It’s the little things…

Of course it’s trivial, but then most things are. – John Malkovich

In larger things we are convivial; what causes trouble is the trivial. – Richard Armour

When you are in deep conflict about something, sometimes the most trivial thing can tip the scales. – Ethel Merman

I loved the above quotes so much, I couldn’t decide what to use. Me – I’m the kind of gal that gave birth four times and didn’t find the pain to be all that intolerable. Mother’s amnesia? Maybe. But heed this warning: don’t be near me if I have stubbed my toe or closed my fingers into a drawer. That kind of pain sends me into orbit. And gives me loads to complain about for hours…or days…

It’s the little things…

So let me preface this post with these simple words: I know that there are much bigger problems looming in this world at this very moment. However, I find that I absolutely, positively, must complain about something so very trivial.

So here goes… Most everyone in our nation is holding their collective breath on what will happen with Syria. And, taking my dear husband’s advice, I do try my very best to not watch the news, as I am a recovering news-watching addict. That being said, the journalist in me, and my inquisitive nature, got the best of me, and I have had the television on more than usual for the past few days, listening to the pundits and experts.

Believe me, I am weary. Last night, I was so proud of myself, as I flipped channels and started watching a documentary. But, this morning, curiosity got the best of me, and while I was exercising at 8 a.m., guess what? Yes, I gave into temptation and flipped over to the news.

Oh – that was a mistake. But, not for the obvious reasons of seeing bad news.

The commercials! Seriously, I wanted to start stabbing myself in the eye with a pencil. Who comes up with this stuff??? I think the advertisements stressed me out more than the content of the newscast.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Pharmaceutical companies: Listen, folks, whoever writes your ad copy is scaring the tar out of me! Even if I had any of the illnesses you have a miracle drug for, your disclaimers make me want to run, screaming the other way. Your beautiful scenery with well-adjusted actors wearing happy faces does not calm me down, especially when I hear this drug may cause me death or diarrhea or insomnia. And if I have to tell my doctor that I am taking other meds before trying this new one, shouldn’t he or she already know that before writing me another script? Just saying… 
  • Weight Loss Industry: Really, I am super-duper happy for the people who have lost lots of weight using your program. Truly, I am. But, when I see the before and after shots, could you possibly admit that maybe, just maybe, these people also used exercise and a personal trainer to reach their goal? That it wasn’t just the food or the pill or shaking something on their donuts and chili dogs and fries?
  • Mattress and furniture stores: Hey, can you update your commercials to reflect that Labor Day 2013 is over? Surely there must be another holiday this weekend (Grandparent’s Day, Caught-a-Mouse-in-a-Mousetrap Day) that we can celebrate so I feel motivated to rush out and get my furniture without paying any sales tax.
  • Save 500%! Okay – really and truly – the save “something percent” commercials are my absolute breaking point. I will tell you this, that 100% of the time I see a percentage-off commercial, I will start yelling at the TV. “Save 50%!” Save 50% off what, based on what? We are never told! Are we saving 50% off the MSRP? Or off the clearance? Off the new customer rate? Off the airspace between someone’s ears? This arbitrary number means NOTHING TO ME unless I know what am I basing my savings on – or off – of! Please, solve this mystery for me, a once-upon-a-time wanna-be accountant who failed pre-calculus but still loves number-crunching.

Whew! I feel so much better now. Again, I know, that there are much bigger, scarier things going on in the world at the moment. But when I yelled at the television for stupid commercials, it made me laugh at myself, and for a few moments, there was a reprieve from the harsh realities of the news.  A little laughter goes a long way…and so does shutting off the boob-tube.

What trivial things rouse your ire?

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Just for fun…notice anything hysterical about this ad placement?

Too funny! An ad for tattoos, and another for their removal!
Too funny! An ad for tattoos, and another for their removal!

 

 

Dear complaint department…

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“I believe in grumbling; it is the politest form of fighting known.” Edgar Watson Howe

Some days, stupid things bug me more than on other days, and today is one of those days.

Stupid can be okay, because it takes one’s focus off of bigger problems – at least temporarily. And when I complain, I usually preface the complaint with, “I know there are starving kids around the world, catastrophic illnesses and injuries, but…” and then I get said complaint purged from my system.

So…here goes. My complaint of the day is…

I will be a chaperone/driver for a field trip this week. After raising kids for over 27 years and counting, I still enjoy field trips, hanging with my kids and their friends, and feeling like I am helping out at school. But… I have seen some real stupid paperwork come home from school over the past two decades, and I have to say, this one is the topper.

Doing due diligence, I filled out my “Parent’s Form” to include name; insurance company; make, model and year of car; number of seat belts, noting that students won’t be allowed to ride without being belted in; blah, blah, blah. Okay, important stuff.

And then this: “Parents, no smoking on the field trip.”

Really?

So, as a more-than-qualified field trip parent, and a once smoker/ex-smoker/social smoker, I was a bit irritated. Have smokers become “evil?”Let’s not forget to mention that one can’t smoke in restaurants, on school grounds, in the museum, in a library, at the zoo, at hospitals and most other places that are field trip destinations, so was that line really necessary?

Personally, I find that somewhat insulting. Isn’t that a given? Don’t most parents know that we are setting good examples for our children and being ambassadors of the school? Honestly, if we are going demonize a bad habit on a field trip, why stop at one?

So, if smokers can’t smoke on the field trip, then parents using other devices as their vices are advised that the following bad habits and behaviors are also not tolerated:

  • No texting while driving.
  • No chatting on the phone while driving.
  • No drinking alcohol while driving.
  • No swearing on the field trip (I will cut you some slack while driving).
  • No road rage while driving.
  • No eating while driving.
  • No applying make-up or shaving while driving.
  • No reading while driving.
  • No sniffing glue while driving.
  • No medicinal marijuana while on the trip.
  • No Slurpees or Big Gulps or overeating.
  • No nose- or teeth-picking while driving.
  • Hide your tattoo(es).
  • No bastardizing, demonizing, politicizing or proselytizing.

When looking for volunteers, why this handy-dandy list will eliminate the scourge of the Earth from even thinking of assisting!

Seriously, I, of course, am not defending bad habits, just adding a layer of humor to a society that is hell-bent on making some people’s bad habits worse than others. Just offering a reality check that maybe folks shouldn’t be condescending to others, just because one’s choice of a bad habit is different from another’s.

We’re all human. Everyone has bad habits. Let’s start giving folks a little credit for being smart enough to discern the situation and do the right thing. Most people will behave responsibly, even without a note from the principal…

Do you get irked over stupid statements? Let me know in the comments section!

© 2013 – Lynne Cobb

Patience – it’s really not my virtue

My lack of patience must be genetic or something, because there is no real clear reason for it. It is such a character flaw, that it has to be inherited. Certainly someone in my family tree coined the phrases, “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?”

Oh sure, I can wait for bread dough to rise. I can sort of wait for the first layer of paint to dry. A wet floor – sure, I can wait – especially if I am the one who mopped it. Waiting on a robust cup of coffee – no problem. I’ll even patiently wait for a good cup of tea to steep.

But sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office – not so much.

Normally, I have my knitting with me, a dual project of trying to keep my nerves calm and to get lost in time. But seriously, you can’t really knit when you are constantly interrupted.

“May I see your insurance card?”

“Ma’am, can you sign this?”

Not only do I have to sit and wait, I am constantly interrupted while I do so.

This is how last evening went for me: I find out at 5 p.m. via a panicked text from my darling teenage daughter that she HAS to have a sports physical for cheer. Today. Sports registration is tomorrow.

“But mom, know one knew it!”

Apparently, this is the year that the district is enforcing registration. And she was right – I got the email – today was registration.

So, right after practice at 7:15 p.m., off we go to an Urgent Care that offers sport physicals. And, bonus, “We’re not busy right now, so it’s a great time to come in!” says the perky receptionist.

Score!

Ten minutes and several reams paper – in the tiniest of print ever – we are ready! Woot – she can get her physical and we’re outta here!

Except that, in the time it takes me to deliver the paperwork to the front counter, sit down, go back up with my ID, sit down, and run back to the counter to sign something, sit down, and bring my credit card and swipe it, someone comes in to the Urgent Care, and she needs stitches.

Luck is also a genetic trait I inherited.

To pacify me, they stuck us in an exam room to wait it out. Maybe that is the front desk’s way of making one feel like they have progressed in the Waiting Game.

Looking around the a-typical exam room, I strolled down memory lane, remembering comforting my little girl during well-baby checks. Such a bland, sterile environment that is creepy. Back in the day, I could usually calm her with a mass of cotton balls made into things.

Except, now, I was the one who needed the calming. My patience was pushed to the max. Was there really only one doctor in this clinic?

Yep.

I leafed through a parenting magazine, looked up, and saw a box of exam gloves.

You know what happened next.

Giggling like a girl, I blew the glove up like a balloon, posed it and took photos of it modeling in the exam room.

And my darling daughter, why, she gave me the best compliment:

“I gotta hand it to you, Mom, that is pretty funny!”

Yep, sometimes you just have to laugh.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb