By Jim Marquardt
As we enter a new year, we definitely should count our blessings, nevertheless there are certain seemingly minor things that I find particularly irritating. Psychologists say we’ll feel better if we vent about them. Andy Rooney gets paid a lot to do it every Sunday and look how happy he is (okay, bad example). See if you experience these same annoyances.
How come there are so many depressing commercials on the evening news? They’re all about diseases and they give them all acronyms: ABC or DEF or GHI to make them easier to remember, as if you could forget. (We need not mention the all-time favorite –hint, it features two naked people sitting outdoors in side-by-side bathtubs.) If you have one of these new diseases, you certainly want to find relief and I’m all for it. The good news is that, ta-daa, the commercials announce the cure (pay no attention to the side effects). Be sure to talk to your doctor about it, he’s probably not watching enough TV.
We live in the land of plenty (or we used to), but there’s a downside. How come when we go to Rite Aid to buy toothpaste or hair gel we have to study an entire aisle to find what we want. Do we really need 40 different types of toothpaste or mouthwash or dental floss?
How come no one has developed a GPS for the supermarket? When Ann sends me to buy pignoli nuts for the latest Ina Garten recipe, I spend more time looking for them than I do driving to King Kullen. And you need to take a prep course for the cereal aisle. Are trans fats worse than saturated fats, or is it the other way around?
How come if I can’t remember my password, the company I’ve reached online won’t allow me to buy its product? I’ve gone on the Internet countless times to order an item only to get the command to log in with “your user name and password.” I try to guess the password but it usually doesn’t go through. All caps? No caps? Initial caps? Mother’s maiden name? Then, though I’m willing to start all over and apply for a new user name and password, up pops a “gotcha” that someone is already using that name (me) and they can’t accept me again. So you can’t buy our product.
How come we can’t find a microwave that opens on the left, instead of on the right? We have a spot on the kitchen counter that would be perfect for a microwave, but only if the door opened the other way. Believe it or not, in our land of endless choices you cannot buy a microwave that opens on the left. We looked and looked to no avail.
How come so many companies staff their “help” phones with people with heavy accents? I’m not prejudiced and I want everyone to have a job, but when I needed help for a computer problem I had to ask the woman in Calcutta to repeat everything she said.
OK, I’m a little hard of hearing, but how come my hearing aids cost five or six times more than the computer I’m working on, and far more than an iPad that can access the world? Even cell phones that cost maybe a hundred dollars tell you where you are on earth, where you can find a good Italian restaurant, and help you send tweets to 350 close friends. But it costs thousands to buy those ugly, plastic thingies to put in my ear and I still can’t hear in the Italian restaurant.
How come during Fashion Week the New York Times runs photos of models wearing clothes that would get them mocked in a dive bar in the East Village? Do real women ever wear those outfits? And how come all those models, and I include guy models, always look so unhappy and neurotic? Maybe just being made to wear those clothes brings on an attack of ennui.
Talking about the New York Times, we keep trying to understand that extra Art Section that arrives on the weekend. How come so much “Art” is ridiculous, yet gets discussed ad nauseam? Who decides what is art, and if it is art, is it any good? Now there’s a new term, “Installation.” It’s great for people who can’t draw or chisel a sculpture yet pile left-over scrap in a corner and call themselves “artists.”
How come the “phone trees” that every company uses to keep you from talking to live people never include the question that you need answered? I hate it when I have to “press 15 for all other inquiries.”
How come economics isn’t a required subject in high school and college so we could begin to understand “credit default swaps”?
How come the dialogue in movies is so hard to understand? It’s either Eastern European accents, or some kid actor with too much hair who mumbles and whispers. Can we ask for sub-titles on all our movies?
How come the results of your medical test that were supposed to be ready Friday won’t be ready until Monday, so you have all weekend to think about it?
How come people who work for doctors are busier than the doctors and a lot more cranky? Has anyone ever told them that you are something called a “customer?”
So call me to vent about your most annoying irritations. If you’re put on hold, remember that your call is important and will be answered in the order in which it was received.