Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Batavick: Things that got my goat so far in 2018

It’s time for my semi-annual list of things that really got my goat in the last six months. Read on and see if you agree.

Twenty-somethings with facial and sleeve tattoos. Just wait. From rebellion to regret in 10 years.


Microsoft computer updates. I recently thought I turned off my computer before going to bed. When I couldn’t sleep, I went back into my office. The computer was whirring away, and the screen announced it was installing updates. I found this spooky. New intuitive interface? Not for me. I had to hire professional help to access my files and get the computer to talk to the printer again.

Daisy chain emails. I remember these when they were an unwanted staple of snail mail, and they are no more desirable as email. If I delete them and don’t forward them to 10 new parties as directed, I resent being accused of not loving Jesus or not supporting the troops or inviting bad luck. It is all superstitious nonsense.


Telephone scams warning you that you have to renew your license for Microsoft software or that you owe a penalty payment to the IRS or BGE. Because they leave you a phone number to call, why can’t we catch these weasels?

Fast talk at end of radio commercials. You know — the mile-a-minute spiels at the end of car commercials that are the equivalent of a contract’s small print? There are reasons dealerships don’t want you to hear all of the special conditions that apply if you purchase their cars, and they aren’t good.

The pillory Hillary and bam Obama crowd. Whenever Trump says or does something outrageous, please stop saying, “But what about what Hillary and Obama did?” Keep your eyes on the road ahead — not on the rear-view mirror.

The “no opinion crowd.” No matter what the topic, from “right to life” to gun control to Russian meddling in our elections, there’s always about 15 percent of the population who have no opinion when polled. Do they all live in the same complex of caves?

Lottery tickets. They are nothing but a regressive tax on the poor; a sucker’s bet for the math-challenged, ignorant of how odds work.

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Printing your own statements. An area bank charged my wife $2 for a paper statement. I love trees as much as anyone, but understand that growing them is a big part of agri-business. I also understand that getting me to use my ink and paper is saving the bank and like-minded companies a fortune in materials and postage while putting the onus on consumers. Don’t stick your cost of doing business on me.

The new school calendar. Forced on K-12 students across the state to benefit Ocean City merchants after Labor Day, it robbed kids of a spring break.

Traffic camera phobia. If you follow traffic laws, obey the speed limit and stay off your phone, you have nothing to worry about. The big bonus for the rest of us? Safer roads.


NRAosis (pronounced “neurosis”). A type of mental illness common among professional politicians. It is characterized by fear of losing NRA campaign contributions; obsession with an antiquated interpretation of Second Amendment rights (“A well regulated militia” is not a guy in camo with an AR-15); and blind disregard for the safety and lives of others, especially school children.

The new Medicare cards. It’s wise they no longer have Social Security numbers on them, but they’re still made of cheesy cardboard. Really? How come unsolicited plastic cards from the likes of Xfinity and the AAA arrive monthly? Can’t Uncle Sam afford to do likewise?

Defeating the so-called “rain tax.” Our District 5 General Assembly team is claiming bragging rights. Any second thoughts after the devastation of Ellicott City and flooding of Sykesville?

Uncoordinated growing seasons. Lettuce loves cool weather, and my garden prolifically produces it in May aside straggly tomato seedlings. By the time I have ripe tomatoes in the heat of the summer, lettuce is but a fond memory — the space now occupied by peppers or eggplant. I wish nature could get its act together.