A Curmudgeon’s Report

John W. Pinkerton


As I grow older, I attempt to guard against becoming  a curmudgeon.  I fear I’m losing the battle.  Perhaps I have become a little irrational about some things.  I rarely make comment on these, but being that my days are numbered, why not?

Several of my complaints revolve around wheeled vehicles.

Bicycles had their day.  At the turn of the Twentieth Century, they were quite compatible with horses.  Horses didn’t seem to be bothered by bicycles: bicycle riders were not often run over by horses.  On the other hand, the automobile and the bicycle are natural enemies: folks driving cars keep a sharp eye out for other gas-powered vehicles and drunks and little children who wander on to paved roads: they are totally blind when it comes to adults on bicycles.  No amount of chastising automobile drivers will change them into guardians of bicycle interlopers.  Quit your attempt to be self-righteous about riding your bicycle on streets intended for gas guzzling, fume producing, bird frightening, money eating automobiles.

Motorcyclists are growing in number.  The problem I have with them is not that they shouldn’t be on the highways: it’s that they shouldn’t be on the highways without the motorcyclists wearing helmets.  All I ask for is the small chance that I might not kill you motorcyclists if I run over ya’ll.  Is this too much to ask?

Now we move on to the capital offense category: folks who play music in their cars so loud that they share with folks quietly sitting in their homes perusing the latest edition of the newspaper.  Newspaper readers don’t stand on the corner of the street shouting the latest stock market report to passersby.  It’s just a matter of equity.  The folks in their homes won’t shout at you if you don’t blast them with your music.

By the way, the automobile horn was a wonderful innovation at the turn of the century: it gives warning of impending disasters to your fellow motorists and others.  It was not intended as an extension of your personality.  Quit blowing your horn to tell people just how displeased you are at their driving.  I think they know without your input when they’ve made mistakes.

Speaking of driving, I’m pretty forgiving of folks who make little faux pas while driving.  Hell, it’s a wonder we don’t kill each other at an even higher rate than we do.  The driver who makes my skin crawl is the one who doesn’t know the proper way to exit the highway: I’m talking about the ones who slow to a walking amble to turn off the highway.  Holy crapburgers, there really are other people on the highway behind your silly butt.  You seldom cause accidents, but you do cause heartburn and some people may even be tempted to honk, poor etiquette.

People who drive tiny cars or even worse tiny electric cars: if you really want to save the planet, walk.  Long live the SUV.

I do have one complaint against folks who drive huge pickup trucks: you know damned well who I’m talking about.  Don’t try to park these in a normal parking lot until you learn how to park them in a normal parking lot; until then, park them over yonder away from normal-sized vehicles.

Tinted windows for automobiles were surely devised by Beelzebub.  We frown on people wearing masks for the same reason I frown on folks I can’t possibly identify driving two tons of internal combustion next to me on the highway.  I like to be able to see folks who may run over my old butt.  Besides, it’s hard to be friendly to folks with a courteous wave as they pass by if one can’t see if it’s grampa or a twelve year old or a terrorist at the wheel.  “But they keep my car cooler, and they really look good.”  Buy a better damned car and you won’t have to worry about keeping it cool.  I once pointed out to my brother while I was riding in his vehicle that he had forgotten to put on his seat belt.  He pointed to the window and said, “Tinted windows.”  Holy mooseburgers, they’ll be a lot of help in a major accident.

Of course, my list of objectionable behavior extends beyond wheeled vehicles.

Let’s begin with one of the minor offenses: carrying a water bottle wherever one goes.  We do not live in the Gobi: now, there would be a place to always have a water bottle close at hand.  Texas, unless one travels farther west than San Antonio, does not seem to require bottles of water at the ready.  I believe some people believe that drinking water all day long will purify their bodies and make them live forever.  I’ll be sure to place a bottle of water in your coffin just as soon as I put out my cigarette.

I don’t know what category this falls under: tattoos.  I’m dismayed by how many folks seem to think that somehow getting tattoos of butterflies, dragons, hearts, chains, etc. will somehow enhance their lives.  I suggest they improve their personalities, and they’ll find little need for skin art.  Just a thought.

When I was growing up, a man would never enter a building without removing his hat.  I still don’t.  It’s just a man’s way of showing respect for the folks who own or occupy the structure entered.  Hell, Paul “Bear” Bryant removed his famous hounds tooth hat when he entered a domed stadium.  The least you can do, fellows, is take off your damned silly hats when you enter a movie theater.  We can tell that you have no respect for anyone or anything without taking out a hat sign.

Let’s not forget people who talk loudly in movie theaters.  Shooting offense: discussion over.

I’m a smoker: I have been since I was eighteen years old, and I suspect I will be when they put me in the ground.  Being a nonsmoker does not make you superior.  It just means you probably have much worse habits.  Think about it.

As for you food Nazis, I celebrate the fat kid eating a triple decker cheeseburger at the local eatery.  You folks were the ones against illicit sex.  You finally saw that cause was hopeless, so you moved on to smokers and cheeseburger eaters.  I’m sure you’re proud of yourselves.

People who claim that the music they grew up with was the best music are often mistaken.  Face it fellows, those of you who grew up in the seventies had crap for music: in your heart, you too know that.

Attractive young women who are reduced to driving loud smoking old unairconditioned cars and live in crap trailers and wear tacky clothes: get over it.  You had choices.  You just didn’t make the right ones.

Doctors don’t get a pass on my list of things that irritate me.  How many times have doctors leaned forward as if they’re passing on the word from Mt. Olympus that salt isn’t good for you.  Well, Doc, salt may not be good for you, but for most of us, salt and lots of it is a necessity.  You jackasses have preached this so much that damned near every food product we buy is salt free, and if one goes to one of those fried chicken or steak banquets, they never give attendees more than a few grains of salt.  Back off.

People who speak in a public setting on mobile telephones in a loud voice should immediately be executed: discussion over.  I don’t have a mobile phone, and I suspect I never will.

I doubt that you feel any better after reading this rant, but I feel better after writing it.  Thanks for listening.


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