A Respite from controversy

by Jim Longworth

A Respite from controversy

For years now my wife has had to take a lot of heat for the content of my newspaper columns and television commentaries. So have my parents.

Almost every week they are forced to defend me or deflect criticism from their friends who believe my musings to be inflammatory. In my mind I have always tried to keep my attacks constructive and balanced.

In fact, I have criticized people of every political party, gender, race and religious persuasion with equal zeal. Still, I thought I would try my hand at something not so controversial for a change and give my family a much needed respite from having to defend my honor. So here goes my attempt to offer some benign criticisms about a few universally recognized pet peeves.

Coupon counters

First of all, I hate standing behind someone in a grocery check-out line who has a suitcase full of coupons. I know that we are experiencing tough economic times, but these coupon hoarders have been plying their trade long before anyone even knew what a recession was. I have two suggestions for dealing with this behavior: Either the store can designate a special check-out line just for coupon clippers, or else they can reprogram their computerized cash registers to automatically discount any item that is advertised in any venue.

Loud talkers

I despise people who want everyone to hear every word they are saying, especially when they are speaking into their cell phones. These obnoxious folks particularly love to hear themselves talk in confined spaces such as airplanes, bookstores and restaurants. And invariably they are standing or sitting near me, so that I can’t focus on the quiet conversation I’m trying to have with my wife or friends. These loud talkers crave attention and want everyone to know about their latest business deals or personal problems. And speaking of discourteous communicators, running a close second to loud cell phone talkers are the Bluetooth people. This is a race of people from the planet YourAnus. Time and again I have fallen for their Bluetooth trickery, much like Charlie Brown keeps falling for Lucy’s place-kicking stunt. Typically I will be in a store somewhere and hear the person behind me ask a question. When I turn around and respond, he shoots me a dirty look as he adjusts the Bluetooth in his ear, and I realize that he is engaged in conversation, probably with another Bluetooth person. I’ve heard of people talking out of their asses, but I never knew that you could talk out of your ear. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the same thing.

Holiday perps

And then there are my holiday pet peeves, starting with Halloween. Every Oct. 31, we are invaded by carloads and busloads of kids from other neighborhoods and towns. I always thought that trick or treat was a localized ritual for the enjoyment of people in your own village. But now my wife and I must purchase three tons of candy every fall because scores of kids (many of them old enough to shave) don’t respect traditional wiccan boundaries. And speaking of boundaries, I want to say a

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