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Tough day on the road today. Whether it was the horrendous (and fatal) 40-car pileup on the I-10 out East, the impending holiday or lingering hangover from the one just passed (extended into the late hours on Monday by the Saints game), drivers around town today were worse than their usual, less than gracious selves.

I won't bother detailing each and every instance of incivility, selfishness and general boorish assholery. Just take my word that there were a good number of them, capped this afternoon by getting cut off by the truck with the faded but still legible--I kid you not--"Nixon/Agnew" bumper sticker.

Which brought me to something of an epiphany. And a New Year's resolution.

From now until November, when someone races to pass so that they can claim a place in front of me at a red light, or runs their stuffed shopping cart over my foot so they can beat me to the express line, or shares their cell phone conversation with everyone in the shop, the post office, even the theater, I will no longer reach into the sack of familiar profanities and pejoratives. Nor will I attempt the ever-futile, icy "Excuse me?"

No, this year I will answer every rude, self-involved, craniorectal act with the same, simple adjective.

"Wow, how Republican." "Way Republican, dude." "That is SO Republican."

This appellation is effective in two ways. It tags the behavior with a group of Americans who have spent untold effort identifying with the privileged and telling everyone else to kiss off. Not merely as in, "Hey, you should pay more taxes so I don't have to," but even, "Hey, shouldn't your ten-year-old kid be cleaning toilets at the school?"

Secondly, it cements that identification further. Traffic laws don't apply to you? Yammering at your girlfriend's more important than everyone else hearing the movie? Willing to mace somebody for a pair of Air Jordans? How ve-ry Re-pub-lic-an.

Republican. Synonym for socially unacceptable, totally dickheaded beyond-the-paleness.

And there's one more advantage to this new trick for an old adjective: you can say it on TV without being bleeped.

Though, if the people officially described by the word remain consistent in their behavior, even that could change.

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