1. Pulling it out of your ass. There are any number of things that you should never have to worry about pulling out of your ass – gerbils, light bulbs, the usual. If you spend enough time making the hard to do seem easy and the impossible just a touch harder than that, sooner or later people will come to expect it… and then that time when you can’t deliver there will be hell to pay. The longer I serve the bureaucracy, I realize Chief Engineer Scott wasn’t actually a miracle worker. He was an expert at pulling things out of his ass and had an unlimited pool of good luck. Most pools aren’t nearly so limitless.
2. Panhandlers. How high would you have to be to try getting money from me when I’m pumping gas? The fired and true death stare wasn’t effective, but the growled command to “step. back.” apparently got his attention. His mouth worked, trying to form words while his addled mind struggled mightily to come up with something to say and then he did finally backed away slowly. I’m not saying I would beat someone to death using the end of a running gasoline hose like a medieval flail… but I’m not saying I wouldn’t if properly provoked.
3. People. I know many of you will find this hard to believe, but I legitimately want to like people. I want to assume the best about them and hell, maybe even be friendly… and then I go out into the world and actually meet people going about their business and find myself wondering how the hell they function in society and how quickly I can get away from them and back into the peaceful, access controlled confines of Fortress Jeff. Every day that ticks by seems to leave me with that much less patience for suffering fools… and yet the sheer volume of fools that must be suffered appears to grow exponentially.
1. The bulldog whine. I don’t know where it came from but for the last few weeks Winston has been a whiner. Whines while I’m fixing his food. Whines when he wants an ear scratch. And whines at four in the morning because he’s bored. It only seems unusual because for most of his life, Winston has been a remarkably quiet dog – aside from the expected bulldog snoring and snorting. If he were doing it to get my attention when he needed to go out that would be one thing, but as far as I can tell it’s mostly just because he’s awake and thinks everyone else should be too.
2. Begging. I’ve had a bitch of a week. I’m getting my ass kicked from pillar to post and it’s not over yet. In the 30 minutes I try to squeeze in a lunch and some time to mentally reset, I’m sorry I don’t want to run the gauntlet of “spare a dollar” panhandlers sitting outside my favorite gas station/sandwich shop. I’m sure they all have very sad stories and they’re all very deserving people, but I’m busting my ass over here in the hopes that it’ll keep the rest of me above water. My observation has been they’re mostly just sitting on theirs looking for someone else to pay the bill. Fuck that noise.
3. Indoor voices. If you work in a relatively confined space with twenty other people, it might be a good idea to go ahead and use your indoor voice. If your indoor voice proves insufficient to carry all the way across the room to your intended recipient, that would be a good time to get up out of your swivel chair and walk over to continue your conversation at an appropriate volume. Or you could just shout at each other. Either way.
1. Intersection Panhandlers. I’ve seen the five of you working the same intersection for 14 months… but only when the weather is agreeable. I’ve seen you getting bottles of water, soda, and bags of chips out of the truck that cost more than mine did on more than one occasion. I’ve even watched you swap signs, thinking that maybe you’d have better luck as a homeless vet than an unemployed single father. While I appreciate your ability to find a niche and milk it for all its worth, the next time you’re tempted to step off the curb in front of me just as the light’s turning green, try to keep in mind that while your family might appreciate the insurance settlement, you’ll be too flat and squishy to enjoy it.
2. Congressman Todd Akin. You, sir, are an asshat. Your lack of knowledge of basic health science and general lack of tact are inconsistent with your elected position in government. There are plenty of ways to espouse wackadoodle positions without sounding like a giant douche on national television. It’s probably best if you STFU and start making plans for your new career as a former Member of Congress, unless, of course, the fine people of the State of Missouri go ahead and elect you anyway… in which case they’ll get exactly the kind of senator they deserve.
3. The Prince’s New Clothes. Harry went to Vegas, got naked, and was dumb enough to let it get captured on “film.” I get that he’s a HRH and all, but can anyone that’s ever spent a weekend in Vegas say that they’d want some of the less noble moments of their trip preserved for posterity and flashed around the globe as an alleged bit of news. Like so many pop culture “scandles,” maybe I just miss the so what of it all. The guy’s in Vegas, he’s having a good time, no one got hurt, and I say God bless… but I don’t really need to see the pictures.