The Seven Stupid Habits of Highly Annoying People (a disenbrained rant)

August 15, 2011

Some people are OK. For instance, you are seven months pregnant and you just boarded the bus or train. The moppy-hair kid with the PSP takes note, invites you to have his seat while he disembowels opponents on Mortal Kombat, standing. He’s not so bad and chances are you won’t spend the next 30 minutes developing increasingly vile scenarios by which he meets his inevitable doom. A win-win situation for the both of you.

However, many (most?) of the people you encounter throughout the rest of your day are probably less palatable. The world we live in has spawned a race of people who bond together in silent accord over a set of behaviors (habits) which are the topic of this week’s posting. It’s not that these people are malicious (although some certainly are), rather, this subsection of humanity has devolved into a sort of self-unaware conglomerate of energy consuming cells seemingly bent on creating a less habitable world for us all. By consciously choosing not to be cognizant of their actions (or more importantly, the impact of their actions) they have laid the foundation for a society which progressively cares little for the common good in preference for a type of F U Individuality that increasingly defines our societal fabric. Some of these habits are merely a nuisance. Others generate the sort of vitriol that, over the long stretch of history, may effectively Darwinesque them into a forgotten oblivion. The reader should feel free to parse the following habits into appropriate buckets, and, if a responsible citizen, should feel a sense of obligation to call out offenders when they act in such a manner. Together, we the denizens of a better future, hold strong under a flailing banner of optimism and the prospect that tomorrow can be better if we manage to wash the following patterns of behavior from civil society. I present to you , in no specific order, The Seven Stupid Habits of Highly Annoying People:

  1. Obsessive Social Media Updating – The inane details of your pathetic life are readily available to every poor sot who felt obligated to return the favor of a connect (be it a circle inclusion, a friending or a Twitter connect). What prompts you to think that it is a good idea to share, with several hundred people, useless nuggets of trivial data about your sad little world? Your “breakfast tasted great” huh? Do you think I really give a shit? Did I make that breakfast for you? Are you complimenting my culinary skills? No, to all of the above. You simply had a little extra time on your hands and thought it would be appropriate to share this micro revelation with the world. Are you bored? Do you simply need attention? Are you in search of confirmation? Are you fishing for information about other peoples’ breakfasts because you have absolutely nothing better to do? Did your decision to make this announcement cause you to bump another task into the ‘incomplete’ pile? If yes, I’d love to know what profundity played second fiddle to this announcement. Actually, no I wouldn’t and neither would any of your ‘friends’, jackass. Next time you are in a restaurant and decide it’s a good idea to share your feeling about the meal, stand-up and announce in a big, bold voice to all restaurant patrons your thoughts. Consider the looks they return and assume that people on the other end of the social media continuum are expressing the exact same response to your update. Bon Appetite.

    pointless facebook update

    Ms. Ham, I'm surprised you even know what pants are

  2. Honking Immediately at the Start of a Green Light – I’m still unclear as to why this isn’t against the law. Oh, wait, it is and for a reason no doubt. Do you think that the people in front of you are intentionally not moving because they want to sit idle in their car wasting petrol? Are you concerned that other drivers may be blind, or perhaps just as stupid as you are? What if everyone participating in this behavior? Wouldn’t that be enjoyable where every time a light turned green a 100 decibels of screech raped everyones’ eardrums. Maybe you would even prefer to extend this brilliant methodology to stop signs? Did it not occur to you that it takes a least a fraction of a second to remove one’s foot from the brake in order to place it on the accelerator? Are you capable of executing two mutually exclusive tasks in the same point along the space-time continuum? No? Then why do you expect that a queue of five drivers in front of you are simultaneously capable of this impossible feat? Next time you ask this of me, I’m going to put my car in park, get out, rip your antenna off with my teeth then beat you senselessly with it. Fair Warning.
  3. Saying Something, Anything During a Meeting – Silence can be golden. An opportunity for thoughts to simmer, to marinate. A chance for next level thinking to take root and blossom after deliberate consideration of points. Unfortunately for you, the half-second of silence provided ample opportunity to reveal to everyone that you do in fact have a functioning pulse (often to the dismay of many). It’s not as if your contribution added anything valuable to the process, you simply felt it necessary to be heard even if what you said was a mere reconfiguration of the words in the previous utterance. Your aim is not knowledge-expansion, bridge-building, clarification or empathy, rather, it is simply a ploy to register your physical presence in the room. A fart, burp, groan or smacking noise as a result of a self-punch could have been registered with the same effect. Nobody in the room gained anything from your decision to speak, instead, you have managed to (at least minimally) derail thought processes as people now must take a brief pause to consider why it remains advantageous for society to permit you to consume limited oxygen resources in these times of creeping over-population. Next time you are in a meeting and a moment of silence descends upon the participants, do yourself a favor by picking up your laptop and smashing yourself in the face effectively registering your presence to all. This way, instead of people fretting for a their ration of limited oxygen, they can ponder the prospect of you hitting yourself too hard, rendering yourself unconscious and unable to continue your participation in the current and possibly (hopefully) future meetings.
  4. Leaving Long, Instructive Voicemail Greetings – Thomas Edison first applied for a U.S. patent for voice recording technology in 1877. Fastforward 134 years and it is fair to say that, as a civilization, we have had ample time to understand the purpose for and methodology of leaving a voice message.  If your incoming caller is in anyway confused about what to do and requires instructions on how to leave a voice message, you should reevaluate who you keep in your circle of friends, and perhaps even consider administering selective jockpunts. I think it would be prudent for us all to cut down the VM greeting to a simple “Thanks for calling, pls leave a message”. If the person on the other end gets confused and suddenly decides to eat his handset instead of leaving a message, consider yourself a useful societal filter, effectively weeding out communication from people who have less sense than a Raisinet. If you choose not to shave down your greeting message, I’m going to have to assume one of two things: (A) You think I enjoy wasting my time listening to stupid instructions from you and your automated lady friend (B) Your decision to leave said message is a calculated assessment of my intelligence level. In either case, I will take the following action to remedy the situation (and to further mitigate stress upon my system): contact everyone you have labelled as a mortal enemy and do my best to become a sincere companion of theirs. We will then pool together and develop a program which reroutes all your calls to Miss Cleo’s line discouraging anyone from ever trying to call you again.  
  5. Setting the Car Alarm to Hyper-Sensitive  –  Nobody wants to steal your 1989 Honda Civic with chrome rims and a broken exhaust system. The fact that you adhered the rear spoiler to your trunk with twine and duct tape should have tipped you off that you drive a worthless piece of crap, unjustified for any level of protection. Why do you feel it is necessary for your car to make a noise when the garbage truck rolls by? Are you in some way competing? I’d like to propose a benchmark, a sort of threshold if you will. If your car alarm is worth more than 3% of the value of your car, you should really take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are capable of making judicious financial decisions. More importantly though (for the rest of the hearing public) please ask yourself the following question: “Is there a direct correlation between the marginal volume of my car alarm and the increasing impetus for a random citizen to intervene should that same car alarm sound?” If you don’t understand this question, research has told me that the best method of car security for your particular situation would be to leave a half-dozen king cobras on the dashboard of your car as they will certainly be a more effective deterrent. I hope those subwoofers destroy your hearing rendering you one step closer to complete biological failure.

    snakes on a car

    pythons are good, but cobras are more effective

  6. Not Getting Out of the Way  – Perhaps the KING of HABITS for the completely self-unaware individual, and, unfortunately, one which makes an appearance in multiple aspects of daily life. Be it at the grocery store, on the road, in a parking lot, on a sidewalk, the supremely self-unaware individual is just that; unaware that they are blocking many other people with their ignorance. They clog up the fast lane, they’re blind to the fact that their shopping cart is preventing anyone else from moving in the aisle, and they can’t seem to grasp the concept that other people move at different paces along the sidewalk. It’s frustrating. It’s rampant. It should have some penalty attached to it. For God’s sake, have some sense of self or at least be cognizant of the fact the you are not the only person occupying space on planet earth. This mentality (or lack thereof) even extends to things such as not stunning your phone at appropriate times (in a movie theatre, funeral, during a speech, etc). Is it really possible that you haven’t quite learned how to properly use that electronic device, or are you simply just the kind of asshole that put his singular interest above the collective interests of impacted hundreds? Either way, society would be better off without you. Your penalty? Each time you block or otherwise disturb more than 2 people at once, the blocked/disturbed people are permitted to set fire to whatever object has assisted you in the offense. Your cellphone? A couple squirts of kerosene and a match. Your car? Molotov cocktail. Your grocery cart? Lighter fluid in aisle 5, matches right next to it. We should all take notes from this man as he is truly and innovator:  
  7. Littering – Yep, good ‘ol fashion littering. The sort of misdemeanor crime which screams “I’m still several chromosomes shy of 46 and I advertise this to all by revealing my inability to delineate where I should shit from where I should eat.”It is nothing short of amazing that there are seemingly so many people in a civilized society that haven’ t grasped the importance of separating these duties. I think stiffer penalties should be employed (and aggressively enforced) which not only impact the wallet of the littering offender but also create a perspective which can be used to teach the ignorant person. Specifically, a law proposal: one room in the offender’s home shall be filled to the ceiling with rubbage from the local landfill. The refuse must stay in place for a period of 30 days after which, the garbage is to be extracted by a clean up crew at the litterer’s expense. We can’t (yet) improve the biological condition of these criminals (they will remain chromosomally challenged for the foreseeable future), although, we can take steps to increase their awareness by providing them with some practical experience in the impacts of their stupidity.
    penalty for littering

    penalty for littering

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    I wrote a book. At $2.99, it’s a freakin’ bargain. Click the image below to learn more:

    debut novel Where's Unimportant

    Fortunately, the book is an Indie project, so your hard earned money won’t further enrich media-controlling assholes like this guy:

    Sadly, for many, Murdoch controls what media you consume

    Sadly, for many, Murdoch controls the media you consume...do you know how expansive his empire is?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corporation

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On Restraining Oneself From Punching the Ice Cream Truck Guy in the Nose

March 30, 2011

Spring in New York City can be a magical time. As the painfully cold winter melts underfoot and the parks begin showing their colors, people sprout spontaneously from the sidewalks, pooling together, a reverie of urban rebirth. Fresh air, high spirits and solar-fueled energy hang over the city creating an affable tone seen clearly through the unusual frequency of smiling faces and selfless yielding. Don’t get me wrong here, you are still going to get flipped-off and honked at for not flooring it immediately when the light turns green, but, the vitriol feels less poisonous, a little less caustic. That finger still pops up, but, it’s not quite as angry as that mid-winter finger, rigid and icy-cold, looking like a spear ready to attack. Nope, springtime is in the air and brotherhood leaches through that shedding winter skin of many.

Unfortunately, it’s not all budding roses and smiling faces in Gotham. The warming temperatures not only bring out the frolicking children and lazy-eye parents, but, they also bring out a cadre of annoyances bent on disturbing the relative peace permeating the streets. Depending on your location in the city and the draws specific to that area, you may find yourself at conflict with the aspirations of a hardened few, brazen and determined to fulfill their agenda regardless of the cost to tranquility.

Stroll through Union Square and you are likely to be verbally accosted by crazy, bible-thumping zealots screaming bloody apocalypse to all. Take a late-afternoon walk through Park Slope and you could be bombarded in numerous locations by self-righteous, assertive hipsters hitting you up for donations to save whales or promote veganism. Play the role of tourist and navigate your way through a maze of aggressive street vendors on Canal Street yelling at you to buy their fake colognes or handbags. Or, come to my neighborhood in Sunset Park and be driven mad by some asshole in a Mister Softee ice cream truck who insists on parking directly in front of your building and blasting his shrill, looping 20-second attract track for hours at a time.

It’s painful, relentless and drowns out any other audible noise in the area. It stays with you, and, even when you can’t hear it you think you might be hearing it, so, you mute all other sounds attempting to hear it only to find that it has blithely attached itself to your subconscious brain, only audible in the deep recesses of your mind.

Appeals to reason with the truck operator are futile. Calls to the police are dismissed. Staging a protest is eccentric. Vandalism is a punishable offence, and, so is murder. But, at some point, the Mister Softee jingle consumes you, it corrodes your better parts, causing you to act in completely irrational ways. The following is just one man’s story:

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Check out my debut novel, Where’s Unimportant at http://www.danielshortell.com. Buy it, and, even if it sucks, you can use it to beat the shit out of your unfriendly neighborhood ice cream jerk.