“Hey, there’s that grumpy old man,” said a lady at the grocery store the other day.
“You talkin’ to me?” I snapped back (Mafia-style), which I think ruined any kind of denial I was planning to offer.
“I read your column every week,” she said. “You are always grouchy about something. Just like my husband. What good does it do you to complain?”
Am I really that cantankerous? I went back over all my weekly columns since 2001 to see if I could find any evidence of her claim. I only found about 324 examples. However, that’s over 15 years, so I think that puts me in the “easy-going kind of guy” category.
Here are some of the things I’ve complained about over the years, along with a few new ones. Sadly, despite my whining, nothing is going to change.
Cereal boxes: I can go into the dollar store and buy 50 zip-lock bags for a buck, but the skinflints at Post and General Mills can’t find a lousy two cents to put their Cheerios and Wheaties into a zippable plastic pouch inside their cardboard boxes. I know that there are many people who think the current packaging is just fine. And that’s not even counting 100 billon tiny black ants.
Phone extensions: I call people in their office at a small company and their phone extension is like 78456. Seriously. How about six? Six would be a good extension. And by the way, I live on a street with four houses and my number is 8210. And while I’m in a grumpy mood about numbers, I don’t like having to put in the area code to call my neighborhood across the street. None of the numbers stored in my cell phone include the area code, so I have to copy the number or remember it so I can dial it again, and this is really hard when I’m driving and drinking coffee. Now my blood pressure is going up, and it’s not the coffee.
Iced tea: I want every waiter in Indiana to know that the next time I order an iced tea, I do not want it served with a thin slice of lemon desperately clinging to the rim of the glass. YOU CANNOT SQUEEZE A SLICE OF LEMON; YOU NEED A WEDGE OF LEMON. NOT A SLICE. A WEDGE!
Now, here are a few things I don’t want people to say to me when I am out and about.
“Would you like a bag for that?” Clerks ask me that all the time. That’s fine when you have several small items. But the other day I bought a small package of M&M’S. “Would you like a bag for that?” “NO, THEY ARE ALREADY IN A LITTLE BAG.” (I’m yelling again, aren’t I?)
“Have you dined with us before?” Why do waiters ask that question? How could that make a difference? No, we’ve never been here before. I see food items listed on this big piece of paper with prices next to each one. Now what do we do?
“Will that be all?” Oh, thank you for asking. Oh, yeah, I forgot that snow blower I came in for.
“Have any big plans this weekend?” Cashiers always ask me this on Thursdays and Fridays. I also don’t want them to ask if I had a nice weekend on a Monday or a Tuesday. This is why I only shop on Wednesdays.
So, do you still think I’m grumpy? Hey, who asked you, anyway?
Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Reporter. Send comments to email@example.com.