04/18/2013 11:33 am ET Updated Jun 18, 2013

Get in Line! Here's How It's Done

Welcome to the School of How to Correctly Form a Line. Please find your seats and let's get started. I'd have you all line up, but clearly you are incapable of doing that, which is why you have been ordered to attend this one-day seminar that covers a single concept: standing between two people and patiently awaiting your turn.

My, my, you are a sorry looking bunch. Don't you realize that 4-year-olds know how to make a straight line? Ever seen them marching smartly down their preschool hallways, on the way to the bathroom or the drinking fountain? Nobody jumps to the front or loudly insists they are exempt from the waiting process. ALL of you are guilty of that.

Stand up, Mr. Zone 3 Airline Passenger. Do you know WHY it says "Zone 3" on your boarding pass? Because Zones 1 and 2 board ahead of you, duh! Hey, I didn't make the rules sir; that's just the way it is. So when you park your body directly next to the jet bridge entrance and force the other passengers to say, "Excuse me," (or something worse) as they jostle their way around you, it makes everybody cranky. And here's a tip: Don't stand anywhere near those Platinum, Elite, Medallion and other uppity frequent fliers while they board. They will knock you over and not think twice about it. Got it? Good, sit down.

Where is Mrs. "I Just Have a Question"? Stand up, ma'am. You are the most universally despised guest in the entire hotel. Why? Because when there were 20 people in line waiting to check in -- all quietly standing between the velvet ropes that exist solely to make the process more orderly -- when you sauntered up to the front desk as the clerk was assisting another guest and said, "I just have a question." Don't you realize that EVERYBODY standing behind you has a question? What makes you so special?

OK, if your inquiry were something simple like "Where are the restrooms?" you might not be here. That could have been answered with a simple hand wave. But you had the gall to ask, "Can I change the credit card that I presented when I checked in?" The employee nicely replied, "Let me finish with this guest" -- even though the proper response was, "Sure, the line starts back there. Next to the restrooms." So never do that again, OK? And if you do, don't look behind you, because all the other guests will be frantically searching their smartphones for a Taser app.

Why is this concept so difficult to execute? I've seen normal Americans line up to donate blood and nobody whipped out a Frequent Donor Rewards card and demanded special treatment. So I know you've got it in you. Hence this refresher course.

Is there a Miss "I Have a Number" in attendance? I saw you in the deli, lady. There were three of us. One customer was being waited on, I was behind him and then you showed up and took a number from the dispenser. NEWS FLASH: That machine is used when there are 30 people in line, not two. I was all ready to order my macaroni salad when a voice behind me said, "I have a number." The dumbfounded deli worker didn't know what to do. I politely said, "Go ahead" -- but if you ever pull that stunt again, I might inadvertently drop a 5 lb. kielbasa on your toe.

Class is just about over. Now if everybody could stand up and form a line in front of my desk, I will sign your diplomas. Wait, that's not a line, that's a clump. Sir, I don't care if you're running late. Ma'am, why are you hovering over me? You two in the back, stop pushing. Somebody has to be last.

I'm sorry, but you all failed. Again. See you tomorrow.

Copyright © 2013 Greg Schwem. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.