Friday, November 21, 2008


Nobody expects you to come up with fresh language on a regular basis, and it's fine if you never say anything that people write in their notebooks and save. But don't make a habit of spewing streams of exasperating platitudes.

Here are a few things you might want to consider cutting back on if not eliminating altogether.

It is what it is. Now there's a phrase designed to tell me absolutely nothing and doing a good job of it. I also hate happy campers. I'm hoping they get lost in the woods and never found. I don't ever again want to hear that he's arguably pound-for-pound the best boxer in his weight class.

I'm begging you to stop throwing people under the bus. Please consider pushing them off a cliff, or if you live in New York City, a subway platform. I don't want to hear tell me about it every time your mouth moves. Or do the math whenever you wish to convey the simplicity of something.

You also might want to avoid, know what I mean with every other sentence.

Those who resort to this phrase either believe that the people they're addressing are dimwits. Or they have an extremely low opinion of their own ability to clarify their thoughts.

And try not to sprinkle your conversation with to be perfectly honest (no, I'd rather you continued lying to me). Hey, trust me (if you need to say it, I should be checking my wallet). Don't ask (because I'm unable to explain exactly what happened to me and would rather not waste my time trying).

And when somebody advises you to hit the ground running, tell him you'd rather not risk a hamstring pull. Or you could counter his bromide with your own bromide –"Oh sure, that's a no brainer."

I love it when somebody with no taste in art and not a speck of creativity in his or her entire body says, "I'll know it when I see it."

None of us should be forced to put up with dull speech patterns on a daily basis… if you get my drift.



Saturday, November 15, 2008


As the years roll by and the disposition unravels, I am more easily irked by things I once overlooked.

I don't like holding a door open for some cretin who walks on through and doesn't say a word. At the time, I might just mutter, "Thanks is the word you're looking for."

Hours later while dwelling on the incident, I might come up with something more sarcastically elaborate. "I have enjoyed being your personal doorman and look forward to serving you again soon."

I also don't like getting in an elevator where everybody acts like a robot. Face forward, no speaking, focus on the floor numbers. Do not … repeat … do not under any circumstances show humanity or acknowledge one another's existence.

I can do without people who are never on time for dates, meetings, or appointments. They don't apologize or feel guilty about it. And if they bother to mention it, they make excuses that put you on the defensive.

"C'mon, a half-hour late is not really late." "Okay, so I'm 45 minutes late--let's not get in a mood over it."

I can't stand people who carry on lengthy conversations and get annoyed when you "interrupt them" if only to remind them that you're still there.

And I don't like guys who try to impress you with their killer handshake. Some, often the mesomorphs, attempt to crush your phalanges and metacarpals while giving you a big toothy Tom Cruise grin.

The other handshake that grinds my teeth is when somebody grabs the tips of my fingers–which technically is a finger shake–and squeezes the bejesus out of them.

It makes me want to challenge him to an early-morning duel. In my Walter Mitty mind, I pull out a white glove and slap him in the face while saying, "6 AM and don't be late!"

P.S. If there's anything that irritates you –that makes you want to fling plates against a brick wall—comment on it now. If I like it, I'll write it up and give you a plug on my next post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm annoyed when people ask about my plans for the weekend. I'm sure my answer generally falls short of their expectations. This used to be my typical response.

I plan to get in some grocery shopping, polish my shoes, take a walk, do the laundry, make a few phone calls, catch up on my bills, and watch a little TV.

When I explained that I didn't have any real plans, they seemed disappointed. But that's all changed. Now when people ask about my weekend, I give them the crowd-pleasing version of Saturday and Sunday.

I plan to go mountain biking, ice climbing, sky diving, hang gliding, snow boarding, deep sea diving, do some wife swapping, and finish up with tightrope walking across a gaping chasm. How about you?

People walk away satisfied and impressed, knowing they're dealing with a bad ass who wrings out a weekend till there's nothing left.


Thursday, November 6, 2008


You've finished a meal, the table is cleared, and the waiter smiles and hands you a check. Why a check? It sounds like you're getting money. This is a good thing. Ah, but you owe money for the meal you just ate. So why aren't you getting a bill?

Apparently all restaurant owners everywhere – in order to keep the eating experience a positive and uplifting one – have long ago decided to convert the bill into a check. A clever sham. But if that's their game, why do they hide the check in the little leather book or put it face down on the table?

Are they embarrassed about overcharging me? Is this some kind of delaying tactic? Don't they think I can handle the reality of the so-called check?

The odd thing is if I look at the check the minute I get it, I feel like I'm doing something wrong. Like I've violated some unwritten covenant with the waiter.
But I think the most outrageous ruse has to be the restaurant owners' refusal to pay their waiters a living wage. Instead they rely on the generosity and humanity of their customers.

Naturally I would feel guilty if I didn't give the waiter a decent tip. But that's only because the cheap #$*%* restaurant owners have masterminded this #$*%* hoax so that I will feel guilty.

A special dinner should be held in honor of these charlatans and a BIG ONIONS AWARD handed out to the slime ball that came up with this nefarious scheme.

In keeping with the theme of restaurant subterfuge, I will begin effective immediately leaving my obligatory tip in various locations: under the ketchup bottle, mixed in with the sugar packets, or maybe use it to prop up one of the inevitably uneven table legs. Let the games begin.


Monday, November 3, 2008


Women are constantly grooming the men they care about. I suspect there is a female chromosome that's permanently assigned to male neatness.

If women aren't collecting thread from your shirt, jacket, or sweater—they're smoothing down your hair, brushing lint or dandruff off your shoulders, straightening your tie, or checking to see if your clothes come anywhere near matching.

Depending on how far this relationship has advanced, the woman might be insisting you pick your dirty clothes off the floor, stand tall and straighten your shoulders, no farting in front of friends or parents, and don't eat food while sitting on the couch and watching your stupid sports shows.

Why any man in his right mind would think he could get away with liquor on his breath or lipstick on his collar is beyond my ability to comprehend.

In this murky zone of tidiness and grooming, women are thousands of years more evolved than men. A disheveled friend of mine thinks the highest praise you can hear from a woman is:

"You're really neat for a guy—are you gay?"