Cumberland Times-News

June 16, 2012

Much in our world is extremely annoying

Maude McDaniel, Columnist
Cumberland Times-News

— Ohmigosh, I can hardly wait to write this column. I’ve been collecting examples for it for a couple of days now — that’s all it takes to find enough annoying things in the world for still another column on the subject.

Maybe you won’t find these things as annoying as I do, but that’s okay. This column isn’t for either one of you — it’s for Me! (And, no, I will not find self-centeredness annoying in this column.)

First, let me direct your attention to that awful voice underneath the Hyundai commercials: CHUNDAI CHA ZIT! If you have not heard it, you cannot imagine the level of excitement it signifies, which is closer to an announcement of the end of the world than a plea to buy a car. Hyundai has it, all right, the biggest loudmouth in the TV commercials of our time.

Words are a big part of my annoyances this week. Words like wellness and truthiness, memes and tropes, which have already been accepted as part of our modern vocabulary, though no one knows exactly what they mean at any given moment. Oh, yes, and the biggest pain of all, “ek cetera.” Folks, folks, please — know that this phrase, which means, “and so forth,” is not “ek” but “et.” It’s ET cetera, I tell you! ET CETERA! Do you hear me?

And “ostensively,” which people keep saying instead of “ostensibly.” And if you don’t believe me, ask any Latin teacher around — oops, that’s right. There are no Latin teachers around these days, just retired Latin teachers, since I have heard that Latin is not being taught in public schools here any more. Just one more foundation of our culture disappearing under our very eyes — et al and sub rosa, of course.

And where did this come from? A lover (usually male) wiping his girlfriend’s tears away — with his thumb! This appears to be the universal sign of male sensitivity in modern movies, or at least TV movies. (I don’t go much to the other movies, which seem to explode a lot.)

Supermarket carts that list to one side are annoying.

Irony out of control is annoying, to the point of nuttiness, as in books about Jane Austen heroines, Abraham Lincoln, and Jesus Christ being vampires or vampire hunters. And these are best-sellers! Just about the only role models we have left in this world of Grand Theft Auto are being systematically undermined by such trash, but it sells, and that’s the most annoying part about it all. People seem to love it.

Well, teen-agers do anyway, and honest, folks, they really are people. Besides that, it’s the grownups who produce the stuff, so who do you blame really, hormone-crazed kids or the steely adults that cater to them? And I’m leaving that “who” in there (although the word should be “whom” ).I will probably get some guff for even mentioning it. Good English gets no respect these days, but you should always strive to achieve it, I believe.

Except when youse want to make a point.

Don’t you think that narrow toilet paper in store bathrooms is annoying?

And people who get bent out of shape when you say, “Have a nice day?”

Most annoying of all — people who set you up by declaring that you think something you don’t necessarily think, like one I heard the other day: “And you thought that only bad people do bad things.” No, I don’t think that, and never did, so don’t preach at me for something you say I think, but I don’t.

Is that clear?

Advertisers do this a lot. First they set you up with something like this: “You always thought it was hard to clean your septic system, didn’t you?” Well, er — a, haven’t thought about it recently — haven’t had a septic tank since 1985. Then they close in for the kill. What they say implies, “Lady, you are so dumb I can hardly stand it — if you had any sense at all you’d have been using Septic System Blowout every other day for all these years — even if you don’t have a septic tank. It’ll solve all your problems, except that one about being so dumb.”Strangely enough, I find that insulting.

Still, the folks who really get my goat are the ones who say, “This is not your mother’s (or your father’s) world.” No, it’s not, but we all might be better off if it were.

Anyway, taking everything into consideration in this column, I have decided unanimously (me, myself and I) to award today’s Annoying Prize to people who deliver their opinions on every subject in the world (ok, people like me) and then end up saying, “Think about it,” or “Think again.”

As if I never thought about it until their superior brain brought it up?

Actually, I find that annoying even though I might agree with them, which, I suppose, is rather annoying of me.

Think about it.

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.