Remember Andy Rooney, the guy who was on 60 Minutes for about fifty years, ranting about stuff that pissed him off? I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but listening to his whiny voice really pissed me off. I always wondered why he thought America cared about what pissed him off, but lately I’ve come to realize that when you reach a certain age you’re pissed off about most things. And you rant even if no one wants to listen.
Since Andy’s gone, I’m stepping up with a commemorative rant. Here’s what’s pissing me off these days:
The alarming variation in the size of bagel holes. The other day my husband and I stopped to pick up bagels and smoked salmon for a Sunday brunch treat. When we got home, I removed two sesame bagels from the bag and discovered they were ninety percent hole. Where was the rest of the bagel? Are we paying for air? The two cinnamon raisin bagels I bought for the next day’s breakfast were about eighty percent dough and twenty percent hole; a much more acceptable ratio. But who eats smoked salmon on cinnamon raisin bagels? Bagel bakers, get your act together: More bagel, less hole. Every time. Damn it.
Stupid prescription drug names. When I was a kid if you needed a prescription drug it was probably called penicillin. Or, at worst, tetracycline. Names you could almost pronounce. Have you seen the prescription drug commercials on TV lately? Do the names Viberzi, Eliquis, Xeljanz, Keytruda, or Taltz ring any bells? Of course not. Because they’re incredibly stupid names dreamed up by desperate ad agency creative types. I used to be one of those ad agency creative types, so I know how hard it is when your client tells you to come up with something “fresh” and “inviting” to describe a pill that might cause diarrhea, tarry stools, hair loss, and seizures. But can’t we concoct some drug names that we can actually say and don’t sound worse than the conditions they’re developed to treat? Maybe we could just call them by friendly people names. Like Fred. Or Betty. I can pronounce those.
Fake therapy animals. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. And I’m a big believer in therapy. But you know the expression, “When pigs fly”? Well, they do now. Airplanes are filled with faux service animals, from miniature horses to Vietnamese potbellied pigs, all sporting vests that proclaim their “official” capacity as therapy animals. Kids are taking their therapy dogs to live in college dorms. Tennis players are bringing them court side to bolster match toughness. These pets don’t have to pass any tests or bear any authentic credentials. You can buy an animal therapy vest online for $21.99, for God’s sake. I’m thinking of getting one for my 85-pound chocolate lab so she can go everywhere with me too. But so far she hasn’t found a color she likes.
Naked and alone. In the gynecologist’s office. I’m onto my gynecologist’s strategy: After I wait thirty minutes past my appointment time, her nursing assistant escorts me into a private room and instructs me to take off my clothes, put on a hideous gown that won’t stay closed, and get up on the table. The doctor knows that they can now abandon me for up to forty-five additional minutes before coming in to actually examine me. Just being in the room is supposed to give me hope. And, if I’m nearly naked with my feet in the stirrups, how likely am I to come running down the hall screaming, “I’m frickin’ freezing and my time is valuable too!”? But I’ve about had it. Next time, I’m planning to take a handful of Mogadon tabs (that’s pronounced Mo-ga-don) and bring Mambo, my 85-pound certified therapy dog, to keep me calm.
Automatic toilets, faucets and paper towel dispensers. I travel by car a lot. So I’m intimately familiar with highway rest stops and their bathroom facilities. Try as I might to hold it for a record-breaking length of time, sometimes you just gotta go. So when I do, I hover atop the toilet, never letting flesh touch the seat, just as Mom taught me. However, toilets today outsmart even the most cautious users: they flush themselves when you least expect it, shooting a geyser of nasty water into your private parts and even those parts that aren’t so private.
After you wipe down your entire body and the surrounding floor and walls with the individual mini-scraps of one-ply paper that you wrestle from the dispenser, it’s time to try to coax the water to come out of the faucet with no handles, then to dry your hands on paper towels that refuse to emerge from the machine that mocks you with the instructions, “No hands.” You leave the restroom feeling soiled and wonder why people are staring at you (as you try to resist the sickeningly sweet scent of Cinnabons) when you realize that a dozen of those pesky toilet paper squares are stuck to the bottom of your pee-splattered Nikes.
That female astronaut who drove 900 miles cross-country in a diaper to attack her boyfriend’s other girlfriend? She was a rocket scientist.