'I'm your huckleberry' (which precise phrase is traced by World Wide Words to True to Himself [1900] by Edward Stratemeyer – I'd bet that this was where Kevin Jarre or John Fasano saw it before they put it in Tombstone, which film is almost entirely ahistorical) is a reference to this common saying generally meaning something like 'I'll be a huckleberry to your persimmon,' or 'I'll be your little sidekick,' 'I'll work for you.'
posted by koeselitz at 12:08 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Tombstone is full of probably-time-period-accurate phrases that instead of adding an air of authenticity instead add an air of "what the fuck did he just say"?

"Skin that smokewagon and see what happens" for example. Helps you understand why Deadwood went historically inaccurate with its cursing.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:12 PM on October 28, 2009


TomMelee: I don't think most people around here really grasp the depths of my sarcasm.

I'm not *mean* to people IRL, but if someone I know personally came to me with that story, I'd definitely respond with a general WTF.


I know; and it was a pretty cheap shot for me to try to stereotype you in response. Sorry about that. (Frankly if anybody's a recluse who has no life it's me, so implying that you live in a basement was rather like the pot calling the kettle black.)

I only want to make one observation, with which you can do what you will:

When call someone a n00b and get exasperated with them over the internet, but you're really just being sort of sarcastic or ironic, often you'll find that people don't understand your undertone. That's an unfortunate drawback of computer-based communication; it's also down to the fact that most of us don't get subtlety very well. In any case, the weird thing is that an ironic insult turns out to have exactly the same effect as a heartfelt, genuine insult. As I say, that's just an observation.
posted by koeselitz at 12:15 PM on October 28, 2009




lol koeselitz, I don't think most people around here really grasp the depths of my sarcasm.

I'm not trying to be a dick about it, but take into account the possibility that people not grasping your intent is a problem with how well that intent is conveyed in the first place. If you're going for a joke and people think you're just being a jerk, you may not be making the joke very well in the first place, in which case maybe consider just speaking plainly in situations where a joke being misread could go badly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:23 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


koeselitz-
You didn't insult me brother. And if you did, my skin's thick enough I didn't notice. I honestly thought the basement comment was pertaining to some MeFi centric meme that sprung from some thread i didn't read...like "hamburger."

Once before I dropped stupid mmorpg slang in a thread and someone started a metatalk post asking why I did it. Really my point in doing something like that was multifold in this case...I was implying that the question itself was ridiculous, I was teasing and the soft hearted who said we were too mean, and I was using webcentric lolspeak to do it in. Pretty darn well complicated but you're absolutely right that it comes across as a heartfelt insult, which while wasn't the intention is something I won't deny. I certainly wouldn't shout "Crai mor n00b" to someone on the street, as much because they wouldn't understand it as because it's a mean thing to say. Do I think the OP is a n00b? No, but for the love of peanuts what the hell can that even MEAN in this context? Seriously? MeFi isn't your normal web forum, so I sort of took it as given that a comment such as that would be dismissed as sarcasm.

I mean, srssly.
posted by TomMelee at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2009


Lol and I love that I'm the mean evil fragile snowflake melter. I shall place that in my profile effective now.
posted by TomMelee at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2009


But it's reeeeally great that you made this all about you.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:29 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, this MeTa post really is the kind of thing that will completely backfire. The mods were already watching the thread...it just served as a redirect for the pileon, and with MeTa's gloves off style. The OP now has two threads full of derision directed at her, and again with the second one being somewhat implicitly sanctioned as more spiteful.

Also, these Sour Lollipop Dots I just bought from (EEEBUL) Whole Foods are nuclear sour and are fabulous.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:32 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:35 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm beginning to rethink my question about how best to win a knife fight against a cop armed with a Zebra F-301.
posted by Shepherd at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


TomMelee: Lol and I love that I'm the mean evil fragile snowflake melter. I shall place that in my profile effective now.

Nobody said that you were a mean evil fragile snowflake melter.
posted by koeselitz at 12:37 PM on October 28, 2009


Lol HAMBURGER, n00b.

the
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:40 PM on October 28, 2009


the first thing I thought of when I saw the question was this

The first thing I thought of was this classic. (It starts after a short intro)

(to the op: I know you didn't do that and am not implying you did. It just reminded me)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:46 PM on October 28, 2009


This random dude on the Internet seems to broadly agree with koeselitz's etymology.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 12:54 PM on October 28, 2009


"I'll turn 36 next week and in those years I have yet to meet a person who admits to either

A) Having deservedly received a traffic citation

B) Having deservedly been terminated from a job
"

Buy me a beer and I'll admit to both!
posted by klangklangston at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2009


The first thing I thought of was this classic. (It starts after a short intro)

That's indeed a classic. Too bad that if it happened now (note the date stamp from 1992) that dude would've been tased within 15 seconds of his outburst. But it should be shown to all cops before they get their taser training. The cop owned the dude and never lost his cool. At no time was any tasing or other violence required.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:01 PM on October 28, 2009


Metafilter: I know more about sarcasm than I think you can imagine.
posted by Dumsnill at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


!include sarcasm.h

The metafilter mean and inappropriate heirarchy looks like this:

n00b > dick > asshole > stupid > jerk > obnoxious > nazi
posted by TomMelee at 1:09 PM on October 28, 2009


This has got to be a fake question.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:11 PM on October 28, 2009


I have nothing to add to the knife-fight thread, but that lies about knife-fighting link is awesome. I can't say I ever intended to get into a knife fight before reading it, but it's very interesting.
posted by palliser at 1:11 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll turn 36 next week and in those years I have yet to meet a person who admits to either

I got a huge ticket a few months ago that I totally deserved. The trooper lit into me big time, too, and yelled at me to calm down and stop endangering myself and everyone around me with my wicked-fast stunt driving and weapons of mass destruction. I apologized, paid the ticket in full without disputing it, and changed my driving habits. I've calmed down a lot, too, and traded my weapons of mass destruction for a kickass stereo and bass combo that booms very nicely as I drive past the trooper's house at random hours in the middle of the night. So, you know: Maturity is all about respect and taking responsibility for your decisions, and maximizing the collateral damage when seeking revenge.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:12 PM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


desjardins i posted "Can we use some restraint here? "

Hey I showed restraint. You don't see any comments from me in the thread linking to wavs of the looney whistle do you? As of now the thread only has 65 comments. Looks like a lot of restraint all around.

The Gooch writes "I'll turn 36 next week and in those years I have yet to meet a person who admits to either "A) Having deservedly received a traffic citation"

I deserved both of my speeding tickets and my traffic control device one. That one of the former was the result of, um, underhanded enforcement tactics doesn't remove my culpability. Besides I've never been caught for my more egregious of violations (like a couple hours at 170 in a 110 zone) so I can roll with the lesser penalties. All the harassment I've been subject to has been of the non penalty variety. The written warning for excessive acceleration onto a highway has turned out to be a bit of fond memory.

pdb writes "The officer might have done a better job explaining WHY he wanted the driver to use his pen, but he is under no obligation to do so. This does not make the system 'broken'."

And of course we only have the posters version of events; it's entirely possible the officer did explain. Self interested eye witnesses being notoriously unreliable.
posted by Mitheral at 1:16 PM on October 28, 2009


What a crazy day over on AskMe. The name-dropping question is weird as well, what with the OP randomly dropping names and such.
posted by yeti at 1:20 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree that with the pile on that the OP was nuts to argue with a cop who was doing her a favour and even more crazy to want to report them BUT that wasn't the question. The OP wanted to know how to report the cop - really its no skin off our noses if she wastes her time filing a report. Only one or two people actually answered the question.

IMO ask metafilter would be a much better place if people stuck to answer the actual question that was asked rather than wading in with unsolicited opinions.
A better answer to this question might have been:

"IMO you shouldn't report him, he may have had legitimate reason for requesting you use his pen, but if you really want to, here are the details..."

The OP got as good as she gave, but that doesn't make it right. Just the norm here.
posted by missmagenta at 1:26 PM on October 28, 2009


Late to the party, but I think I might disagree with most of the group.

Let's back this up to the 30,000 foot level:

- Officer stops driver for somewhat minor violations
- Officer says here's a warning, not a ticket this time, please sign it, here's a pen
- Driver says no thanks, I've got a pen
- Officer says please use my pen
- Driver gets indignant because of extraneous circumstances, demands to use her own pen, doesn't understand why the officer won't let her, gets angry with officer
- Driver doesn't let it go
- Officer turns friendly-ish warning into actual citation (which he was within his rights to do at first but didn't) because of an uncooperative driver


That's the way it comes off to you, based on the emotion expressed in the text. But I would say there's an equal chance that:

- Officer stops driver for somewhat minor violations.
- Officer says here's a warning, not a ticket this time, please sign it, here's a pen.
- Driver, already prepared, says, "Oh, no thanks. I've got a pen already."
- Officer says "Use my pen."
- Driver, confused and/or curious, asks why.
- Officer says, "Just use my pen," perhaps gruffly or rudely.
- Driver is still confused. "What's wrong with my pen?"
- Officer, already having a shitty day and/or life, gets mad and threatens driver with citation.
- Driver reacts badly to the officer's rudeness and says something shirty.
- Officer gives citation. Driver, now pissed off, uses own pen.
- Everyone leaves unhappy.

It's not clear to me that the driver was rude first. I'm not saying, "But he started it!" is a very good argument here, either, except that this cop's supervisor might want to know if he's got a guy on the streets who's randomly bullying folks. And we can't tell, from the original post, whether that's the case or not.

And yeah, maybe it's minor bullying. Or maybe it's miscommunication -- maybe the guy just needs to have a standard response for "What's wrong with my pen?"
posted by brina at 1:28 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Anecdotal data: I'll turn 36 next week and in those years I have yet to meet a person who admits to either A) Having deservedly received a traffic citation B) Having deservedly been terminated from a job

Yeah, what? Why don't you know any humble people or people who confide personal information to you yet? People aren't magically, universally intoxicated with narcissistic exceptionalism. Go meet some frank accountable individuals, get your anecdotes fixed up.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:28 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I feel sorry for the OP. Clearly she can't afford to pay the ticket or have the brake light fixed, seeing as all her money is tied up in payments for that totally-worth-it pen.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:29 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


B) Having deservedly been terminated from a job

In college, I got fired from a crappy mom and pop video store in a strip mall because I was basically playing "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" over and over and a mother of a four year old who saw a really loud, violent scene complained about it to the owner. Probably deserved to get canned there.

Sharing time?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:31 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


As of now the thread only has 65 comments. Looks like a lot of restraint all around.

Easily twice that in the deleted comments bin, though.

apologies for hogging the thread here
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2009


Well, there are two lessons here:

1. Don't argue with a police officer even over trivial things.
2. If you're thinking about reporting someone don't tell them. Especially don't do it if they have a consequence-free way of dinging you right in front of them.

Thanks for attending another lesson at the Mefi School of Common Sense!
posted by Alison at 1:40 PM on October 28, 2009


MetaTalk: like I was standing in the wind trying to take down the laundry.
posted by Rumple at 1:41 PM on October 28, 2009


MetaTalk: like I was standing in the wind trying to take down the laundry.

See, this is why you need a dryer.
posted by kmz at 1:46 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure, the poster made a bad decision. They acknowledge that. Nonetheless, s/he wants to report a police officer on what is undoubtedly a power trip.

Once again MetaFilter is in the vanguard of defending a broken police system.


Actually, I dont think you really believe the police system is broken if you believe this was a power trip.

I had police officers haul one of my cousins out of a car and throw him down on the pavement because they thought they saw something "shiny" near his hand. That was a power trip.

The thought of those kind of *real* complaints not getting seen or heard because the offices are cluttered with complaints from people complaining about 'pen nazis' - well, thats the injustice here.
posted by vacapinta at 2:15 PM on October 28, 2009


B) Having deservedly been terminated from a job

Well, I surely have.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


all her money is tied up in payments for that totally-worth-it pen
I try to use my own pen for everything I write. Viruses are able to live longer (up to several hours) on non-porous surfaces such as plastic, so using my own pen helps protect me from the EbolarhinopoxH1N1 victim who uses the communal pen.

Stop for a moment and think about your habits with a pen: do you ever hold it in your mouth or tap it against your teeth while thinking? Ever dropped it on the floor? Used it to poke something you didn't want to touch? Pried some gum off your shoe? Went after that nasty itch down your buttcrack? Do you think you're the only one who might do that sort of stuff? (BTW, I never lend my pen to anyone, either. If they ask, I tell them I'm coming down with a cold and they may not want to handle the stuff I've touched.)

I'm not saying my personal hygiene issues are shared by the OP and that's what triggered her behavior, but $103 may seem a little less dear when some of the alternatives are considered.
posted by joaquim at 2:50 PM on October 28, 2009


i've been fired like three different times for a bunch of good reasons

one time i started my own business and I had to fire myself because i spent all my time reading and gossiping about my co-workers
posted by kathrineg at 2:55 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Brina, the officer didn't owe the OP an explanation for the pen. She should have used his pen and kept her mouth shut. Even if he said it in a rude way, she should have still used it. I'm sure it gets a little old after a while when you're just trying to do your job and everyone you pull over gives you nothing but attitude. And then someone wants to get pissy over a pen, come the fuck on.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:58 PM on October 28, 2009


Hence, my love of the Sharpie!!
posted by pearlybob at 3:24 PM on October 28, 2009


You want to know how to get out of a ticket?
They pull a Zebra F-301, you pull a machete. He name drops in your thread, you send one of his to Metatalk.
That's the metafilter way.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:28 PM on October 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


The Gooch: I'll turn 36 next week and in those years I have yet to meet a person who admits to either

A) Having deservedly received a traffic citation

B) Having deservedly been terminated from a job


I have been fired from the last three jobs I had, for various reasons, some of which were deserving and some not.

Also, I have been actually arrested on no less than three occasions for forgetting to go to my court dates over minor traffic violations. I'll admit that I probably deserved that. Although I can say from my last experience that I learned two things: first, Denver Municipal Detention is a shitty, shitty place to spend your time. There's a video tape playing on a loop in the holding area, first English and then Spanish, on "What To Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted While In Detention." (That's not ominous at all.) Second, "I'm going through a divorce," while an all-round magical phrase which can get you all sorts of leeway in many situations, seems to work particularly well on police officers and prison guards.
posted by koeselitz at 3:32 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


a bunch of people violently agreeing with each other

Doesn't that kinda violate the tone of AskMe?


Well, does it bother you in this thread? Probably not? I'm just sayin', I think it's okay to find the tone of a thread annoying without it following that a rule is being broken.
posted by desuetude at 3:40 PM on October 28, 2009


Also, I have been actually arrested on no less than three occasions for forgetting to go to my court dates over minor traffic violations.

My first day in Denver, earlier this month, was spent being full zombie from a bad cold and the cold medicine I was taking to combat it, while hiding in koeselitz's bedroom. Getting to hear some of this in person helped make up for that otherwise very nadirly day of the trip.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:45 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Brina: "But I would say there's an equal chance that:..."

Your version, while nicer to the OP, ignores the biggest single piece of concrete evidence upon which they both agree: the officer was going to give her a warning. It's much less likely that the officer would resort to "bullying" over his pen, when he had the means to give her a ticket right off the bat. Unless your contention is that the whole thing was elaborate kabuki wherein the officer wanted to first present the warning only to invent a reason to withdraw it, your version doesn't ring true in light of the facts.
posted by OmieWise at 3:47 PM on October 28, 2009


cortex: Getting to hear some of this in person helped make up for that otherwise very nadirly day of the trip.

I is quietly proud.
posted by koeselitz at 5:08 PM on October 28, 2009


My brother is a cop, and once he pulled over a guy to tell him that there was dirt on his license plate, and give him a warning. Guy starts yelling at him and freaking out that he had no right to pull him over, so my brother runs the plates through the computer. Turns out they guy is wanted for murder, and there's illegal guns in the car. This sort of behaviour is sometimes a tip off to the cops that something else is wrong, and it makes damn good sense to be calm and polite.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:26 PM on October 28, 2009


Metafilter users telling other Metafilter users that Metafilter users telling other Metafilter users that 'people giving answers they don't like "needs to stop" needs to stop' needs to stop.
posted by flabdablet at 5:27 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Metafilter users' buffalo telling other Metafilter users' buffalo that Metafilter users' buffalo telling other Metafilter users' buffalo that 'Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo' needs to stop, needs to stop.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:33 PM on October 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm sure it gets a little old after a while when you're just trying to do your job and everyone you pull over gives you nothing but attitude. And then someone wants to get pissy over a pen, come the fuck on.

if this is the kind of thing that easily pisses you off, you have no business becoming a police officer
posted by jammy at 5:38 PM on October 28, 2009


I think her largest problem was tone. The question sounded quite a bit like the mushroom thread to me. Perhaps the comments would have been more friendly had she came back to the thread and apologized for that tone.

As it is written, it seems like that stupid rube of a blue-collar worker didn't have the simple knowledge to realize that her pen, a Zebra F-301 ball point, was up for the task.
posted by graventy at 5:41 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


seriously, who talks about their pen like they are describing a car, amirite?
posted by C17H19NO3 at 6:05 PM on October 28, 2009


if this is the kind of thing that easily pisses you off, you have no business becoming a police officer

What the hell are you even talking about? The only person in the equation who got pissed off was the driver. The cop just revoked his niceness card after the OP acted like an ass over a stupid pen. I'm not a cop, and never want to be one because of people like the OP.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:06 PM on October 28, 2009


if this is the kind of thing that easily pisses you off, you have no business becoming a police officer

People on MetaFilter often have strange and strict rules for who should and should not become cops. I hope they vote for police officer pay raises every time the issue comes up.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:18 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I believe police officers should get raises. However, they should also not be expected be treated like gods and expect the people they deal with respond to them as if they were their children. And this "oh, man, it's a COP, why the fuck didn't you just do everything he asked you to do?" It's not a good idea to be a dick to a cop, but yes, it is actually OK to disagree with a cop.

Listen to a cop if he's asking you to do something having to do with the law. Treat everything else like a request from any other person.

Unless, of course, you're in an area in which the cops are known to not like your kind or are known for their excessive brutality. Then, just do whatever it takes to not get shit on and file a complaint later.
posted by ignignokt at 6:43 PM on October 28, 2009


What happens if you sign a ticket with that magic ink that becomes invisible after a few minutes?

And where can I buy magic ink cartridges for the F-301?
posted by qvantamon at 7:33 PM on October 28, 2009


seriously, who talks about their pen like they are describing a car, amirite?

At least for a ballpoint! I mean, I could almost understand a nice fountain pen, but a ballpoint? I bought a fairly inexpensive fountain pen last week, but did you know some of them run into the thousands of dollars? I can't imagine ever spending that much on a pen, but if I did I suppose I'd want to use it everywhere. But a ballpoint? No one gets to be a pen snob about their ballpoint.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:39 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't believe we wasted a palindromic thread number on this.
posted by oaf at 8:16 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've been deservedly fired from every job I've been fired from (one, when I was sixteen.)

I've deserved every ticket I've ever received (at least three.)

And I piled it on. Piling it on was the only thing that would, to my mind, not only adequately convey just how stupid the poster's actions were, but also convey just how disturbing it was that anyone could go home, not realize how dumb they'd been in the first place to argue with a policeman who was doing them a favor, and then even after "x" amount of thought time still be so un-self-aware as to create a post referring to a policeman as a "Nazi." All in what seemed like an obvious attempt to curry sympathy from a group of people intensely likely to call out bullshit like that.

I'm not much of a joiner and I'm aware of the dangers of group mentality, but every now and then a pile-on seems deserved. This is the first time for me, since the Octomom saga.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:14 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I am apparently the only person on Metafilter who has had nothing but neutral-to-good interactions with cops.

Not counting the one who called me a damn Belgian* when I gave him my last name, I've been lucky enough to deal with professional and courteous cops.

*And even then, I'm pretty sure he was joking.

I don't think most people around here really grasp the depths of my sarcasm

Who are you, again?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:51 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I've always quit before they could fire me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:52 PM on October 28, 2009


I could almost understand a nice fountain pen, but a ballpoint?

Hey, that's a $103.97 ballpoint, mister.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:54 PM on October 28, 2009


Oho, my user number is the same as that of the mushroom thread! I feel so much more special now.
posted by that girl at 11:25 PM on October 28, 2009


You have no idea how many of us DID use restraint and didn't post in the original thread. And believe me, it was HARD.

After all, I've experienced cops actually being REAL nazis/dicks before. And I'm a total pen snob who not only knew what a Zebra F-301 was, but also has a huge collection of pens and routinely uses a $200 fountain pen to do crossword puzzles. I insist on using my own pen to sign restaurant receipts. But I STILL thought the OP was being laughably, comically ridiculous...

Besides, who carries an F-301 anyway? The G-301 is a much better writer and if you insist on using a ballpoint, the F-701 is much less likely to break when carried in pockets.
posted by mmoncur at 2:22 AM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Obviously it's the way she worded her question that elicited the responses. She should have used that TSA mommy blogger method and put it on her blog and twittered about it, and sent out magazine article proposals about how the horrible police officer took her pen while she was waiting in a freezing box on wheels, and how her emergency Xanax wasn't in the glove compartment. And how she woke up in the middle of the night, paralyzed by worry and rage: Where was her pen?

It's just insulting that she just assumes everybody thinks that all cops are morons and evil, abusive people, and that a bunch of people would immediately think she was in the right.
posted by anniecat at 5:04 AM on October 29, 2009


When call someone a n00b and get exasperated with them over the internet, but you're really just being sort of sarcastic or ironic, often you'll find that people don't understand your undertone.

When you've been on the internet a while longer, you'll learn to end your comments with HAMBURGER. HAMBURGER
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:50 AM on October 29, 2009


The basic point boils down to two inflexible jerks facing off against each other. The source of the cop's power was his power from the state, and the source of the poster's power was from the quality of her pen.

Obviously, the woman needs to recognize that the pen doesn't matter, and that there are bigger things in life.

Normally, I ask the President to help sort out cop related incidents (he does not return my calls ;_;), but I think in this teachable moment we should keep it constrained to Metafilter. Perhaps cortex and asavage could have them over for a calligraphy jam on carbonless copy paper?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:03 AM on October 29, 2009


Eponysterial, Obscure.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:04 AM on October 29, 2009


Second, "I'm going through a divorce," while an all-round magical phrase which can get you all sorts of leeway in many situations,

TRUE DAT. It is, in fact, the ONLY bright spot to actually going through a divorce.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:33 AM on October 29, 2009


The basic point boils down to two inflexible jerks facing off against each other.

Except that one of the "jerks" has a mountain of bureaucracy to answer to. What's the OP's excuse -- going home to a husband to report that she signed away a possible ticket? YEAH BUT WHOSE PEN DID YOU USE?!

Oops, wrong colour? Oops, it barely works -- hope you can read that. Oops, it smudges and blots. Sorry, officer.
Do you have another form?

Sometime someone in the hierarchy probably told these guys to "try to get" the public to just use their goddamn pen instead of handing in all these crappy copies, and drop one detail the cops probably don't care much about but the records geeks do. OP is treating this like the cop kicked out her taillight (and then wrote her a ticket) for being rude. That I could understand. Writing her a ticket for violations she was in fact guilty of? When he wasn't going to?

If it weren't for scarce judicial resources, I'd encourage her to go right ahead and argue this in court. Then send me a transcript. I don't get into a courtroom nearly enough these days and I miss the entertainment.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:20 AM on October 29, 2009


Listen to a cop if he's asking you to do something having to do with the law. Treat everything else like a request from any other person trying to save you $103.

Good advice for any occasion. Try it with your next electronics return past the store policy date. Try it with late return fees. Try it with late payments for anything else. Especially try it when someone has already gone through the motions of sparing you money you no longer have a right to. This isn't about pissing off someone who's armed or capable of extra-legal action. This is about pissing on someone trying to do you a favour. Thank god the OP is not a cop and the cop in this story is.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:25 AM on October 29, 2009


I used to work in security and sometimes write tickets.

A couple of things:

- I never gave warnings after I had been at it a while, because for some reason people would somehow get pissier than they did for actual tickets. I never understood this. If I was justified giving a warning, I was justified giving a ticket
- I was particular about what pen/writing implement was used. Some pens would freeze when they got cold and not work, and others contained ink that would run when it got wet or got shifted around in a clipboard for the entire shift. Both factors may have been in play here.
posted by Deep Dish at 2:25 PM on October 29, 2009


I've had a few bad interactions with police (thus my bias that cops in the Boston area are just more rude or are just more rude towards college age kids), but mostly completely civil - even when I've been ticketed. And when I was ticketed, I did not argue, as I was indeed speeding/ran that red light. In fact I was polite and made sure to call the policedude sir in a very respectful way. As advised long ago by my father who told me that calling an officer sir or ma'm probably wouldn't get me out of a ticket, but it would certainly make the process go faster. He also then shared a story about southern cops near a certain small town that had the tendency to pistol whip anyone who "sass'd" them. And suddenly I was very happy not to be living in the 1950s.

I've heard the same thing Deep Dish mentioned about warnings versus tickets - can't remember where. The theory was that because they'd gotten away with just a warning that the person getting the citation then felt they could bully the ticketer because they were owed something since he was wasting their time - as if it was the same as poor service in a store or something. Oddly this often worked the same way when I was in customer service - some cranky customers given a gift card were pleased and happy again with our store - others felt that they could then demand more and be even more rude to us over the phone.

And what IS it with people and pens? I once had a cashier point to my pen, after I wrote my check, and say "you're about to walk away with my pen." Except it was mine, complete with my bite marks on the cap (a gross habit, I no longer do that, I swear). But because I then had the other people in line looking at me funny - I apologized and gave her my pen. Figured she must really need it or something. I mean, it was just a pen.

And thank you for all the info about huckleberries! I was thinking that the link about English knights was completely whacked.
posted by batgrlHG at 9:12 PM on October 29, 2009


I'm no fan of the police. I got whacked in the ribcage in a bar by a Chicago cop many moons ago, but only after I had loudly theorized out loud about the large size of his gun versus the small size of his penis and asked which one his wife preferred. I don't do things like that anymore because getting hit with a billy club hurts like hell and I've grown up a little since then.

When someone does you a favor, even if he is a stupid rube of a blue-collar worker1 , try to accept it graciously.

1 - What a horribly elitist, look-at-me-I-went-to-COLLEGE!! thing to write. I suppose you routinely give the girl at Starbuck's a hard time when she puts too much soy milk in your overly complicated vente latte.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:01 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


loudly theorized out loud

Where are we at with the edit pony? Matt, pb, anyone?
posted by double block and bleed at 5:07 AM on October 30, 2009


Hey double, in case you didn't notice that comment you just took such offense to was using that term sarcastically, to illustrate what graventy thought was the tone of the question.
posted by Dasein at 5:01 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dasein: "Hey double, in case you didn't notice that comment you just took such offense to was using that term sarcastically, to illustrate what graventy thought was the tone of the question."

I guess I didn't pick up on the sarcasm. If that's the case, then I apologize, graventy.

One of the things that rankles me about metafilter is that it can sometimes veer into pretension. I was a blue collar worker for most of my life. I've had more than my fair share of people who thought that a bachelor's degree conferred upon them their rightful place in the aristocracy above the hoi palloi. So maybe I was being overly sensitive.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:21 PM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


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