What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. CVS. They’re getting great acclaim for making the decision to stop selling cigarettes. It’s their business, I say God bless if that’s what they want to do. I’m left wondering if they’re also planning to stop selling Coke, Doritos, Snickers bars, and all the other items on their shelves that have been identified as cancer causing, bad for you, or just socially “inappropriate.” Let’s be honest with ourselves at least. CVS is a drug store. Their whole raison d’être is selling medications, many of which themselves can cause untold amounts of harm even when taken as directed. Call me cynical, but I don’t see them taking a principled stand in the name of public health so much as I see them making a public relations and marketing move.

2. Bugs. No, not the kind of creepy crawlies that sneak into the house and needs dispatched with the closest available newspaper, magazine, or shoe. I’m more agitated by the kind that live in apps and cause mysterious and damned near impossible to track down battery drain on my phone. Thanks to these gremlins, I get to spend a few hours backing up everything I have on my phone, tricking the thing into believing it’s once again fresh out of the box, and then reinstalling each app one by one so I don’t accidentally reintroduce whatever power hungry gremlin resided in the old version. For a device that “just works,” I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time poking around under the hood to keep things humming along without the need to recharge it every four hours.

3. Passwords. It took me five attempts to log into my own damned website today. That’s mostly because two days ago the site forced me to create a new one. It couldn’t be any old password, of course, but one that was at least eight characters included upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, special characters, hieroglyphics, quadratic equations, and the square root of pi rounded to the nearest non-repeating decimal. I get it. Internet security is important. It’s so important that apparently the best way we can manage not to lose all our secrets to the Chinese, or the Russians, or the NSA is creating the illusion of a random string of characters. If security is as important as the internet thinks it is, can someone please explain to me why we’re not using retina scanners, fingerprint readers, blood samples, or something, anything that would be more convenient than needing to remember a new 742 character password every third day?

Testing… Testing… 1… 2… Pee

As a condition of employment, I’ve always known my position was one in which there could be random sampling for drug use, but I’ve never actually talked to anyone who had had that particular privilege. This morning, I became the bright, shining example of statistical sampling. At 7:30, my boss walked in, chuckled, and handed me a sheet of paper saying, “you are ordered to report forthwith to the address specified below and submit to urinalyses for drug use.” From the time the paper was placed in my hand, I had two hours to report and submit.

I’ve never claimed to be a saint, particularly when I was teaching, and yes, I sampled non-medicinal narcotics on occasion. I never really liked the buzz all that well… something about being that out of control never rested well with me. For the most part, I’d stick with alcohol as my drug of choice. I even admitted my youthful indiscretions in the initial vetting process for work and was absolved of my misdeeds. But still, getting a notice to prepare for inspection, sent the proverbial shiver down my back. Even though I know I’ve done nothing that will get me in trouble, there’s still the nagging fear of what if they mix up my sample with the guy from the next room or what if that poppy seed muffin last week was more than just poppy seeds. It’s totally ridiculous for those ideas to pop into my head, but there they were all the same.

And just for the record, there is something decidedly undignified about carrying a specimen cup of your own urine down a crowded hallway… There really needs to be a better system for that.