Life, like soccer, is a place of many fouls — but the most unfortunate difference between the two is that there's usually no referee handing out red cards in real life. Inspired by the new El Rey Network series Matador — which chronicles the unlikely adventures of a professional soccer player/undercover CIA operative — and its Red Card Riot, here are nine types of people who universally deserve to get called out for being terrible.
The Guy Taking Up Too Much Space on Public Transit: You know who I'm talking about: the Leg Splayers, the Giant Parcel-havers, the Pole Huggers, the My Purse Needs Its Own Seaters, the Part-Time Cyclists, the Needless Door Blockers. I could go on, but there's no point dividing these monsters into subgroups: they all deserve to be banished from public transportation. For life. (Seriously, if you have a bike, why are you bringing it on the subway? Just ride the damn bike!)
The Woman Who Always Reheats Fish in the Office: Say goodbye to the humdrum, fluorescent grind of cubicle life — even the most boring day in the office becomes a wild fish party when this coworker's around! Because what's more fun than the overpowering stench of HOT GARBAGE when you're trying to file an expense report, right? No. Lady, take your tilapia and get out of here.
Everyone on Facebook (Except You): Between your strange aunt who only posts crazy rants about the nonexistence of climate change, your childhood friend who's constantly trying to recruit people to join her insane "church," and all the people breathlessly crowing about their latest movie deal/trip to the Maldives/honor from the local Rotary Club, everyone on the Internet just needs to permanently shut up.
Except you. You're the one special exception. Because you're you! Go ahead, post that picture of your humongous engagement ring! Oh my god, it's so beautiful!
The Rich Jerk Who Tried to Steal My Umbrella: The most outrageous thing to ever happen to me occurred when I was coming home during a thunderstorm. I felt a gentle tug tug tug on my bag as I was stepping off the train. A minute later, while heading up the stairs, I felt it again — this time, a little harder. I turned around to find an extremely well-dressed businessman carefully trying to liberate my umbrella from my bag's outer pocket. Upon getting caught, the guy just raises his hands and gives me this sheepish grin like, "My bad." I would bet you every umbrella in the world that this guy is also a Leg Splayer.
The Check Itemizer: Look, I know that my cheeseburger cost fifty cents more than your Caesar salad, but if you think about it, you may recall ordering the fancier glass of wine. Is it really necessary to spend an extra fifteen minutes carefully totaling it all up? And no, I won't "just pay the tip."
Your Friend Who Pretends Not to Know What You're Talking About When You Say "Football": "Sunday Night Football? But football doesn't happen on Sunday nights. Oh, do you mean American football? I'm sorry, I just got confused for a moment. In most parts of the world 'football' actually refers to the sport that you call 'soccer.' You knew that, right?"
As a matter of fact, I did know this! What I'm less clear on is why it makes you feel like a sophisticated man of the world to act like you don't. Let's cut the crap, shall we?
Children: These little demons might appear cute, but don't be fooled by those giant, pleading eyes. They zoom around in giant strollers and on razor scooters like tiny drunk drivers, they shamelessly pick their noses, and they're known for punching people in the balls, completely unprovoked. An adult on an airplane who behaved the way children do would be taken out by a U.S. Air Marshal. Why the double standard?
Everyone Else: Wait, did I forget someone? Not to worry: the visionaries behind Matador have developed a red card generator that allows you to email your own personalized red cards to friends, enemies, and family members who have fouled in the game of life. Finally, you can do something more than eye roll at the petty indignities inflicted on you by friends and strangers alike. Issue those red cards with abandon and don't forget to watch Matador, premiering July 15 at 9/8c on El Rey Network.
Bennett Madison is the author of several novels for young people, including September Girls (HarperCollins 2013) and The Blonde of the Joke. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Art by Jake Inferrera.