What do you do in an awkward situation where you're exposed to avoidable unpleasantness in front of a wider audience? You want to raise your voice to stop the atrocity, but you don't know the protocol in ending the pain?
You NEXT, of course. Here are the rules:
1. You have the right to NEXT any series of undesirable events.
- Unfavorable songs in the car radio, party, or office iPod
- An email thread that will never end on a good note
- Any lover's quarrel (possibly including strangers')
- A religious wall-post war on Facebook
- SXSW tweets
- BP Oilspill (the spill itself, not the jokes)
2. You have one UNNEXTABLE per week1, whereby you can cancel another person's NEXT.
Ideal use cases include:
- An email thread that will never end on a good note, but you just want to see how it will play out
- Simultaneous NEXTs on an obviously terrible email thread, followed by an UNNEXTABLE for good measure, then followed by a global acceptance of the originally thrown NEXTs and scorn for the UNNEXTABLER as activity on the thread dwindles
- Lady Gaga songs
Be sure not to abuse the NEXT, though, or some people might out you as an ice queen2,3.
Not sure how to get started? Here are some more NEXT Techniques:
- text: NEXT
- Twitter direct or @message "NEXT"
- One word email, four letters, one punctuation mark: "Sigh." if you're passive aggressive, "NEXT!" if you're me.
- Rude taxi cab driver refuses to take you to Brooklyn? Do The New Yorker -- close that yellow door and shout "NAXT"!
- "You're talking too loudly in the library" NEXT (below)
Think about a society where we can plainly call each other out for being inconsiderate of your time! Well, that's a little unrealistic. These rules really only work for the rational and daring. You don't have to be rude about it -- just be firm, straightforward, honest. Show some respect. Look them in the eye. Put your hand on their shoulder. Whisper: "Next".
1 (resets on Monday mornings)
2 David Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure", Karaoke, SoHo Office, 2009
3 Iron Maiden's "Run for the Hills", Karaoke, 2009