- Kicking the back of my seat in aircraft, at concerts and especially at rugby matches. The bastard behind me knows I'm getting really angry, doesn't he. Do they have to bribe their kids to keep it up for so long? Mate - what's wrong with "Darling, please don't kick the seat in front of you. The man in front is about to rip your little head off'"?
- Slow drivers. I've just sat through 4 hours of a Hampshire police sponsored Driver Awareness course explaining why it's bad to speed (it was my wife's fault I was there... Minutes after I unwisely and inexcusably told her to 'shut up' over a small tiff, I went through a speed camera I hadn't spotted. 'Didn't you see it?' she asked. 'No. Why didn't you warn me?'. 'You told me to shut up...'. Doh.). Back to slow drivers. They're dangerous because I might die of neural atrophy if I can't get past them. The irony is that while I'm risking another speeding ticket, they're risking a parking ticket and we're all in danger because they believe they're 'driving safely'. Drive faster, you dimwits, or sell the car and get a taxi or a bicycle (which you ride in the cycle lane. That's the space between the road markings and the kerb).
- Whoopers. People, usually Americans, who whoop to show they're 'wildly excited' about something. Calm down, twats.
- Nanny state. We wrap our children and citizens in cotton wool at their peril. Our species spent 800 million years learning how to survive and evolve by making mistakes. Now we're not allowed to make them. Rugby is banned from many schools who also handicap kids races so the fat kid gets a prize too. Wake up! He's fat. The fast kid should win the running prize, the fat kid has to win his battles in other ways. If my kids want to take drugs or drink themselves to death, that's their decision. My job is to make sure they know how to evaluate whether it's a sensible thing to do or not. (Kids - if you read this, it's bloody not!).
- Queues. That's 'waiting in line' to my trans-Atlantic chums. The reason there's a queue is because there's an inefficient person or process at the front of it.
- Playing great golf. Odd one, I hear you mutter. So why the fuck can't I always play like that. One day you go out and hit the ball like a god, the next you're exploring parts of your course that you never knew existed. So much easier to relax in the knowledge you are a crap golfer, than to have a very rare peep at something you evidently can be... how frustrating is that?
- Non-English speakers telling jokes in English. Dreadfully unfriendly, I know, but we do have a very peculiar sense of humour (as my blog will have ably demonstrated). It's hard, no matter how well you speak our language, to make us laugh on purpose. This isn't a criticism, it's just an observation that our humour wouldn't be classified as funny in your language, so please don't try and translate what's funny in your language hoping it will amuse us. I suppose it's why it's called 'humouring you' when we laugh at your jokes. Having said all this, I must admit to having met several people who successfully break the rule, but to be on the safe side, I'm asking you to resist the temptation to try it, s'il vous plait.
- Computers. When they work, and you've mastered them as far as you need to, they're wonderful things. But they always always eventually go wrong. And when they do, they're never NEVER easy to fix. Years of my life have been spent rebooting, applying patches, substituting RAM, replacing motherboards, searching forums for explanations of bizarre Blue Screens Of Death (Macs included), hanging windows, or simply lost stuff. I want to disappear and re-appear in 50 years time when everything just works - forever.
- Birthdays. Why should we be happy [birthday] about the passing of another year? Another inch on our waistline. Another set of wrinkles. The death of millions more brain cells. Aching bones. Failing eyesight. Senior moments. Impending bus pass. Grey hair (actually any hair would be good). Retirement/Scrapheap of life. Weaker tennis and golf shots. Less sex. Closer to death. Birthdays are bollocks after 18.
- Mexican Waves. I bought the ticket because, and this might surprise you, I want to watch the bloody match. Not a bunch of noisy kids standing up and waving their hands in the air when the sheep next to them do the same. It's been done before!! It's no longer a) amusing, b) clever, c) surprising or d) conducive to enjoying the game. Whoever is responsible for starting it, get a life or stick to football matches (where I must agree, the wave is usually the most interesting thing to watch. Oh look, he's passed the ball back to the goalie). Next time you're watching a Mexican wave at a rugby or tennis match, look out for the bloke rigidly sitting watching what's going on. It's the Grombler!
- People who stand up at sports events when they're excited. The bloke behind you (usually me) can't bloody see the game at exactly the point when he most needs to. SIT DOWN YOU PRATT!
- Lists of 10 things. Ha!
Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!). My gromble is abo
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