It’s Just Annoying!

By Patrick F. Cannon

I often write about big issues, or at least what I think are big issues. Politics. Culture. Morality. Donald Trump. But I like to think I can be just as obsessed with the minutia and annoyances of life as the next person. Surely, Albert Einstein and Mother Teresa did their share of grumbling as they made their ways through this often frustrating world.

            When he walked his dog Newton, did Al rail against his fellow walkers who failed to pick up Fido’s poop? Particularly when Fido deposited his feces upon the sidewalk? I no longer have a dog, but I have more than once felt that unmistakable squish when stepping on a left-behind pile. Although I eventually equipped myself with tailor-made poop bags, at one time I had a contraption that scooped the poop without the need to bend over. The only time I forgot to bring it – it was early morning and I was groggy – I was berated at great length by a fellow walker. I fully deserved her chastisement.

            I find I’m increasingly miffed by lunatic drivers. I always drive about five miles an hour over the speed limit. Most residential streets have a 25 miles per hour (mph) limit; main streets usually let you speed up to 30 mph. If I’m tooling along at 35, inevitably someone having breakfast and talking on the phone is riding my bumper. Often, they will cross a double-yellow line and pass me. They will then go through that pesky Stop sign at the next intersection. I will often give them a discreet beep of my horn to call attention to  their disregard to the law, but it’s unwise to be too aggressive, lest the offender be armed. And when did it become OK to ignore red lights? (As an aside, I see this most often on West Madison Street in Chicago, even near the CPD station just west of Central, where the number of squad cars parked at all hours makes one wonder where the police might be who should be driving them.)

            I wonder if Mother Teresa was a golfer? I met her once, but didn’t think to ask. Since she was a saint, she probably wasn’t in one of the many female foursomes that I’ve played behind over the years. At the risk of being branded a sexist, I have observed that women take far longer to play a round of golf then men. If you’re behind a foursome of women, you can expect to do a good deal of thumb twiddling. On the greens, they take an inordinate amount of time over their puts, and I have never seen them concede a short put! Now, the rules of golf permit one to concede one’s fellow golfer a short put to speed the game along. But the main difference is this: men see golf as a game; women as a social occasion to be cherished at length. There was a time when women were not permitted to play on the same day as men. Halcyon days, indeed.

            And finally – and I know it’s not really rational – I cringe whenever I see a man eating dinner with his hat on. There was a time, when men wore fedoras to work, that when a lady entered an elevator, the men would almost always doff them in respect. And although I never quite understood the theology, Roman Catholic men always took their hats off in church, while women always wore theirs. Nowadays, even in the finest restaurants, one sees slovenly young men with baseball caps, jeans and T-shirts. Why? Because the restaurants are afraid of losing business.

            Several years ago, when the Million Room restaurant at Arlington International Racecourse still demanded jackets for men, I noticed two young men without them. I asked the maître de how they got away with it. “Heavy bettors,” he replied. By the time it closed (forever, alas), only a collared shirt and no jeans was the standard (unless you were a heavy better, that is).

Copyright 2023, Patrick F. Cannon

4 thoughts on “It’s Just Annoying!

  1. Back in the Sixties, during the Age of Aquarius and Barbra Streisand’s excruciating “People,” grew that puerile, half-baked notion that everyone on the planet, beneath the superficial features that distinguish us, is fundamentally the same. We are all brothers and sisters. We are in this together. We are the world! This noxious concept has spawned endless confusion and mischief, from a persistent faith in the United Nations to the mental virus of Diversity-Equity-Inclusion that afflicts corporations and classrooms alike.

    The unvarnished truth of the matter is that under a very thin surface of civility and shared interests that maintains order, we are as incompatible as vinegar and ice cream. It’s a wonder we all aren’t going after each other with hammer and tongs. Well, come to think of it, we are!

    So consider those little pet peeves you mention as small scratches in the veneer of human harmony. Left unchecked and allowed to deepen, they become like lava fissures in a volcano, releasing scalding eruptions of molten animosity and destruction.

    Fortunately for the world there is money, and Valium, to smooth things over.


  2. Uncle Patrick,
    Does this mean you don’t want to golf with us girls this year? 😂😂🥰
    Looking forward to scheduling a golf game this summer. No matter what. 💙


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