You gotta be quick…

There are two things I firmly believe – order and karma.

OK, there are quite a few other things I believe in, but that list could get kinda long. “I believe that dogs are neat. I believe Marvel movies are quite entertaining…”

But back to order and karma. One of the finest ways order is brought to this world is through the very simple process of lines. You stand in line. You wait your turn. Pretty much should have this mastered by kindergarten.

For what it’s worth, queue lines are even better, because those force us into line cattle-style, thereby curbing some people’s urge to kinda amble through the line as if it were just a big blob of a crowd.

When there are not queues, you have to stay alert, for some people clearly were not paying attention in kindergarten.

My son and I at were at a place recently where there were lots of lines, but not lots of queues. At one section, there were some space shuttle simulators. No queues. Both simulator seats were occupied, and my son was the only one waiting. No problem. As the girl in front of him finished her turn, she went to exit the simulator. My son went to take his turn when – zoooom! Like a flash, a kid a few years younger than him went darting in front of him, sliding into the seat and starting the simulator.

The mom of the girl who had just been in the simulator turned to me, laughed and said, “You gotta be quick, huh?”

“Or, people could have manners and not cut in line,” I responded. She responded, “Seriously?” I told my son we’d go find another thing to do, as clearly our conversation was not going to get any better.

Fast forward a few hours later. We were in line for another attraction at the facility, a ropes course. This had a queue line, so order was fairly in place. As we neared the front of the line, I looked a few spots up and saw Ms. Seriously. I turned to my son, leaned in and whispered, “Hop the queue and jump in front of her. I’ll tap her on the shoulder and say, ‘You gotta be quick, huh?’” My son gave me a somewhat terrified look.

“Ummm….” he said.

“I’m kidding. Relax.” He seemed relieved. He also seemed like he MIGHT have gone through with it had I not told him I was kidding, which makes me a smidge concerned.

Anywho, back to karma. Now, I am not one for a vengeful, punishing, life altering karma. That’s a little too high stakes for my liking. I like the karma of mild inconvenience. Fail to wave to someone who let you into traffic? You deserve to hit the next eight red lights. Tip absurdly low amount for perfectly fine service? Cold fries next time you order at a drive-through. Fail to return your grocery cart? Consideration for imprisonment in the Phantom Zone dimension from Superman. (OK, maybe I’m a little stricter on the last one.)

For those of you not familiar with ropes courses, you are walking on beams and ropes pretty high up in air, while tethered to a harness. A series of platform connect each obstacle. As you get to a platform, you generally take turns crossing. One side makes their way across, then the other side goes across. Order.

I found myself on the platform with Ms. Seriously. We didn’t chat. I was waiting at the platform for my son to get there, so I had time to kill. She made her way to the beam, getting ready to cross. A person on the other side started across. Only one person can be on the obstacle at a time, so she stepped back to the platform. As the person finished crossing, she went to step off the platform. Again, from the other side, here comes a person. Back on the platform. I sat and watched as four straight people crossed the obstacle, causing her to retreat and – I kid you not – huff loudly and say, “SERIOUSLY?”

Now is where I think we all should I agree that I deserve an award, perhaps even a medal, for NOT saying, “You gotta be quick, huh?”

But had I said that, I would have probably been setting myself up for some mild karmic retribution. The universe had paid her back for laughing at us getting cut in line. No sense in keeping it going.

So order and karma. That’s what we need. And we should always keep looking forward. Otherwise, I’d have to wonder why the karma was being paid to us when the kid cut in front of us…

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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