I put together some readers' gripes columns after m #F colleague Bob Greene did a series of heartwarming columns on what made people happy. I believe in journalistic balance.
Let the venom flow:
Short men suffering from a Napoleon complex.
The guy who sits down alongside me at the bar or lunch counter and asks, breathlessly, "How'd the Cubs do last night?" I couldn't care less how the Cubs did last night. And I don't take it for granted that he cares who won when Solti played Shostakovich. My usual response when asked, for example, how the Cubs did, is, "Don't ask me. I don't know nuthin' about football."
Bald men who have a few strands of long hair they comb over the top of their head.
People who neglect to remove their lint from public dryers. I'd include a subcategory for the jerk who once washed what could have been an entire roll of paper towels in the public machine in my basement. Thanks, buster. I wore your beaded-up paper crumbs in the lapels of my shirts for months.
People who chew with their mouths open.
The most overrated play in any sport -- the SLAM DUNK. Tons of praise heaped upon 6-foot-8-inch to 7-foot-plus athletes for their ability to lift a basketball above a basket and slam it through a basket the height of which was designed as a challenge to players who averaged about a foot less in height. To top it off, we have professional athletes then swinging from the basket rim as though overwhelmed by a sudden impulse to prove Darwin right.
Bass fishermen that drive grossly overpowered boats as they race from place to place at maniacal speeds in what should never have become a competitive endeavor. I still have a copy of your old column on bullheads as the only real fish.
Running out of beer on a Sunday afternoon.
Grunge -- if you want to wear ratty clothes why not switch yours with a homeless person instead of paying designer prices to look like a bag lady? Or go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army and buy used clothes and make your own statement.
Nonsmokers and nondrinkers.
Republicans who extol FDR and Mr. Truman at their national conventions, leading the unknowledgeable or young to assume these two were of the GOP. FDR and Mr. Truman would puke.
These ads for fancy cars saying they can zoom from 0 to 60 mph in six seconds. With all the speed nuts on the highways, this only exacerbates their desire to break all speed laws.
Following a school bus when you're late for work.
vTC When a newscaster such as Dan Rather signs off with, "See you tomorrow." Can he really see me?
I think a new national law should be passed: If anyone without a handicapped license plate parks in a handicapped parking space, then anyone passing by the car should be entitled to slash all four tires without fear of prosecution.
Merchants have no right to charge more for large size clothes unless they charge less for small sizes, which, of course, they don't. This is discrimination.
Men's cologne. Who are they trying to attract? The women in the next state?
People who think that you too will find it a delight to listen to their kids' songs and stupid attempt at rhymes on their message machines. Before I leave a message, I'll choke the kid!
Anyone who refers to adult women as "girls."
The jerks who come to sporting events to get drunk. We sat behind one guy at a football game who came in drunk out of his mind and proceeded to slump in his seat until midway through the fourth quarter, when he awoke and stumbled off to the men's room, clutching his crotch. He never returned.
I become dazed when people say, in the middle of the worst storm of the year, "Boy, it sure is coming down." Then look at me like they are waiting for me to find that an opening for intelligent conversation.
Having to carry a purse.
Editorializing the weather reports. The TV weather reporters feel compelled to classify the weather as "good" or "bad." Good weather for them is always the golfer's sunny day. If a cloud appears we are "warned" about bad weather on the way. The West Coast is suffering a seven-year drought. Rain isn't bad.
Super patriots who get emotional highs from butt-kicking Third World countries.
I can't stand Phil Donahue. I imagine a part of the reason for this dislike is my lack of interest in lesbian mothers-in-law or men who form romantic attachments with farm animals.
Rabid feminists who deny their femininity and who have zero sense of humor.
The 99.9 percent of Americans who are dead set against socialism but most of whom grab public dollars as fast as they can get their hands on them. So the attitude seems to be, "I'm dead set against socialism for everyone except myself."
Citizens of Indiana who believe that Ronald Reagan and Bob Knight stand for all that is good and holy.
Individuals who feel better by writing to a "gripes" column; I'm miserable and will not "have a nice day."