As a result of the Paul Bunyon Shitcloud that recently ripped through town, New Yorkers have gotten a lot more opportunities to wait on line. Whether it be for gasoline, diapers, the subway, meaningless participation in the electoral college, or for the sole working elevator in an office building still running on reduced electricity, waiting on line always demands the same degree of civility and patience. Yet despite all our rich experience with lines in New York City, we've noticed that some people still require a little guidance as to THE RULES. To wit:

Don't cut the line, you weaselly self-important parasite. This one principle is so fundamental, and yet so shamelessly violated again and again. Is it just us, or is line cutting on the rise? It goes without saying that any individual who cuts a line embodies the greatest threat to civilized society since the advent of disposable paper handkerchiefs, and should be cast into the Pit of Carkoon, the nesting place of the all-powerful Sarlacc, where they will find a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over a thousand years. If you cut a line, you are not only announcing to the world that you are more important than anyone else, but you are also declaring, with your selfish, mendacious actions, that utter anarchy is a small price to pay if it means you can check out at Rite-Aid before anyone else. Which brings us to our next point...

If you meekly let someone cut the line, you are no better than the line cutter himself. Nothing makes our blood boil more than witnessing some scumbag line-cutter insinuate himself near the front of the line without a peep of protest from those immediately behind him. Let's be very clear about this: All those stuck on an interminable line have a solemn responsibility to remain vigilant at all times and SPEAK OUT against transgressors. Why do we always have to be the line police? A line is a COMMUNITY, a human chain of civility that is only as strong as its weakest link. What are you going to tell your grandchildren when they ask you what you did when the line for Dark Knight Rises IMAX Experience got cut?

Step off. We appreciate your eagerness to keep this line moving, but could you please stop stomping on our heels every time we shuffle forward and refrain from breathing in the vicinity of our freaking necks or singing along with your Kesha? We, the people, can maintain an orderly, uncut line AND still keep our backsides free from strangers' ejaculate. Please get off our backs.

Conceptual lines are STILL lines: How many times have you been waiting "forever" at the bar to order a drink, trying not to appear too desperate but just desperate enough to command the bartender's attention—and then some slick tool materializes out of nowhere and gets his order taken immediately? To all the tools not reading this: there is no need for this descent into Darwinian savagery. You saw us standing there before you arrived—have the basic human decency to defer to us if the bartender offers to take your drink order out of turn. If not, one of these days somebody might write a bitter blog post about your behavior.

So there we have the basic, obvious precepts of line conduct. Yet other questions linger. Chief among them: are "friends" permitted to join you on line at any point? This is a hot-button issue, and we're reluctant to come down on one side or the other, but if you waited on line to buy a gun and then put it to our heads, we'd have to say that late-joining friends are permitted—provided the number of people joining you does not exceed five (5) OR 25% of the number of people on line. In other words, if there's a shortish line of 20 people, and at the 11th hour your "crew" of six joins you at the front, everyone behind you has a right to silently judge you.

We are also fine with allowing the person in front of you to go use the restroom or buy a six pack while you hold their place, as long as they don't disappear for an excessive amount of time. The definition of "excessive" is determined by those still stuck on line behind the absentee line-member, but a good rule of thumb is that his or her absence should not exceed a half hour OR a quarter of the remaining wait time, whichever comes first.

And on a side note, because this comes up every freaking time we mention waiting on line, New Yorkers do in fact wait ON line. Waiting IN line is also acceptable, but don't try to correct us in the comments on this regionalism. And be sure to tune in next week for more in this "How To" series, including tips on how to button a shirt and how to ride an escalator!