JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO ANNOY ME As I said before, I know it’s wrong to stereotype one group of people or another. However, I have no problem grouping people together based on a behavior that they all share. Furthermore, I have no problem calling these people out. These people and their behavior bother me so much that I cannot stay silent any longer. The following groups of people are now officially on The List (in no particular order): 1. People who believe that diet pills will make them thin You’re sitting up late at night, eating ice cream directly from the carton, when you see an infomercial on TV for a hot new diet pill that promises to shed those extra pounds you seem to be collecting like comic books. So you call the 1-800-number and shell out a whole lot of money thinking that you can just pop this wonder pill and your weight woes will be history. Fat people can’t read fine print? Try reading those little words at the bottom of the TV screen. I know they aren’t all plump and tasty looking like the big words at the top of the screen, but they are full of stuff that’s really good for you. It’s called information. The pills work (possibly) in conjunction with proper diet and exercise…hmm, maybe proper diet and exercise alone would do wonders for you. If you want to shell out a bunch of money just give it to me. I’ll just come to your house and scream at you to put down the doritos and hit the treadmill. If the pills really worked they’d sell them in every store in America. 2. People who pull up right behind you in their car when you’re trying to parallel park Remember that little test you had to take to get your driver’s license? In order to parallel park, you need to pull PAST the space you want, and then back into it. When I put on my turn signal, and pull past the space, do not pull up right behind me. When you do, I can’t back up. But guess what? I’m not going to just drive off. I’m going to sit there. So you’re either going to have to back up too, drive around me, or put your car in park and get comfy. I don’t know whether you’re trying to steal my parking space or you’re just too self absorbed to realize that I just pulled past the space (slowly I might add) in order to back in to it, but please, learn to drive. 3. Popped collar kids I don’t know why you think it looks good to take the collar on your polo shirt and flip it up like a protective cotton shield for the back of your neck. Maybe when you were sailing around the lake on your yacht and the wind blew your collar up like that you thought it was a sign from the fashion gods. It wasn’t. It’s always you yuppie looking kids that do this. Here’s a news flash. Having a lot of money doesn’t mean that everything you do is cool. If you want to buy some fashion sense, go right ahead, but it doesn’t come free with your trust account. Every time I see one of you I am overwhelmed with the urge to just walk up to you and flip you collar back down. Did you all just get drunk and get awful tattoos on the back of your neck and you’re trying to hide them? Is it like a mating call for preppie, yuppie, cool kids? “Hey look at me my collar sticks up, I’m cool!” All other cool-kid collar poppers…here I am!” Stop popping your collars and start popping your heads out of your asses. Please. 4. Servers at restaurants who try to up sell me. I was a server once. I know the deal. But come on, I can read. Do you think that I don’t notice the big section on the menu that says “Appetizers” or the one that says “Drinks”? I’m not four years old. I don’t need my mom and dad to order for me and I certainly don’t need you to do it. If I did, I’d just call ahead to the restaurant, make a reservation for 7 PM, and just ask that my server pick out a dinner they think I’d enjoy and to have it ready when I got there. Generally, after I’ve already gotten my menu and made my selection, one of you will stroll over to my table and ask, “Do you know what you’d like to order?” Then, once I order, you follow it up with, “Can I offer you some wings, nachos, or something else to start with?” If I wanted an appetizer I would have ordered it. Next time, I think I’ll let you talk me into it. “You’re right, I was going to save this extra ten dollars so I could tip you, but in retrospect, I think I’d be much happier if I used it to get myself some wings. I’m glad you suggested it.” 5. People who ask me for money for a bus or train ticket. At least once a week, someone stops me on the street and tells me some story about how they are stranded in center city and just need a few bucks to get a train or a bus home. If you didn’t have the money to get home from the city, you shouldn’t have come TO the city. It’s not rocket science. This has happened to me in many different cities too. If you want a few bucks for drugs, just say so. Honesty is the best policy. I don’t believe for a second that you somehow made it to the city and then all of a sudden realized in a moment of superior clarity that you’d somehow have to make it home. Maybe the next time you have a few bucks, you should buy yourself an extra bus token, or even better yet, buy yourself a clue. 6. People who are using the word “artisan” to spice everything up. I saw on TV the other night that Wendy’s has new sandwiches that evidently come on artisan bread. I don’t believe for a second that Wendy’s has employed some master baker who has been honing his craft for years. It’s a roll. Your sandwich comes on a roll. Why is it artisan? Because it sounds better? I went out to a restaurant this week for lunch and they had an artisan cheese plate. The sandwich I ordered however, just came on a baguette. If they were going to hire a cheese expert to design their cheese plate, couldn’t they have hired a master baker to make artisan baguettes? Even Wendy’s has a guy to do that. I’ve been writing for a while. Maybe I should call this an artisan blog. I also have a friend who farts all the time, ever since we were little kids. But he doesn’t let one rip and say, “I sure have a handle on my craft. Did you smell that artisan fart?” Stop calling everything artisan. You are only succeeding at becoming artisans in making words lose all of their meaning by over-using them. TIME TO MAKE THE DOUGHNUTS For you loyal readers out there, you probably remember my tale of the power hungry cop that tried to give me a ticket for running a red light (if not, hit the archives and try to keep up). The ticket was later thrown out. In an attempt to gain a little more retribution for cops who like to exert their power by handing out unwarranted tickets, I offer a few humorous suggestions in how to deal with these creeps (I wouldn’t suggest actually using most of these). 1. When the officer first approaches your car, say, “License and Registration please,” right as he also says it. 2. Ask him if he ever watched the show “Cop Rock”. 3. If he asks why you were speeding, tell him you wanted to race. 4. If he asks if you know how fast you were going, tell him you can’t count higher than ten. 5. Ask him where he got his cool hat. See if he’ll rent it to you for a Halloween party. 6. After you sign the ticket he’s given you, say, “Oh sorry, I signed the wrong name”. 7. Pick your nose while he’s talking to you. 8. Ask him if he just wanted to get a better look at your car. See if he wants to buy it. 9. If he makes you get out of the car, trip and fall into him. If he pushes you away, accuse him of police brutality. 10. Keep changing your accent. FROM THE FILES OF: I SAW THAT COMING Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car near the Capitol early Thursday, and a police official said he appeared intoxicated. Who’s his dad again? Ted Kennedy? The apple doesn’t ferment into alcohol and fall far from the tree. Another Kennedy scandal? Shocking! What next? A member of the Bush family will steal more money? Michael Jackson will invite more young boys into his bed? Dick Cheney’s daughter is going to shoot someone? Maybe Bill Clinton will get another job. It’s sad when certain people and certain families lose all of their shock value. When I read the news about another Kennedy in trouble with the law, I didn’t even blink. CINQO DE MAYO That’s right everyone, it’s Friday, and it’s the fifth of May. Everyone go home, grab a cold corona and enjoy the weekend. See you all next week for another Spoon, Full of Truth.