2017-07-14 / Commentary

Fish and Chips and Road Rage

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation
Mike Cox

My buddy Rick is half my age. He is well traveled, intellectually curious, and loves exploring new places. He is also an adventurous eater. All these things make him a good guy to hang with. Sadly, we rarely see each other anymore. Work friends, you know.

A few years ago we tried lunch at the British Bulldog, a local English pub themed eatery. I had been there several times and enjoyed their food choices and wide range of beer. During lunch that day, I suggested the standard stereotypical British pub food for all Americans— fish and chips.

Rick ordered it, but said he wasn’t too keen on the chips and could he have french fries instead. I refrained from busting his chops like I would have had it been Terry or TF under similar circumstances.

Rick is younger, likely more sensitive, and since we don’t have a long history, would be somewhat disadvantaged when trying to verbally retaliate. The other two, while a bit slow mentally, have loads of remembered examples to return fire with, which makes those exchanges interesting. Too bad such things are being legislated out of fashion by librarians and disapproving TV hosts.

Rick got married and we each found different jobs, so we see less and less of each other these days but try to stay in touch. Sporadic phone calls and notes and texts about sightseeing trips and interesting restaurants seem to be our only constant contact.

I did think of him last Friday while dining at Social Grill. An incident at the next table raised him from my memory banks even though he was nowhere close. The table was within earshot, partly because of close proximity and partly the result of increased volume caused primarily by Chardonnay.

Three ladies were having an early evening together; away from whatever their usual daytime drudgery is. They had kept the bartender hopping with drinks since we arrived and were getting hungry. The server informed them the Friday Night Special was fish and chips.

Two of the ladies ordered that on the spot. The third looked undecided but finally asked what sides the fish and chips came with. The server was cool; she explained what chips were without smirking. Her two friends acted as if she’d asked a perfectly legitimate question. Even Suzy seemed unmoved by the interaction.

This is one of the primary differences between men and women. Men enjoy conflict, especially hard edged engagement with close friends. This was one of the initial problems when women began working in men dominated fields. That and sexual harassment.

The banter long accepted by men as okay, and quietly suffered through by those men who didn’t think it was so damn funny, was a major sticking point for women who became plumbers, car salesmen, and bull riders.

Soon, court cases multiplied. Eventually, Human Resource Gestapo Troops convinced men such shenanigans were indeed, inappropriate. Since then, male on male verbal altercations have changed drastically. Some men have lost that innate ability altogether. What was once playful aggression designed to blow off steam and teach proper argument techniques has become extinct.

Can’t help but wonder if that’s why road rage became a thing.

Return to top