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 Things That Bug Me

HumorBy Dave Eriqat

Tall Fescue grass – “Devil Grass”

This stuff is either the spawn of Satan or the product of maniacal minds within the R&D departments of lawnmower manufacturers. I have never seen grass grow as fast as this stuff. In just one week, the grass grows about 4 inches! Neglected, this grass can easily grow more than a foot tall.

I would not permit my little nephew to play in the grass for fear that he would be swallowed up by it and never seen again.

Dirty money

You go to a store to buy something and give them a crisp new bill. But, miraculously, the bills they give you in change look as though someone used them as toilet paper...



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Do they have a special slot in the cash drawer for disgusting, crumpled, soiled bills to give as change?


Grocery stores

Why is it that nearly every time I go to the grocery store, there's an error in the bill? And usually it's in the store's favor. Is that a coincidence? The common errors are: the price at the register is higher than the price on the shelf; the price on the shelf is not for the product nearest the price, but for a different product; I buy a cheaper variety of, say tomatoes, but get charged for a more expensive variety; there are limits, posted in microscopically small print, on the number of items you can buy at the posted price.

I think all these restrictions, exceptions, and poor signage are deliberately intended to confound the customers and tip the balance of errors in the store's favor to increase profits. Although the store can plausibly deny it, the fact that the errors are so common and so often in the store's favor leads me to believe that it's a deliberate plan. If these were innocent, random errors I would expect to see them at every store. But at Costco, where I buy most of my groceries, such errors are extremely rare. How can one otherwise explain that discrepancy?

And what about the organization? The other day I spent 10 minutes looking for canned beans. I found a handful of beans in the "Hispanic" foods section. But the main section for canned beans was near the pasta, not near the canned vegetables, which I would think was the logical place for them. Instead of beverages being located in one place, the stores have alcoholic beverages in one place, fruit juices in another, dairy beverages in another, and bottled water in yet another place. It makes sense to me to put tortillas near the bread, but not to the grocery stores. Tortillas are near the snack foods. I spend half my life wandering up and down the isles looking for things. Why don't they have a directory, preferably a computerized one, that shows where in the store an item is located? The labor savings alone from employees not having to show customers where things are located would pay for such a system.


“How is everything?”

When waiters see you stuff your mouth full of food and dart across the restaurant with laser-guided precision to ask this seemingly obligatory question. Is it a law of etiquette that they must ask this question at least once during your meal? And if they fail to catch you off guard the first time they ask this question, you can bet they'll try again. I think flailing my arms to get the waiter's attention would suffice to indicate that I need something.

I think from now on my general rule will be to deduct a dollar from the tip for each time the waiter asks me that question.


Stickers on fruits and vegetables

I so enjoy mangling my fruit while fruitlessly trying to peel off those damned stickers. Of course, the adhesive residue does add a distinctive flavor to the fruit. Sometimes the stickers adhere so relentlessly, especially on tomatoes, that I have to actually slice them off with a knife.


Tough onion rings

Where do they find these onions? You cannot bite through them with your teeth. If you attempt to do so you end up yanking the entire onion ring out of its batter coating. They’re so tough that you need poultry shears to cut them. There must be a special bin in the store for these, marked “Onion ring onions.”


Tomatoes on sandwiches

If God had wanted tomatoes on sandwiches he would have created tomato flour. Tomatoes make the sandwich slip apart, they drip water all over the place, and they make the bread soggy. Tomatoes belong in salads.


Sloppy food

Some people don’t mind having their food drip all over the place and run down their arms. I do. Of course, some people don't mind having black gunk embedded under their fingernails either.


People who won’t change lanes to pass me on the freeway, but when I change lanes they pass

Do they think I enjoy having them tailgate me? Do they not realize that they can turn the steering wheel and go around me? On either side? Or maybe they think that by compressing the air between our cars, the air pressure will increase and make me go faster.


Product packaging

The people who design product packages obviously don’t use those packages themselves. I mean, whoever invented those indestructible molded plastic packages is a sadist.

And what about those stupid containers designed to pour liquids but which end up dripping the liquid all down the side of the container? I love those "new and improved" paper cartons that have a screw top. What was wrong with the old, pure paper cartons with the folding spout? The new cartons are more complicated, more expensive, more wasteful, more difficult to pour or drink from. They're hardly an improvement.

Or how about "resealable" plastic bags that simply don't work? Why bother to make something that doesn't work?

How about those products that are wrapped in layer upon layer of packaging material. You purchase a product that's in a bottle, which is enclosed in a box, which is wrapped with cellophane, and then it's placed in a plastic bag at the checkout counter. What a waste!

Or how about those stupid stickers on CD and DVD cases? It's bad enough that you can hardly remove them without leaving a sticky residue on the case. But the manufacturers of DVDs see fit to put not just one, not just two, but three such stickers on the case! What are they trying to prove? Do they think that three stickers will prevent theft, while only two is not a sufficient deterrent?


Junk mail

Three quarters of my mail is junk mail, which goes straight into the recycling bin, unopened. The Post Office expends tremendous effort delivering all that unwanted mail at discounted rates, and then they wonder why they're losing money. (In a way, I'm grateful to the Post Office for offering discounted rates because I've noticed that the value of the mail is proportional to the amount of postage shown on the envelope. The lower the postage, the less valuable the mail. Check it out yourself.)

Meanwhile, the rest of us enjoy higher postal rates in order to subsidize big businesses which send us all that junk mail, our important mail is nicely compacted by all that junk mail that's crammed into the mailbox, and we get our exercise by disposing of all that junk mail. And if you carelessly discard one of those pre-approved credit card offers with the rest of the junk mail, you may find yourself the victim of identity theft if some opportunistic ne'er-do-well uses it to obtain a credit card in your name.

I say everyone should pay the same postage rates, regardless of volume. That would stabilize postage rates and significantly reduce the amount of junk mail we have to dispose of. I just read an article that said the Post Office was removing underperforming mailboxes — those receiving fewer than 25 pieces of mail a day. While that seems like a sensible idea on the surface, considering that the Post Office cites competition with the Internet as one cause of its declining revenue, removing mailboxes will simply accelerate the Post Office’s irrelevancy. If they raised rates on junk mailers instead of removing mailboxes they might have a chance of survival.

Twice a week, like clockwork, I receive bundles of junk mail. I wish the delivery of my own mail were as reliable as that of these junk mail packets. I’m seriously considering asking the Post Office to change its motto to: “Neither rain, nor snow, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds of delivering junk mail.”

That our society expends so much effort and resources manufacturing, delivering, and disposing of something that 99% of its recipients do not want, is not a commendable application of our affluence.


Flyers wedged in my front door

Evidently, the people who deliver this trash don't think it's unsightly when my front door is plastered with flyers protruding from every exposed crack and crevice. To me it's simply trash that goes straight into the trash bin. What amazes me is the determination of some companies who advertise in this way. Two companies in particular — California Custom Logs and Best Window Tinting — have besieged me with flyers, delivering at least one every month. I can assure them that I would never buy their products after their annoying marketing practices. And a third company, Avon, doesn't even bother to drop their catalog on the front doorstep. No, each week they just toss it from a speeding car onto my driveway!

Call me a curmudgeon, but ever since I posted this sign on my front door [Please NO Trespassing, Soliciting, Flyers], I haven't had to remove a single flyer.


Earwigs

I don't mind most bugs, as long as they stay outside where they belong. I'm especially fond of spiders, unlike most people. However, there is one insect that really gives me the creeps: earwigs. I think what disturbs me the most about these critters is that they have pincers on their behinds! And when they're alarmed, they walk around with their pincers open wide and erect, as if they're just waiting to pinch something. Gross!

Scorpions, which have stingers on their behinds, are considerably more elegant.

Recently, I clipped a half dozen or so roses off my rose bushes and took them into the house to put in water. I placed the roses on the countertop while I got something to put them in. After a couple of minutes I noticed several earwigs crawling around the countertop. Then, when the earwigs saw me, each one scurried back into its rose, as if it were its home! It was so horrifying that I nearly lost my cookies. Needless to say, those roses did not remain in the house.


Inconsiderate people

It really bugs me when I go out of my way for people, which I often do, and they don't even recognize it, let alone appreciate it. Then, when I expect just the slightest courtesy from them, it's nowhere to be found. I'm aghast at the lack of courtesy and civility in society today.

It seems as though our technologies — cars, VCRs, telephones, e-mail — have insulated us to such a degree that today individuals feel as though they're the only ones on earth, that they don't need to be civil anymore. As long as they're safely ensconced behind the smoked glass windows of their hulking SUVs, people feel free to be as nasty as they want to be.

Sadly, the government, which ought to be setting a positive example, is the most uncivil of all.


People in general

Who needs 'em? Most people just want to squeeze everything out of you that they can until you're used up. Then they'll casually discard you like an empty tube of toothpaste and move on to the next sucker.

My preferred companions, in order of preference, are machines, plants, animals, and if it simply cannot be avoided, people.

I agree with Marty Crane on the TV show "Frazier," who says: "People are born bad, and just get worse."


Telephones

I hate it when the telephone rings right after I sit down to eat a meal. I don’t answer it.

It annoys me — of course, what doesn't annoy me — when people call me and don’t leave a message. They’ll invest 30 seconds dialing the phone and waiting for it to ring four times, but then hang up as soon as they hear the recorded message. Why don’t they invest another 5 seconds and leave a message? If their call was not important enough to warrant leaving a message, then why were they calling me in the first place? Just to waste my time gabbing on the phone?

I cringe when I return home and the damned light is blinking on the answering machine because the phone calls recorded on it are seldom welcome. I suppose I should just get rid of the damned thing.


Andy Rooney

He's an amateur curmudgeon compared to me.


My upstairs neighbor

I don't know how many people live in the apartment above me, but it sounds like a bloody circus up there, what with the stomping footsteps, apparent jumping jacks, galloping, and banging noises all day and all night long.

I've become so exasperated that I wrote a poem about the neighbors upstairs. I know, I 'm a curmudgeon. Duh!



I’m A Little Horsey

I’m a little horsey
I trot around my house all day
I don’t believe in courtesy
I have a right to make some hay

My hoofs are really special,
Just like the rest of me
But shod them in some shiny horseshoes,
And they can really sing

Walking softly’s nice,
But galloping is better
Cause special horses such as I
Don’t deserve a tether

So if you hear me galloping loudly,
Don’t protest too boldly
Cause making horsey noise comes naturally
And prancing round’s so showy


************


Copyright 2006 by Dave Eriqat

Visit his site at:
http://dave.eriqat.name/index.html

Reprinted with permission





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