Things That Bother Me

 

Spectator Sports

As a gamer and a game designer, it should be obvious that I love playing games. Therefore, people are often surprised by my strong aversion to spectator sports. The answer, however, is simple. I like playing games. I don't like watching other people play games. What I can't understand is why so many people get off on this boring activity. Why should anyone care how one team is doing in a contest of skill that you have no influence over? Why is it fun to watch people play a game on TV when you could be playing a game of your own? Why do people feel a sense of victory when a team they cheer for wins? It's not like they had anything to do with that victory. The real thrill of victory comes from being involved in the competition and emerging as the winner against a field of tough opponents. Against that feeling, the thrill of seeing "your" team win a game on TV seems hollow and empty. Therefore, spectator sports fill me with disgust, particularly given the enormous bandwidth devoted to them in the media (not to mention the tax money that gets spent on stadium construction).

Stop watching games on TV! Turn it off and go play a game of your own!

 

Dogs

Some people are cat people, some people are dog people, some people are both. I am cat people, which means I really don't like dogs very much. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't bark so much, though...

 

The War On Marijuana Smokers

I am a Libertarian, and as such, I subscribe to the Libertarian belief that the War on Drugs does more harm than good and ought to be stopped.

However, what particularly rankles me about the War on Drugs is the prosecution of pot smokers. Pot use constitutes 90% of the illegal drug trade, and between 10 and 25 million Americans smoke pot regularly without causing any harm to society. Moreover, every major study of marijuana has concluded that it is less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco and ought to at least be decriminalized. So why did our government arrest 600,000 pot smokers this year?

This issue bothers me so much that I've been studying it and considering it quite a bit. To see my findings, and more of my opinions on the matter, check out Stoners in the Haze: an Investigate Report.

 

Talking On The Telephone

I don't like the telephone. I'm not sure why, I just don't like talking to people on the phone. What I particularly hate is being the one making the call. That's why Kristin makes most of my phone calls for me, and why she is usually the one who answers the phone at our house. (You can be pretty sure that if I answer the phone, Kristin isn't home.) So strong is my desire to avoid using the telephone that sometimes I let my robot answer it for me, even when I'm home. So, always be sure you leave a message when calling our house.

At this point, a lot of my reason for being so anti-phone is that for almost every situation I can think of in which I might want or need to use a phone, I'd be just as happy (or happier) it conduct that business either in person or via e-mail. Why should I make a phone call when I can just get the information I need off the web?

 

The Over-use of Perfume and Cologne

After many years of getting nasty migraine headaches without knowing why, my lovely wife has at last deduced that they are triggered by perfume. Now, for you to understand why this bothers me, you have to understand just how bad these headaches are. It goes without saying that they are pounding, throbbing, excruciating headaches... the thing that really sucks about them is that, once she gets one, they can often last for three days. In the last few years, some new drugs have come out that can pretty effectively deaden the pain, and in some cases keep it from coming back, but these drugs have a variety of unpleasant side effects, not the least of which is that they have to be injected (and guess who had to learn how to deliver the injection?) and cost $20 a pop. And when the headache is really bad, and Kristin is hiding in the bedroom with the lights out and the blinds drawn, moaning softly in pain, with me powerless to help her, I think with bitterness about you: the person who caused it.

Having determined that Kristin's migraine headaches are caused by a perfume allergy, I yearn to find a way to put the entire perfume industry out of business. But since that seems a bit unlikely, my more practical wish is for everyone I know to stop wearing perfume.

However, if you feel you really must wear perfume (or cologne), please at least do it properly: Use it sparingly. It's powerful stuff, you know - a tiny amount goes a long way. After all, the idea of perfume is to replace your own (potentially unpleasant) scent with something a bit nicer smelling. However, the new smell only needs be strong enough to mask the normal smell when someone gets close to you... it doesn't need to be so strong that people can notice you've entered a room by the smell you bring in with you. Your body odor isn't that bad, is it?

If you are wearing so much cologne that people can smell you coming down the hall and to continue to detect your smell in the room ten minutes after you've left, you are using way too much of it.

More to the point, when you drench yourself with perfume and then get onto an elevator or go into a small office with my wife, the chemicals in the air (which she then cannot escape from) enter her nose and the next you know she's got a migraine. And that sucks. So please, if you must use cologne or perfume, do so sparingly. You never know who you'll be saving from a migraine.

 

Insects

OK, so I have a bit of a phobia about insects. So what? Most people do.

 

Babies

Most people see a slobbering, crying baby and say "Isn't he the cutest, most adorable little thing in the world?"

I, however, tend to think to myself "No! He's gross and ugly!" Maybe if I had one of my own I wouldn't feel that way about it. But I doubt it.

 

Thought Police

By this I mean anyone who attempts to coerce others into subscribing to their own notions of how to live, think, or act. This includes (but is not limited to) religious fanatics, anti-abortionists, and anti-homosexuals. For myself, I don't care what other people choose believe in as long as they keep it to themselves... but I get upset when these people attempt to change the law of the land to reflect their own moral agenda or that of their particular religion.

Separation of church and state: It's not just a good idea, it's the law.

 

Inconsiderate Motorists

Most people's tempers become shorter when they get behind the wheel of a car, and I'm no different. People who drive slowly in the fast lane, and who don't use their signal when turning, and who stay in a lane that's closing due to construction until they reach the orange cones... these people really piss me off.

 

The Cutting Down Of Forests

Having worked in a modern office building for the past decade, I've heard this over and over again: "Save a tree! Don't print or copy a document unless you really need to."

However, we could be fighting this problem at its cause. Instead of cutting down forests of trees to make paper, we could be farming industrial hemp and using that to make paper instead. It grows really fast (it is, after all, a weed), which means an acre of land planted with industrial hemp can turn out paper-quality pulp 4 times faster (at least) than an acre of trees.

The only problem is, since hemp comes from the same plant family as marijuana, it's illegal to grow it in this country. So, again I say, repeal marijuana prohibition now!

 

Clowns

They aren't funny and they aren't cute. They are ugly, scary, and annoying. They bother me.

 

People Who Think That Putting Something In Quotes Means Emphasis

For years, I've wondered why, every now and then, I'll encounter a sign containing completely inexplicable quotation marks. For example, I saw a sign outside the line for a roller coaster once that said 'You must be "this tall" to ride'. Now, given my understanding of grammar, I'd assume you don't really have to be that tall, you just have to pretend you are. It's a rule that no one enforces. Even so, I don't think that's what was really meant.

However, I've finally concluded that confusion about the use of quotes is simply a common grammatical mistake. For some reason, a lot of people think it just means emphasis, much the way you'd underline an important phrase or clause in order to make it stand out.

People who have this misunderstanding about the English language should not be allowed to make signs.

 

Cigarettes

Hey, I'm a non-smoker. What can I say?

 

Mayonnaise

Why do most restaurants insist on automatically putting this on my chicken sandwich? It's gross stuff, and once you've slathered it on there, you can never really get rid of the taste. Seems to me the default should be no mayo, since those who want it can put it on more easily than those of us who don't want it can remove it.

 

Mispronunciation of the word "Nuclear"

It's "nukely-ear", not "nuke-u-ler".



Copyright © 1997 by Andrew Looney.