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Ben Picks Ten: Annoyances August 8, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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As our hero and blog mentor, the great Doctor Franklin, pointed out, the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Our friend Ben would like to add that they’re also the two greatest annoyances. But, let’s just say, I find that there are plenty more competing for the top ten slots. Those two aside, here are my top ten (plus one, of course)—at least, for today. Who knows what new aggravations tomorrow might bring to the top of the list?! Feel free to chime in with yours.

1. Stupid drivers. Our friend Ben’s top aggravation is the idiot who swings out directly in front of my car—even if there’s not another car behind me for miles—and then proceeds to crawl along at 5 mph. What are these morons thinking?!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Every time this happens, at it does with depressing regularity, I wish I had a James Bond car that could leapfrog the idiot’s car, or better yet, superpowers so I could flip their car over into the nearest ditch. And there are other driver-related offenses. I’m thinking of getting that bumper sticker that says “Jesus wants you to use your turn signals.” So does our friend Ben. How hard could it be, a******?!! Drivers who attempt to drink and/or eat with one hand while smashing their cellphones to their ears with the other also fall into the most-annoying category. Whatever happened to the good old days, when all you had to worry about was drunk drivers, and you could avoid them by staying off the roads late at night?

2. The living dead. There is nothing as annoying (after stupid drivers) as having a crisis, of whatever kind, frantically calling the number that’s supposed to resolve the crisis, and being unable to get through to an actual person who could help you. Medical emergency? Just try to get through to your doctor, a nurse, or even a receptionist. Ha! No internet connection? The roof’s falling in? The crown just came off your tooth? Your power went out? The toilet’s broken, heating fuel seems to have run out, lawnmower handle snapped off, cat’s throwing up? Ha. Try to talk to someone—anyone. Yeah, right. What am I thinking? That these people are here to serve you, since you’re paying for their services? Doh!!!!

3. Screech alarms. Oh, God, I hate these. And I don’t care what they are—the car alarm malfunctioning yet again, the smoke alarm going off because someone put too much cheese on the pizza, the seat belt or cell phone or pager beeper sounding endlessly—you name it, I hate it. In fact, I hate all loud, sudden noises, from fireworks exploding to balloons popping, truck exhaust backfiring, motorcycles roaring, alarms and timers going off, you name it. This is unnecessary and annoying. Stop… making… that… noise.

4. Commercials. I hate having a movie, program, or radio music interrupted by commercials. One minute, you’re engrossed in music or a plot unfolding. The next, you’re hearing all about HOWTOGETRIDOFGASORACIDREFLUXORCONSTIPATION or some equally inappropriate topic at the top of the pitch man’s lungs and as fast as he can possibly say it. We say, keep your personal problems to yourself, please. Discuss them with your doctor. But don’t subject us to them on TV or radio or anywhere else, for that matter. Gross!!!!! We’ve abandoned TV and radio completely—and with considerable regret—because we can’t take the barrage of grossness or time-wasting stupidity any longer. Now we watch movies courtesy of Netflix, and listen to our CD collection at home and while we’re driving. We get exactly what we want to see or hear, with no vulgar interruptions. Whew.

5. Billboards. Our friend Ben lives in a very beautiful area. Driving around looking at the gorgeous mountains, valleys, and rivers is a delight. Or it would be a delight, if the scenery weren’t obscured by endless billboards. I realize that folks, farmers especially, need ways to stretch their modest income to make ends meet, and that billboards—like cellphone towers—look like a source of free money. But oh, please! Couldn’t you all try to raise money by a different path—say, a “please prevent this billboard” campaign? Our friend Ben would be happy to contribute, and I’ll bet I wouldn’t be alone.

6. Late fees. Oh geez, it always seems like the credit card, electric, phone, cable, electric, and etc. etc. companies are out to get our friend Ben by slapping on late fees to their already exhorbitant bills, even if I pay them the day they’re supposedly due. Folks, listen up: Your original bills are about all any of us can handle. So cut us a break, please! Our friend Ben has a very simple solution to this situation: Please make all payments due the first of each month, rather than staggering them at compeletely unpredictable and easy-to-forget intervals. If we knew we had to pay all our bills on one easy-to-remember day, we could do it. Promise. No more missed payments, no more late fees. Is this rocket science? Hardly. So why don’t all the billing companies do it? Oh, wait, those late fees… free money for them! GRRRRRRRRRRRR.

7. Deadlines. Thinking about bill payment dates reminds our friend Ben of another hated annoyance, deadlines. Like many other professionals, from chefs to contractors, our friend Ben and Silence Dogood are always working under deadlines. Get this in by this date, finish this by this date, write this by this date, edit by this date, proof this by this date. Literally thousands of deadlines later, we both feel if we never had to meet another deadline in our entire lives, it would be too soon. We fantasize about winning the lottery and never having to face another deadline. Really, we’re not lazy—we just love the idea of working on our own schedules rather than someone else’s.

8. Cartoon voices. OMG!!! Whatever made the creators of cartoons feel that they had to give their characters such unnatural, annoying, high-pitched voices that they’d shatter glass?!! Our friend Ben has always hated animated cartoons (with the exception of “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” and as opposed to newspaper cartoons, of course). It might be because my parents forced us to OD on Disney when we were kids. Actually, maybe this one should have been “Disney” rather than “Cartoon voices.” Please, puh-leez, don’t ever ever ever bring up Mickey Mouse or the Mouseketeers around our friend Ben. God have mercy!

9. Cold rolls. Okay, the poor rolls are standing in here for any food that’s served at the wrong temperature: cold or lukewarm entrees, sides, potatoes, pasta, pizza, etc.; too-warm whipped cream, ice cream, trifle, puddings, iced tea, salads, margaritas, and so on; any food, in fact, that’s served at less than its perfect temperature. Oh, yuck! Who wants to eat that?!! Sodden French fries; cold scrambled eggs; fossilized toast; tragically cold BLT or mac’n’cheese or… Food, every dish, has a temperature at which it is perfect, be it a salad or a curry or a pie or a simple cup of coffee. Please folks, let’s make an effort to serve and enjoy each dish at its peak. Too-cold food is annoying. Too-hot food is excruciating. Don’t do that to us!!!

10. Flimsy goods. You slip on a pair of flip-flops and they immediately break. Your new wine-bottle opener develops a fatal injury after a single use. Your earrings, CD, pen, lampshade, running shoes, food-storage container: zippo. You’ve spent good money on this stuff, and it’s let you down bigtime. GRRRRRRR!!!! Even if you stay out of Wal-Mart and the innumerable dollar stores, you’re bound to encounter shoddy goods. How annoying!!!

And the bonus:

11. Solicitations. If you have a problem and try to reach someone to find a solution, forget it: You’ll run up against the automated voice. But just try to avoid the endless calls begging for donations to this and that, or the other auto-calls that are trying to sell you something or otherwise get you to part with your hard-earned money: Oh yeah. Think you’re safe because you put your number on all those no-call lists? Ha ha ha haaaaa!!!! They don’t apply to “charities.” So when the Shriners or police or God-knows-what come calling, you’ll still be taking the call. This goes for door-to-door solicitations like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, too. Leave us alone, please! If we want you, we’ll find you.

Your turn now! I’m sure there’s a whole dictionary’s worth I haven’t listed…



1. Mr. McGregor's Daughter - August 8, 2008

Plastic blister packages. They are nearly impossible to open without causing serious injury. There’s got to be a better way. Industrial mowers & gas powered blowers – way too loud. Did you know that credit card companies actually shorted the due date deadline? I call that deadline creep & it irks the heck out me. Last one, which is so pertinent this year: recorded political phone messages. I hate election year.

Good ones!!! And they remind me of another pet peeve—“child-proof” packaging. Have you ever tried to open a “child-proof” aspirin bottle while fighting a blinding headache? Thanks too much, *&%$#@!!! pharmaceutical companies!!!

2. Benjamin - August 8, 2008

Ok, here we go. My wife and I are in the car in Lincoln, just got back from a seven hour drive to Minnesota Monday night, just picked up the cats from boarding. Heavy rush hour traffic, stop and go, nearing a traffic light. There is JUST BARELY, but NOT REALLY enough room for a car to fit in front of mine. So, this jackass in the right line pulls his four door sedan over in front of me, no jerks it over hard, and I honk my horn THREE TIMES, LONG AND HARD. I was exhausted, and this pissed me off, no consideration at all, and NO TURN SIGNAL. Eventually, he pulled over to turn left at the light, but paused just long enough to stick his hand out the driver’s window to flick me off as I passed him. KISS MY ASS. (Glad I didn’t get shot, though.)

But, for something more general, I hate warm seats. Gross. Disgusting. Like sitting in warm pee. Yuck yuck yuck.

Ha!!! (Re: seats.) I’m right there with you on the road rage and guns, though.

3. deb - August 8, 2008

Completely unnessesary additional packaging. Have you seen what they have done to the packaging on childrens’ toys. Incredibly complicated to get into and a bunch of wasted plastic.

Yes, that’s a great one, Deb!!! Our tiny little local grocery puts locally-grown produce on sale every week–in TWO layers of packaging instead of the usual one. What are they thinking?!!

4. Curmudgeon - August 10, 2008

Children that can’t behave as well as my dog. Noisy upstairs neighbors–with children who can’t behave as well as my dog. Karaoke machines–especially when they belong to noisy upstairs neighbors and are used after midnight to quiet temper tantrums of child who can’t behave as well as my dog.

Uh, yeah, I definitely see your point. Guess that’s why I always lived on the top floor when I had apartments! (And why I was so thrilled when I finally got a house… )

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