A Suburban Dad's Guest Blog: The Snotty Police

By Rick Kaempfer

I absolutely loved Kim’s City Mom post this week about the uppity writing instructor. It was satisfying to see her get back at the teacher because he committed my favorite unpardonable sin: Unnecessary Snottiness.

I’ve been fighting back against this my whole life; it’s a hobby of mine.

Lest you think I’m some sort of a crazed lunatic, I should tell you that in my own personal unsnotty world, I’m about as mild mannered and laid back as any person you’ll ever meet. I’ve had people stop me on the street to check my pulse, just to make sure I’m actually still alive.

But when I encounter unnecessary snottiness (and is there really any other kind?), I become the Captain of the Snotty Police, and I will not hesitate to bust a perp right on the spot.

For instance, I can live with not being permitted entry to a dining establishment because of a dress code violation if it’s done with respect, but if I hear a “tone” or see a “look” while I’m being told that my money isn’t as good as someone else’s because he’s wearing a different pair of shoes, there’s a good chance I’ll create a scene.

I don’t want to do it. I have to do it. Your snottiness has compelled me.

I ran into this kind snottiness a lot when I frequented what we once referred to as “record stores.” I loved the entire record store experience except for one thing: the moment I paid. As he rang up my purchases, the record store cashier would inevitably register snotty disapproval based on the hipness of the record choice.

“Why are you buying this Styx record?” he would sneer.

“Because I plan on breaking it on your head,” I would reply.

(I was once cheered at a Flipside for saying that. True story.)

Moments like that are rare though. Being on the Snotty Police Force is mostly a thankless job. Those of us that serve don’t do it for the applause, we do it because it’s our duty.

I’ll never forget my toughest day on the beat back in the early 90s. At the time I was working at a radio station in the Hancock. I got into an elevator with a group of German tourists, and moments after the door closed they started spouting a string of the snottiest comments I had ever heard in public.

Now, in fairness to them, they were saying these comments in German so they felt safe to be their true snotty selves, but in this particular case they had the misfortune of riding the elevator with a German-American that understood and spoke German.

I let them spout their comments about how disgusted they were by our “stupid” children, and how unimpressed they were by our “pathetic lack of culture” and our “ugly steel box tourist attractions” without giving them the slightest indication that I understood every word.

I didn’t say a thing until the elevator dinged for my stop on the 37th floor. When the door opened, I said in perfect German: “Hope you enjoy your visit to Chicago. You’ll love it here because there are so many people that speak and understand German. By the way, your trip up to the observatory in this ugly steel box is going to require a detour. This elevator only goes to the 41st floor.”

I’m guessing that before they said “Auf Wiedersehen” to our fine city, they reconsidered every snotty word before it came out of their snotty mouths–All thanks to a single unexpected encounter with an undercover Snotty Policeman.

No need to thank me. I was just doin’ my job.

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