As I get older, I notice that I am becoming one of those old people that I despised as a young boy.  There are several things that piss me off, and I think I should jot them down.  You may be able to empathize.


Certain drivers drive me crazy.  Okay, maybe all drivers drive me crazy.  Why am I the only decent automobile driver out there? 

The driver that pisses me off more than others is the guy who speeds up in the inner lane to pass me, cuts over to my lane, and slows to a complete stop before making a right turn.  That goes for the guy that makes a left turn when he passed me in the right lane.

In second place is the person who is in front of me at a stop light.  The light turns green and they sit there.  They may be reading a text or email, or just day dreaming.  Honking is almost a self-irritant (I don’t like honking horns, either – especially the Honk, Honk, Honk of a car that is being stolen – never).  The minute the person in front of you takes off, the propulsion is that of a rocket.  You never see them again, until you get to the next stop light. 

Third place is the tailgater who finally speeds around you, fingering you as he goes by, and two miles up the road he’s next to you at the same stoplight.  I have been taught not to taunt.  He could have a gun. 

This category could be pages, so I have decided to make it part of a series.


“Did you find everything you need?”  I often say “no” whether I did or not.  The answer is always an amazing.  “Oh!”  As the clerk continues to scan items.  Many retailers have taught the clerk what to ask, but never gave the minimum wage earner a lesson on what to do if someone answers anything but “yes”. 

An occasional bright clerk may call the manager over, or direct you to the courtesy counter.  When you discover that – yes, they are out of that product – the conditioned reply is: “We’ll have it in the morning.”  The next time I get that answer I’m going to have them deliver it to me.  I don’t feel like I have to return to the same store in the morning, spending about a dollar in gas, when I might save 20 cents on the out-of-stock item.  Better yet, I think I’ll tell the manager that I’ll just stop at the competitor’s store down the street and pick it up there.

Grocery stores hire many high school students.  Those students have been taught to converse with the customer.  My desire is for the student-clerk to pay attention to what they are doing.  “That tomato juice is on sale for 79¢.”  “Oh”, she says.  “Is it in the ad?”  I think employees should be required to read the advertisements before their shift starts (and get paid for it) each week the store begins a new week of discounts.  At the least, people working in a department, like meats or produce, should have a comprehensive idea of what is on sale in their respective departments during a given week. 

“Do you have big plans for the weekend?”  That question from a teenager was suggested by management to keep up a conversation with the customer.  One of these days I want to respond with: “Well, that depends.  What are you doing on Saturday night?”  I would probably get arrested.

Television Commercials with old songs

It began with a pickup commercial years ago in which Chevy used Bob Segar’s ‘Like a Rock’.  I once liked that song.  Chevy drove it into my brain so much I now despise it.  Applebee’s is using a popular song now.  And Ford is attempting to ruin every Queen song I’ve ever loved – which was all of them.

Lectures with a Q & A

I don’t attend many lectures anymore, and maybe it’s because I get irritated at people who stand up during the Q & A at the end and give a 6-minute description of something that happened in their life to relate to the lecturer’s subject (even though it’s a stretch to make the comparison).  It usually ends by having the lecturer asking if the person standing has a question.  It’s bad enough when the commenter says ‘no’ and sits down or wraps it up.  It’s a 10 on the Pain Scale when the person stumbles over trying to come up with a question.

Overturning the Tables at the Temple

Store managers that allow nonprofit groups to solicit outside the store’s doors should be fired.  I don’t appreciate being greeted by a mob of Girl Scouts asking if I want to buy overpriced cookies.  I lie and tell them that I buy them from my daughter.  So what if my daughter is 40-years-old.  The scouts’ moms are reaching that age.  And aren’t they the cookie pushers with the idea to hassle store customers going in and coming out of the store? 

The Knights of Columbus want to give me a Tootsie Roll.  Yeah!  “Here, have a 5 oz. roll of guilt.  It’s free!”  Sure, it is.  If you happen to be Roman Catholic that guilt of turning it down and not contributing will last through your death bed and into the first 4 days of purgatory. 

You may like eating the free nibbles at COSTCO and in the grocery stores, but I stay away.  It’s not that I reject free food, it’s the problem of cluttering up the aisle while pretending to think the tiny sample is the greatest thing since sliced bread, even though the sampler doesn’t buy the product. I hate to be one of those aisle cloggers.  I have to get ahead of you in the check out.

What do you like, Marty?

I like kids.  They can make you laugh more than most comedians.

We live next to a licensed day care center.  The facility has about 50 kids, from infants to 12-year-olds.  If you can remember watching the Art Linkletter show back in the 60s, you can relate to what I get almost every day.

Stephanie and I watched a dog overnight for a friend a few weeks ago.  Four or five children came running up to the fence.  “What’s its name?”  They were all asking.  “Zoe,” I said, and kept on walking.  All of the children in the group began yelling, “Bye, doggie!!”

Even though the children can keep me laughing, they can also keep me humble.  One of the teachers suggested the kids say “Hi” to the neighbor.  “Hi, old man!”

Crap.  I’ve become that old man I never wanted to be.

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3 Responses to Irritations

  1. Terry Murtaugh says:

    My favorite part was firing the store manager who allows the Girl Scouts and K of C to solicit outside their stores. In Northern VA, we not only have charities outside the doors every weekend, while checking out we are asked if we want to donate to the “charity of the day either by the clerk or the self-checkout screen.” Nooooooooooooooo. I do NOT want to donate! (And I’m not donating to the allegedly homeless person at the traffic light on the way home either!)

  2. Jean Basinger says:

    Great piece! Jean

  3. Nick Loew says:

    Uncle Marty. You’ve been that old man for yrs. I dig you any way.

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