Cutting in Line and Its Impact on Global Happiness

I was driving my daughter to school yesterday, running a few minutes behind as usual, when we got to the “choke point” where 2 lanes of Route 28 converge to one lane. The left lane, which is the one that continues on, was backed up about ¼ of a mile and the disappearing right lane was essentially wide open up to the choke point. I, of course, stayed in the right lane, just to the point of lane convergence and began looking for a place to cut in. About three cars ahead another driver did the exact same thing. As soon as he made his successful cut, I moved up to where he was, put my turn signal on to get in front of him and he started doing the lurch forward repeatedly maneuver to prevent my cut. I cursed him under my breath, but just enough over my breath that my daughter commented that he was within his right to prevent me from cutting in because, after all, I had not waited my turn in the traffic line. I quickly pointed out to her that he hadn’t either. And, that, my friends is the topic of today’s blog – the Brotherhood of the Cutter Inners (or BOCI for short).

Before getting to the Brotherhood, though, let’s acknowledge an important reality. There are two kinds of people in the world: the people who always wait patiently in the long line of traffic and the people who drive right up to front of the line and find a place to cut in. My name is Bruce and I’m a cutter inner. Now, before you laid back non-cutter inners get all up in arms about how rude we cutter inners are, let me posit something profound for you. The world is a better place when we cutter inners are allowed to cut in. Allow me to elaborate.

I opened the preceding paragraph with the astute observation that there are two kinds of people in the world. I didn’t say I went to cutter inner school as a young child to learn this behavior (though my dad did help me hone my skills). No, I didn’t choose to be a cutter inner any more than I chose to be short or to have blue eyes or to love the Washington Redskins. All of this stuff is encoded in my DNA with a series of base pairs handed down genetically from the generations before me. Please, I beg you, don’t hate me for being a cutter inner any more than you hate me for being short. Seriously, do you hate me for being short? I never really asked. Never mind.

So, here we are – cutter inners and non-cutter inners trying to exist peacefully together on planet earth. It’s all part of the grand mantra of diversity we are all told to embrace so forcefully. How do we do it? Simple – the non-cutter inners wait patiently in line and the cutter inners cut in. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. The reason you non-cutter inners are not cutting in is because cutting in makes you feel bad. You odd little people are at your best when you’re wasting away your lives waiting in line. We don’t understand you, but we love you for it. All we’re asking for is equal respect and understanding for our need to cut in. To summarize, total global happiness is maximized when the non-cutters are waiting patiently in line and the cutters are cutting. Shouldn’t everyone’s goal be to maximize global happiness. I just gave you a formula to do it. That’s powerful stuff.

Now, there’s just one little loose end to tie up and I’m talking just to my fellow members of the BOCI. This is a brotherhood (and sisterhood; nothing sexist about cutting in, though I will note that our members are predominantly male), which means we love and support each other unconditionally. That means that once you have rushed to the front of the line of cars and secured your spot and you look in your mirror and see another brother (or sister) creeping up from behind, you are morally obligated to let that car cut in. Don’t be doing that lurch forward move to prevent a brother from cutting in. To do so is to reduce global happiness and we can’t have that.

About Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is an amateur writer and professional provocateur
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7 Responses to Cutting in Line and Its Impact on Global Happiness

  1. Bill Miller says:

    Amen, fellow BOCI member. However, you forget the logic, the need for cutter inners in the world of traffic engineering. I posit that the whole purpose of the “point of convergence” is to converge beginning there! Not 1/4 mile back and not 1/2 a mile back. That was the plan, let’s stick with it. Furthermore, if the traffic doesn’t converge where it was intended then farther back in the road the traffic is or could be jamming up somewhere unintended–the previous lighted intersection, the on ramp, etc. I am not try to recruit add’l BOCI members but if one chooses to wait farther back then just remember it is the cutter inners that are following the plan, the rules and not the waiter.

  2. Rob says:

    You make many good points but I have to quibble with you on one. Like you I am a cutter-inner. I am a cutter-inner for two reasons though. First, like you, because I was born a cutter-inner, though my Dad was not a cutter-inner so I’m not sure where it came from. Second, I’m a cutter-inner because where I need to be is more important than where everybody else needs to be.

    Onto the quibble: I think of cutting-in as being part sport. There’s an element of risk to it – will I or won’t I be able to get in? Do I cut in 5 cars back from the merge where a nice hole is open or try get all the way to the front and maybe not find a hole? So who am I to lessen the sport for others? Naah, once I’m in I think its my obligation to keep the sport going – sometimes I let people in, sometimes I don’t. If they have obnoxious bumper stickers? No in for you. Bus or a taxi cab? Under no circumstances can you cut in. But usually my decision is random. Looking in my sideview mirror I’ll see a cutter-inner approaching and, like a Roman Emperor with the thumbs up or down for the gladiator, I’ll make a decision on their cutting-in. If its thumbs down? Sorry, my bumper is going to stay glued to the car in front of me, you go around.

  3. After reading this article

    I’ve used her terminology of lineuppers and sidezoomers. I am most definitely a sidezoomer — of course we share sidezoomer/cutterinner DNA — and have always subscribed to Bill’s logic: that we are supposed to converge at the point of convergence. It would waste everyone’s time and valuable road space if we all lined up a quarter or half mile (or 2 car lengths!) before we had to. I also have to say that one way to enforce the B/SOCI is to drive a really shitty car. I’ll bet the dude who was trying to keep you out of line (and the keeper-outers are *always* dudes) had a nice car; he would not have challenged me in my ancient POS honda.

  4. Rob says:

    I’ve pondered this topic a bit more. The whole point of cutting in is to get to the front, to make your own wait shorter. Letting somebody else merge slows you down. A cutter-inner that lets other people cut in is no cutter-inner at all. Its like those weirdos you see at 4-way stops, waving everybody else to go ahead like some unpaid traffic cop.

    Bruce, I’m not sure you’re ready to be a cutter-inner. Cutting in is by definition an individualistic, somewhat assholish thing to do. You trying to turn it into some some sort of fraternity tells me that you still want to belong, that you’re not ready to fly solo. True cutter-inners don’t care what anybody else thinks. Some of us even take mild pleasure in agitating other people, particularly if they have facial hair or the wrong sort of bumper stickers on their car.

    I want you to spend 3 weeks waiting patiently in line, then ask yourself if you have what it takes.

  5. Jason says:

    That was a pretty long winded way of confessing that you’re a bad person and you make the world a worse place. I appreciate the candor, though.

    • Hey J.J., do you mind if I call you J.J. (Judgmental Jason)? First of all, J.J., I want to thank you for not only reading my blog, but commenting on it. I know how valuable your time is and the fact that you would use it on my blog rather than judging other people and their blogs is very flattering. But, in your rush to judge me a bad person, a claim that I cannot disprove with hard facts, I think you may have missed an angle. By cutting in line, I get places faster. When I get places faster, I do more stuff. When I do more stuff, I make the worlds a better place. Ergo, I am a better person for cutting in, not a bad person. Q.E.D.

      Thanks again for visiting, J.J. Please just try to think through your logic a tiny bit more before commenting.

      P.S. If you think THIS blog was long winded, you obviously didn’t spend enough time on my site. I can be waaaaaaaay more long winded than this one!

  6. Chris says:

    Hmmm…You make some good points but not on driving. Common courtesy should prevail. Lack of emotional maturity should not dictate “BOCI” actions. Or as my dad says, “Whether you’re patient or not, you still gotta wait.”

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