Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Center of the Universe Syndrome

Otherwise known as COTUS. Humans are symptomatic of this disorder at all times of the year, but it seems to be particularly prevalent during the winter solstice; specifically what is known as the Yuletide Season. 

If you've ever:
  • Blocked the entire baking aisle of a crowded grocery store to have intense conversations with someone about your shopping list, how the buttons on your coat keep falling off - and then saying extended goodbyes, complete with kiss and hug - completely oblivious to the 10 people on each side of you who would like to slide by
  • Talked loudly on your cell phone, looking around all the while to see whose attention you're getting
  • Got waved on to merge into traffic, but couldn't be bothered to reciprocate the universal "thank you" wave
  • Gone through a door without holding it open for the person walking in right behind you - triple-COTUS points if it is an elderly person, a busy mom toting a toddler, a baby, and shopping bags, or a person of any age with their arms full of stuff
  • Left your car sitting in front of the pump after you've finished using it to make several trips into the convenience store
Or, as I had the pleasure of witnessing last night...
  • Leaning on your shopping cart in the dairy aisle opening that is literally 1 carts' width, on your cell phone, with your datebook open, having a lengthy conversation about the upcoming weeks' plans; only to turn around after several minutes and see several frustrated shoppers lined up behind you. 
You'd apologize profusely, right?
You turn around, look contemptuously at the gaggle of strangers, toss your hair, and get on with your oh-so-important life. 

COTUS presents commonly in children, in fact 100% of children display COTUS up to their early elementary school years. Failure to develop empathy during those years puts a child in danger of becoming permanently afflicted with COTUS and becoming an asshole for the rest of their life. 

COTUS is less common in mature adults, but most adults will display symptoms at least once during a lifetime. Severe cases of COTUS can only be cured by a combination of life-changing events, new-onset empathy, and/or a beating administered by a fed-up mob of formerly nice people. 

If you see the signs of severe COTUS developing in an adult in the 20-30 year old age range, now is the time to act. Administer a severe beating and withdraw all financial support immediately; otherwise the condition will become permanently disabling. 

Often recognizing that there is a problem is the most difficult step. Know the symptoms!