Teddy Roosevelt famously said "Speak softly, and carry a big stick." I personally feel this would serve as a great mantra for my life. Specifically, my life in the dissertation proposal stage, where much of my existence is spent at libraries and coffee houses reading books. If I were to adopt this as a guiding rule, then I could nicely explain to all those around me that they, as well, should speak softly, and not in a loud, shrill, high-pitched voice that grates your senses until you just can't concentrate on the obscurely-written theory in front of you and you just want to scream. Or else, you know, I'd hit them with my big stick.
Recently my work at my coffee house of choice (Espresso Royale, home of the addictive chai) has become beleagured by addle-pated ninnies who seem to think that a coffee house is a great place for their loud, rambunctious, inane chatter. Never mind that there is a studious-looking individual reading a book about trauma theory right in front of them. But if there was a studious-looking individual reading a book about trauma theory with a big stick right in front of them, I bet they'd think twice.
I find myself fantasizing about that scene in The Untouchables, where DeNiro's Capone just clubs a man to death with a baseball bat. Seems like an effective way of getting some damn silence, or at least a muted conversation.
Other applicable uses:
-People who come to the Writing Center and demand you proofread their obscure scientific text. Learn the damn language or learn where to hire an editor, lest yet get smacked with my stick.
-People who feel that the perfect time to go for a long run is right before your Writing Center appointment, so that you reek to high heaven just in time for a studious-looking individual to sit very close to you and sit almost with heads touching while you together read your crappy personal statement that you clearly wrote the night before in about fifteen minutes. Seriously, on what level is that a good idea? Stick-whacking for you!
-People who talk in the theatre.
-Slow drivers. (This would be more difficult, as you'd have to account for windows, range, and uneven surfaces. Maybe some kind of hood-mounted car paddle.)
-People who have air conditioning in their public buildings and yet refuse to turn it up, even though it is insanely hot and humid.
-The organist at our church, who clearly has no sense of tempo, no idea of what genre of song is appropriate for a specific part of the mass, and who seems to delight in finding all the variations on the same melody, thus leading us to constantly singing the same tune with different words week after week after week. (Granted this is a religious institution, so the stick-beating would not be as fierce. Maybe a ruler-knuckle rapping, a la nuns.)