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Pat Rupp: A grumpy old man's list of grievances

For better or for worse one of the stereotypes of males of a certain age (mine) is that they are grumpy old men. Rather than dispute the assertion, I decided to embrace it and put forth a list of my biggest complaints, some things that if addressed would make my life much easier, not to mention more enjoyable.

So with a tsk, tsk on my tongue and shake of disgust of my head, here in no particular order, are seven of my "favorite" annoyances. I was going to do the traditional top 10, but realized there were far more grievances than space. These will have to do for now.

1. Surfing or texting behind the wheel: Pull up to any stop light, look to your right and/or left and I'll guarantee you'll find at least one of your neighbors who has their eyes on their lap. I can live with folks who use the telephone while driving, but come on already. I don't have that many years left and I don't want to spend any of them in the hospital as an accident victim.

2. Speaking of driving... I'm perfectly content now to avoid the passing lane except to pass (a novel idea) but unfortunately not everyone is of the same opinion. Snailing along in the far left lane not only clogs up traffic flow but it also encourages impatient drivers to the start playing the annoying game of high-speed change-a-lane. See last sentence of No. 1.

3. Phone solicitations: Caller ID has taken care of most of these issues at our house, but every so often I take a chance and pick up. Whether it's Rachel or Monica from Card Services informing me my credit is OK, but ...or that annoying guy named Brad with the foreign accent wanting to fix my computer, they are a real pain in the backside. What part of the Do Not Call list do they not understand?

4. Speaking of phones... Calling a service provider usually means getting an automated menu where you chose from a variety of options. Unfortunately, by the time I get to the fourth choice I have already forgotten the first three and have to start over. Once the choice is made, I'm forwarded on to yet another menu and then another and all of a sudden I can't recall who I've called or why I've called them. Very frustrating.

5. Check writers at the checkout counter: The wait time in the checkout line at Target or the grocery store is long enough without having to watch a customer meticulously dot the i's and cross the t's on a personal check, enter it in the register and I swear try to balance his or her monthly statement while the line stretches to the back door. There's this new invention out now called a credit card. Check it out.

6. Over-complicated billing statements: The worst are the Explanation of Benefits notices from the insurance company which usually says something to the effect of: "you pay most of it and we'll kick in some pocket change."

But the utility statements are worthy competitors. We bundle our internet service, telephone and television and the monthly statement looks like an IRS manual. I'm sure we overpay but couldn't prove it without legal counsel. I much prefer bills like the one I get from the guy who tunes up my lawn mower ever spring. It reads thusly...Tune-up (parts and labor), tax, total amount due. Less is more.

7. Talking in the movie theater: We went to a bargain matinee at a suburban megaplex a couple of weeks ago and most of the discernible dialogue came from two women in the audience who apparently thought they were at a coffee shop.

And speaking of movies, how about those concession stand prices. On this day the two tickets came to $10 and some change while a small bag of popcorn and a bottle of water cost $11.25. Let's hear it for free enterprise.

The list of life's annoyances could go on and on but I have a word limit to meet. Besides there will be plenty more things to complain about tomorrow. Such is life in the world of the grumpy old man.

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