"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.
This week, a cabal of white people join forces for an unprecedented assault of extraordinary boredom: a young man actually complains about traffic, someone else has a problem with magazines, and another one buys gifts that are simply too nice. SPOILER ALERT: it is recommended that they all kill themselves.
While I was stuck in a highway traffic jam, a steady stream of cars passed me on the paved shoulder on the right, making their way to the next exit, a move that presumably helped alleviate the gridlock. This was probably not legal, but was it ethical? — Dave Skey, Orlando
First of all, Dave, I would like to congratulate you on being the only person left in the world to have zero Google entries. You live off the grid, which is impressive, and deeply creepy. It must be very useful for you, though, to remain unknown and unknowable, so that you can sit in your basement unbothered by the world outside, breaking pencil tip after pencil tip as you scribble your frustrated rants at a lifetime of perceived insults.
Seriously? You were stuck in a traffic jam on the highway, some people passed on the shoulder, and you thought "I am going to write someone a letter about this OUTRAGE!"? That's what happened? Nothing better to do with your time? Had a couple days off from mopping up cotton candy puke outside of the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios? No reruns of King of Queens to watch on your couch of failure?
Here's what you do: the next time you are stuck in traffic on the highway, if you see people cutting on the shoulder, quietly get out of your car, wait until just the right moment, and then jump in front of a truck.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I have noticed that almost all of my advice lately has involved you people killing yourselves, and while this might seem like a lack of imagination on my part, upon further reflection I recognize that my advice has been sound. There is no other way.
I am an emergency-medicine physician without an office of my own. I recently received a discount subscription offer for magazines to place in my (nonexistent) waiting room. May I accept it for personal use? What if I ordered magazines and then left them in the E.R. waiting room when I was done with them? — K.H., Texas
JESUS CHRIST, DID YOU AND DAVE SKEY HAVE A SECRET MEETING TO CONSPIRE TO BORE ME TO DEATH?
You're an emergency-medicine physician without an office of your own, and without anything better to do than worry about illicit magazine subscriptions? THREE PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN THE TIME IT TOOK YOU TO BE AN ASSHOLE.
Anyway, get a discount subscription to Dumbass Aficionado. Not that there isn't anything in it you don't already know. Dumbass. Maybe it has a recipe for how to DROP DEAD.
Soon after I gave a gift, it was the subject of a recall because of a class-action lawsuit. Am I responsible for passing on the settlement monies or even information to the recipient? — Freddy Benenson, New York
Settlement monies? What kind of gifts are you buying? Or is that the point? You want everyone to know that you buy such extravagant gifts that if there is a problem with said gift, massive lawsuits and life-changing sums of money are involved.
Maybe you should stop showing off and buy gift certificates like everyone else. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO GOOD FOR GIFT CERTIFICATES?
The other option of course is the next time you are stuck in traffic on the highway, if you see people cutting on the shoulder, quietly get out of your car, wait until just the right moment, and then jump in front of a truck.