Monday, January 31, 2011

The Irritants of Grandpa Joe , 1986-1989

My grandfather collected trivia, curios and exotica. He enjoyed the astounding, the bizarre, the offbeat and the occasionally bawdy. In his eighties, he wrote these tidbits down in two collections.

Time Magazine said of Hodgepodge, published in 1986, "the covers of this one are too close together".

So he followed it up in 1989 with Hodgepodge Two aka Gallimaufry To Go.

Among the curious data he offered ( The Dallas Zoo has two yaks, Yack and Yill), he added a chapter in each entitled Irritants.

The Duke of Richmond had little patience for the foolish and the petty. He preferred to live his life as it was meant to be lived. In the Victorian Era.

Among the irritants he listed:

- Clip-on coat hangers in hotel closets, silently implying that the guest is a thief.

- Waiters and waitresses who tell you their names.

- Clowns in the background of a TV news film who lean into the camera and make faces and wiggle their fingers in their ears.

-Idiots who call you early in the morning and ask in astonishment, "Oh did I wake you?"

-Vogue words and phrases such as gutsy, state of art, flight attendant for stewardess, and all other such pretentiousness, pilot error, ball park figure (meaning a rough estimate in round numbers, whereas real ball-park figures are exact: "Attendance today was 31, 449")

-Modern packaging, which requires an ax and a blowtorch to open the box or envelope--e.g., the salted nuts they give you on airplanes.

Even the grand-apple does not fall far from the tree so I feel I must add my own irritants:

-Snapping chewing gum within hearing distance of any other human being.

-Bank tellers, cashiers and airline ticket takers who insist on calling you by your first name ( which in my case is Joseph, or even worse, Joe).

-Duck boats and duck boat horns in the hands of anyone who has disembarked from a duck boat.
-Waiters who always point to the most expensive thing on the menu when you ask them what's good.

-Drivers who slam the brakes on an interstate to watch a paper cup drift by.


-And I don't care much for the goons who shout things and make faces during live TV reports either.

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