Experiments in Chaos—Failures from April 30, 2015

Today I'd like to talk about Grumpiness. Specifically, mine. The fact is, I've been in kind of a pissy mood recently, so I just want to say up front: Have a nice day. Or don't, and see if I care.

Maybe I haven't been myself lately. But you'd expect that to be an improvement, and I don't feel either new or improved, so that's probably not it. I have been a bit under the weather, but I don't feel nearly as bad as I did the last time I felt this lousy, so that's not likely the reason either. I expect I'm grumpy because I am, and that's the way it goes sometimes.

Anyway, in keeping with a long-standing tradition of attempting to capitalize on failure, I'm going to try and make a buck out of my bad mood. So here's a list of just some of the things that annoy me, or amuse me, depending on my level of grumpitivity:

People who yell at their children to be quiet. Look, I understand. I realize you're winging it, there's no operating manual for these things. And I've noticed that, just about the time they stop being too cute to eat, they start being too big to fit in the oven. (There is that brief window of opportunity, but it would be wrong. I'm convinced of it.) But that's not how you tell kids to be quiet. Especially if you're making more noise telling them to be quiet than they were in the first place. I don't have any suggestions for you, but I do know that you're bigger than they are, stronger than they are, and have the legal right to buy alcohol. I'm not for an instant suggesting that you slip a little cheap scotch into their chocolate milk, although I won't tell if you do. But that's not the point. The point is there has to be a better way to make kids stop yelling than yelling at them to stop yelling.

Squeaky Floors. I didn't used to mind so much, but as I grow older I make so many nighttime trips to the bathroom it's become a major source of exercise. And, in the middle of the night, those squeaks get magnified to the point where it sounds like I'm living with thousands of mice, all yelling out warnings about the toilet monster. "Look out, here he comes again! Run for it! Squeakity Squeak!" That's an annoyance I can do without, frankly.

Things that are supposed to be spicy and aren't, even a little bit. I've had salsa where even the onions gave up. It was like some weird chunky tomato salad on a cracker, not so much as a hint of warm glow, never mind heat. I once bought a bottle of chili sauce from a major distributor who shall remain nameless (they started out selling pickles, which is what the "57 Varieties" refers to), and it was so mild I put it on my hamburgers. It wasn't bad that way, but it should have been called something besides chili sauce. It's as if every time something spicy decides to go north, there's some sort of border patrol at the Mason-Dixon Line saying "Hey, you can't bring that heat in here. We've got laws, you know." Well, sorry officer, I didn't know. I thought if something says spicy it should at least give you a tingle in the back of the throat when you eat it. I'm not looking to set my lips on fire, I'm not trying to prove anything here. But maybe a little bite? A show of teeth? Something?

People who constantly explain things to me that I already know. In fact, that anyone with a triple-digit IQ would know. And, although it probably won't affect you at all, since we're not likely to meet, I just want to state for the record that I couldn't possibly be as dumb as I look. I'd be a rock. And not one of the pretty ones, either. No semi-precious gemstones here. So, trust me: If there's something I don't understand that I feel I need to understand, I'll ask for clarification.

Environmental Catchphrases. Is there any chance that we can stop trying to be carbon neutral and just start trying to clean up after ourselves? I'm not absolutely certain why we need to have a cutesy catchphrase to describe keeping things out of the landfill, tightening up our houses, cars, and lives in order to waste and pollute less, and generally acting like grownups, but I do know that I'm absolutely tired of it. All those things are good things, and most of them save money while we're at it. But I'm clean sick of Smokey the Bear and Hooty the Pollutey Owl or whatever nonsense we've come up with this week. Let's just do this without the cartoons, all right?

Well, that's the list. Or at least as much of it as I think I can squeeze a chuckle out of. I hope you found my pain amusing, and I only wish I'd known I'd need those brain cells one day. If I had, I probably wouldn't have done all those drugs in the seventies. Or was it the eighties? Oh yeah, it was both. That could explain a lot of things. Not how I'm going to come up with an ending, but a lot of other things.

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