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Things That Really Aggravated Me This Month

For years, I was very easily aggravated by even the slightest provocation.  And I’m not sure if it’s a function of getting older, or some sort of maturing process, or just becoming wiser, but for the most part, a lot of things don’t bother me any more.  Too many items in the express lane, not using a turn signal…things that used to make me irate no longer do.  I think at some point, I realized that about 92% of the country is dangerously dumb, so I have a lot more tolerance.  That being said, I have a few observations about things I’ve encountered over the past week that managed to, at the very least, perturb me enough to express them in blog format.

ESPN:  At the risk of losing my executive bathroom key in the Guys Club, but is there a bigger waste of time than watching ESPN?  At one point, it was a necessity.  That was before the world wide internet was en vogue.  If you want to watch highlights, you can now find a highlight of any sporting event online in just a few clicks.  Now, ESPN (and this extends to all of sports talk radio) is basically an exercise of self-importance.  For example, last week, Drew Brees signed a giant contract, and ESPN had to get some “expert” on the phone to discuss the intricacies.  I can understand if, say, the president had a tumor and CNN contacted the foremost expert in the field to discuss.  It’s a friggin’ football contract.  Some team is going to give some guy x dollars over x years.  What’s so complicated that requires outside experts being called in?  So aggravating.  And I know the answer is to not watch ESPN, but the problem is that ESPN and sports talk foster a feeling of expertise among everyday schlubs who feel the need to engage me in conversation about whatever they see on ESPN.  I’d much prefer to discuss nine hundred other topics.

The Morally Outraged:  Lots of stuff in the news lately, but two stories have jumped out at me–Chik-Fil-A and Penn State.  Some executive at Chik-Fil-A makes comments against gay marriage, and Twitter and Facebook come to life with people promising boycotts.  First of all, as was pointed out to me, Chik-Fil-A has always been closed on Sundays in a religious gesture, so the view should not come as a surprise.  Second, why would anyone take their moral guidance from a chicken store?  Third, the food there isn’t very good for you anyway.  I was going to go last week, and I calculated that eight nuggets, small fries, and a shake would be 31 of daily allotment of 42 weight watchers points?  Shouldn’t it have been long boycotted on some anti-obesity platform.  Finally, just because you eat there doesn’t mean you’re somehow supporting the stance of its president.  Maybe you just want a chicken sandwich and some fries.  Get off your soapbox and get some BBQ sauce.  (For the record, I am highly supportive of gay marriage.)  Then came the big Penn State story.  Without argument, the abuse of children may be the most heinous of any crimes, and the football-at-all-costs culture that allowed the abuse to continue was reprehensible.  But really, unless you’re the family of one of the abuse victims, or a current PSU student or alumnus, does it really matter to you if that statue is still up?  Do you care if they have a full allotment of scholarships or get to play in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl (see how I did that?)?  None of this makes the children whole again.  I’ve heard some fools suggest that their tax dollars are going to pay the fines (taxes subsidize tuition, they don’t pay for football) and that gives them the right to complain.  Anyone who’s gotten themselves all worked up about this without having any stake in the outcome should focus their indignation in some other direction.

Smokers:  Not gonna rant forever on this one.  Obviously, smoking is disgusting, it smells bad, and I don’t really want to get cancer from other people’s habits.  But what bothers me the most about smokers is that thing they do where they violently smack a new pack against their wrist prior to opening the pack.  Why do they do this?  These people usually look like they’ve lost focus on many aspects of their lives, but God forbid one morsel of tobacco is not smoked.  Ugh.

Just so you don’t think that I’ve been sitting here in misery all month dwelling on these issues, the following things have pleased me this month:  Bailey the Dog, Ommegang Brewery, the return of Breaking Bad, the WTF? podcast with JB Smoove, Gilbert Gottfried at Helium, and finalizing my plans for Europe in September.

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