The early 1900’s were a simpler time. And by simpler I of course mean boring. Life was uninteresting; people actually read books and went bird watching for fun. Can you believe that books passed for entertainment back then? No visuals of car chases, explosions, or sex. I can honestly say that Requiem for a Dream wouldn’t have been as stunning if I only had descriptions of Jennifer Connelly having half of a double-ended dildo jammed up her chocolate factory.
Nowadays our society has progressed. People who embrace bird watching are no longer conventional and considered strange, eccentric, or freaks by most social circles. If the world were a high school cafeteria the birdwatchers would be sitting alone in silence at the broken lunch table that’s covered in stains. Today we think of birds are mundane, but people and people watching? Now that’s entertainment!
Like bird watching, people watching can occur nearly anywhere, although some places are significantly better than others. A stuffy office building, for instance, does not have the ability to yield the noteworthy goons that a county fair or a Department of Human Services waiting room can. Plus, with humans, there’s no chance of missing out on seeing them, because unlike birds that can migrate thousands of miles across continents at times, the trolls you’ll find at these locales rarely deviate from the area between their probation office, the liquor store, and the bowling alley.
Very little equipment is needed for people watching. You don’t need binoculars or telescopes, as most of these specimens are so pudgy they can be seen from blocks away. Basically, you just need enough self-control not to draw attention to yourself and all the judgments you’re making about everyone else. Yes, it’s fun to sit at Applebee’s and quietly comment on the oaf parade that the staff there calls their “dinner rush”. Yes, it is smart not to order anything from the dumpster that Applebee’s refers to as their kitchen. And yes, it would be hilarious to stand up on your table and scream, “man the harpoons” just as an obese white woman waddles through the door, but don’t do that. Your cover will be blown, it will startle the rest of the grazing herd, and your fun evening will be ruined.
Alas, if only Applebee’s had existed in the time of Moby Dick, I would bet that Captain Ahab wouldn’t have had much trouble finding a white whale.
Once you have become adept at identifying the novice-level chuckleheads (i.e. the morbidly-obese, the perpetually filthy, and the doomsday-obsessed rambling preachers) you’ll be ready to move onto the slightly more challenging messes.
- Rats- Their habitat is that of the county fair or possibly a NASCAR race. They can usually be seen beating their wives, drinking grain alcohol, and having their hair braided into (the so aptly named) rat-tails.
- Not In Control Mom- Found usually in the wilds of Wal-Mart, these women were probably normal before having children. Perhaps even a fellow people watcher at one point. Now she has four kids, all of which are chronically whining or making trouble, thus, it now takes her and her clan an hour to do the shopping that a single person could do in ten minutes.
- Dirty Hippie- These folk can generally be distinguished by their ramblings about how great they think the Dave Matthews Band is, how they describe the drugs they use, and that they want everyone to know about all the drugs they use. They typically smell horrible, and are more annoying than amusing. They should be mostly used as a prop to tell cautionary tales to children about what happens when your parents don’t love you.
- Delusional Vietnam Veteran- In a perpetual state of fear and hatred for any minorities, these old vets can be found virtually any place that isn’t the local Chinatown or Little Vietnam. These men are usually at their best when they’re in a middle of a flashback, although they can become very distracting if your name happens to be Charlie or Victor.
- The Extra Pregnant- These are the women that look as if they are about to give birth to a litter or children. They look as if their belly button went from an innie to an outie in their first trimester. These manatees are generally ill-tempered and are quick to yell at their waiter/husband/merkin salesman whenever anything is not to their likings. Big laughs ahead when watching this specimen.
Luring birds towards your area with birdcalls are a big part of the activity of bird watching and, of course, people watching is no different. Which call you use depends on whom you’re looking to attract. Chanting “all you can eat buffet” is going to lure the fatties on their rascal scooters, you know, the mall food court crowd, while the Circuit Court crowd would be more attracted to calls of “free Obama money”. Be sure to retreat to a good hiding spot after vocalizing these calls, as we wouldn’t want any ogres coming up to us and actually inquiring as to where the buffet or free money station is. Remember, at the end of the day, people watching is about making fun of un-knowing individuals behind their backs for things they likely can’t control. Lord knows we don’t actually want any interpersonal contact with these individuals.
*Fun Tip: Scattering flyers for a non-existent garage sale, holistic healing seminar, or a Bible camp is an easy and anonymous way to drive the freak show to wherever you want it to be.
People watching is like a safari, except that more people watching habitats are constantly being created with urban sprawl while traditional safari, or wilderness habitats are continuously being destroyed. Thus, we can look forward to a future filled even more freaks and locations to watch said freaks! Just remember to keep your eyes open and your laughing to a minimum. That is unless you want to start a very awkward exchange with a 300-pound behemoth on why you are intently watching them gorge themselves on the bucket of lard balls that they’re dipping in ranch dressing. Wait, I didn’t even know this Lazer Quest sold lard balls, let alone food! Disgusting, indeed.
Happy judging, everybody!