That’s actually a line from a Patton Oswalt comedy bit, where he talks about walking his dog in a lousy part of NYC and still cleaning up the dog’s mess, because social contract, motherfuckers! Social contract. “Social contract” in a nutshell is: be a decent person. Clean up after yourself, don’t leave a mess for others, don’t be an asshole. Social contract often pops into my head at odd times, and almost constantly whenever I’m in a casino.
I was in one last night for a while, the fabulous Spotlight 29 in Coachella to see Bill Burr (and Jason Lawhead opening for him – Lawhead was good, Burr was nuts and awesome as expected) and I was frequently reminded of the social contract (unwritten) because of all the violations of said contract. First and foremost is the smokers. God damn, the smokers in casinos. It’s their only remaining Shangri-La, the only place where they can smoke at will and fuck everybody else, especially the goddamned non-smokers! A casino is the only place where it’s still 1963 and you can walk around with a smoke in your hands and not be some sort of pariah. I hate that. When I was a kid, my mom smoked, a lot. She did it to piss of my dad, mostly, which is another story. She smoked in the car with the windows up (which may explain a bit about how I turned out, yeah) and made us kids clean the windows. That was wretched. That made me hate smoking and it’s something that sticks with me. So yeah, smokers at casinos. I wish I could fart on demand, and not just a simple fart but a loud and stinky one, so that when I’m riding a lucky streak on the “Lord of the Rings” slot machine and some half-lung hunkers down right next to me and lights up, blowing smoke in my area and ruining my nerd mojo, I could aim a fresh one at them in return. Social contract, motherfuckers! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And yeah, I know – if you don’t like the smoke, get out of the casino. Have you ever been to the non-smoking sections of a casino? Defying all logic, it’s even sadder than the smokers sitting zombie-eyed at their slots, smoking and pushing buttons while I hover around them with my air of smug superiority.
As much as the smoking bothers me, I’ve learned to accept it with what ill grace I can muster. However, there is another violation of the social contract that irks me even more. To illustrate, a photo:
I know what you’re thinking: what’s wrong with that? Take a closer look. Look at the trays on the table, and then look to the right. There’s a trashcan right there with a neat stack of trays on it, where the trays are supposed to go when you’re done with them. Evidently, some people are so goddamn lazy that they can’t make it the extra two feet to the trashcan to drop off their trays, which is interesting considering they had to walk to that table to drop off their trays.
Look closer, at the trays on the table. The one on top is askew. It came from the table in front; you can see his black t-shirt in the picture. He scooted back in his chair just enough so that he could stretch at his max wingspan, and put that tray there. Never mind that 24 inches to his left was where the trays went. Never mind that he left it askew, so nobody else could stack another tray on top of it. He exuded the minimum effort to get the tray off his table, and fuck everybody else. Never mind that after he was done stuffing his face he was going to walk right by where the trays went.
Social contract, motherfucker! Quit being so lazy.