I need some film noir tough talk for my commute
June 19, 2019 6:28 PM   Subscribe

It seems like maaaaaybe not the healthiest thing in the world how quickly I default to yelling a (not that imaginative) string of profanities at other drivers when they commit driving offenses against me (a perfect driver, as you might have guessed.) I'm trying to tone it down, or anyway tone it in some direction.

Honestly, someone cuts me off and, knowing they can't hear me, I haul off with the most vile language. I think being quick to anger has its roots in other life bullshit, but meanwhile you can sometimes just treat the symptom.

The other day it struck me as a funny idea that perhaps I could instead of going straight for "fuck you, you fucking piece of shit," vel sim, try and sound more like a tough talking broad from a 40s movie. Things along the lines of (actual example) “Keep on riding me and they’re going to be picking iron out of your liver" for tailgaters to more generic "why I oughtta sock you, you lug" type stuff. Hardboiled invective, generally speaking.

What've you got, you pikers?!
posted by Smearcase to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
My grandma is from that era, and she used to tell the other drivers they were a bunch of slowpokes who ought to find something worthwhile to do instead of clogging up the roads, because don't you know other people have places to be. (It reads mild, but it was all in the tone. I was convinced slowpoke must be a horrible thing to call someone.)
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2019 [6 favorites]

My dad, who also had anger issues in traffic, occasionally asked a driver hesitating in front of him, “whaddaya waiting for, a written invitation?”
posted by jon1270 at 6:53 PM on June 19, 2019 [7 favorites]

My father invented a bunch of ersatz profanities when we were born. When someone cut him off in traffic he’d always yell “BOZOFACE!” It’s stuck with me and I can report that, for me, it’s an immensely satisfying thing to scream in a car.
posted by q*ben at 7:53 PM on June 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

What a piece of work!
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:13 PM on June 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

My Grandpa was fond of old-timey curses like, "Jumping Jehosaphat," "Hell's bells," "Great balls of fire," etc. Mom often says, "You get your license off a punchboard?" A punchboard was apparently a kind of raffle or lottery card, whare you punched out a circle of cardboard and won the prize printed beneath. Kind of the equivalent of getting something in a box of Cracker Jacks.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:04 PM on June 19, 2019

My grandmother (she'd have been 97 now) used to say in a disdainful tone, similar to what you describe, "...dead from the eyebrows up," narrow her eyes, and shake her head. It's subtle but effective.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 9:07 PM on June 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

A great dictionary here helped me to assemble:

"Ya tryna end up in the hoosegow or the meat wagon, bub?"

"Go climb up my thumb, ya lousy palooka!"

"You're taking a trip for biscuits, ya goon"

"You're tootin the wrong ringer, ya two bit punk!"
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:11 PM on June 19, 2019 [12 favorites]

Edited because I saw you had one of my favorites in your question already.

Personally, I'd lean on Three Stooges quips like "Wise guy, eh?" (But you'd have to say it in Curly's voice)
posted by hampanda at 9:13 PM on June 19, 2019

By coincidence, this article with tips on managing road rage is illustrated with a nice example: "The nerve of him! The unmitigated, unforgivable nerve!"
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:45 PM on June 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Some inspiration from Ramses Smuckles of Achewood:

"Now the only reason I'm takin' my boot off your throat is 'cause I got a fresh calzone back in that car and I do NOT have time to argue with some cop about why your body is over here and your head is over there so on and et cetera"
"...no-account son of a bitch with half a soul and the balance owed to Judas..."
"Why I must walk this earth with the bright-eyed liars and titans of inner filth shall ever plague me"
"That the universe should misspend one mote of its grace and bounty on a fool like that is all the proof I need that the throne of the Lord sits empty"
(from this comic)

"One month ago, you would have been staring up through a wreath of your own evisceration, into this face that now allows you life."
"...those who would wag their tongues to spite my Journey must wander the sands of my violence"
(from this one)
posted by valrus at 10:59 PM on June 19, 2019 [6 favorites]

There's also the classic "Nice play, Shakespeare!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:34 PM on June 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

When not allowed a courteous entry into heavy traffic, my mother would say "Bark on, ye red devils". I have no idea where the saying came from.
posted by Cranberry at 1:08 AM on June 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

My grandfather, a known Type-A driver, used to say to people who were in a hurry and passed him: "There's the road, take it!" ("you idiot" implied). My Dad said it, and I also say it.

Like those people you see speeding, and then you reach a red light and there they are (in which case, you can say, "Hurry up and wait, bud").
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:04 AM on June 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

"What, did you win your license in a poker game?"

(This is adapted from something I heard a cabbie actually say)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:58 AM on June 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Not quite hard-boiled or threatening, but if you like old-time musical influences:

He's a fake and he doesn't know the territory!

[Why, you're nothing but a] bang-beat bell-ringing big-palm great-go neck-or-nothing rip-roar and every-time-a-bullseye salesman

(From the train song in The Music Man , a movie with a variety of insults I can't remember offhand. You want to really spit out the b's in the second one.)

You might also get some mileage (sorry) out of this nice collection of movie insults.
posted by trig at 4:41 AM on June 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

There's a Bogart movie where he runs another driver off the road or something and the guy hollers, "Ya crazy, cross-eyed squirrel!"

I find it sometimes helps to imagine that the reason people are driving like maniacs is because they desperately have to crap.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:01 AM on June 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Coming at it from a different angle, I know a driver who thanks people when they let her in.

I sometimes say "Well bless your heart" when people do something foolish or annoying - unfortunately in situations where they can hear me, they sometimes think I'm being nice. Hah.

If I have someone else with me we sometimes speculate about the absolute specialness of the rude driver, they must be an extraordinary person and gosh it's surprising all the traffic wasn't shut down for their highness's run to 7-11 for TP.
posted by bunderful at 5:59 AM on June 20, 2019

"go shit in your chapeau"

I have been trying to figure out where I stole this from for a while but haven't had success googling it.

Also, check out Moroni's bits from Johnny Dangerously. "What're you looking at you ice-hole?"
posted by duoshao at 6:13 AM on June 20, 2019

This is not precisely hardboiled, but my mother's favored road-rage utterance used to be "Drive it like you own it, Charlie!"
posted by LizardBreath at 8:08 AM on June 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

"Where'd you get your driver's license, from a cereal box?!"
posted by Munching Langolier at 10:34 AM on June 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sitting behind someone who has failed to notice the traffic light has turned green: "It doesn't get any greener!" and "Gas pedal's to the right of the brake!"
posted by Gino on the Meta at 11:29 AM on June 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

"Keep makin' choices like that and before long you'll run out."
posted by brainwane at 2:42 PM on June 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

One time I was with my dad and the car in front of him was moving really slow. He honked his horn and yelled "Get out of the way, Grandma!!!"

The car turned, and as it did, we realized that it was his mother, driving a new car. My Grandma.

He calmed down a bit after that and made his go-to phrase "Move it, ya dumb bunny!"
posted by tacodave at 4:05 PM on June 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

"You should take the bus."

Edit: not YOU. The jerk driver should take the bus.
posted by workerant at 8:52 PM on June 20, 2019

There's also the very, very old-timey, "Get a horse!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2019

I like to be passive-aggressive in my in-car unheard commentary.

"No, please, be my guest."

"Well why wouldn't you want to turn right from that lane."

"Hmm, I suppose it was worth risking all our lives through a serious of abrupt unsignaled lane changes to get to this stoplight three car lengths earlier. I really see your point."
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 6:53 PM on June 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

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