Best of Jeff Ward: Do As I Say, and No Genevan Gets Hurt!

Eight pet peeves, Geneva style. Some of you folks are trying my limited patience.

  • Editor's Note: Jeff Ward actually took the weekend off. (Gasp!) So, we're running a "best of Jeff" that originally was published May 2, 2011.


I think I’ve finally learned something from Fox News. Don’t worry! It certainly wasn’t anything factual. It’s this: What’s the point of having a voice if you don’t use your journalistic pulpit to advance your own agenda?

So, in the spirit of that “news” service, and since I’m nothing if not “fair and balanced,” and in the interest of making the world a better place for, well, me (who else really matters?), here’s a few things I’d like you all to cease and desist immediately!

Stop putting a little stick figure sticker representing each of your family members on the back window of your minivan. I saw that sad sight again last week at Peck and Keslinger Roads and it drives me nuts. I understand you’re proud of your capacity to procreate, but isn’t advertising your progeny an awful lot like bragging about breathing?

All you’re doing is reminding the rest of us you’ve unleashed a horde of malevolent miscreants upon this hapless planet making it a far less habitable. And if you’ve included little stick figures of your dogs, may I highly recommend seeking the services of a therapist.

Onto the next one! Since none of you knows how to turn left, you’re no longer allowed to make any left turns. Please make three consecutive rights instead.

I understand the proliferation of dual left turn lanes like the one at Randall Road and Williamsburg Avenue have lulled you into lazy driving habits, but c’mon! You must’ve taken drivers ed at some point in your life.

If you’re the lead car in that Randall/Keslinger left turn lane, please pull out into the middle of the intersection and wait for oncoming traffic to clear. The car immediately behind you should follow suit. As the light turns yellow, allow for idiots who insist on running red lights and then those two cars should complete their turns.

The next time one of you just sits on the white line waiting for the next green arrow, we’re gonna find out exactly how much shock your rear bumper can actually absorb.

From friend and Geneva businessman Rob Kelley: “Stop throwing your spent cigarette butts on the street.”

You folks who sit outdoors at the Third and State Street Starbucks are the worst. While I certainly appreciate smokers' willingness to speed along the natural selection process, your foul habit is bad enough as it is. Do you really feel like you need to resort to littering, too?

“It’s a toxic piece of burning garbage that you’ve sucked on, and it’s repulsive,” Rob said. “Your car has an ash tray. You wouldn’t throw a paper cup out the window, so keep your butts to yourself.”

Back to my traffic pet peeves. Why do some of you insist on doing 10 mph down Third Street when the speed limit is 25? I’m not asking you to do warp nine, but geez!

And when you are on Third, or any other Geneva thoroughfare, put the cell phone down, stop gawking and consider there might be someone or something in front of you. Incredibly, while driving directly behind one of you 10-mph-Third-Street gapers, you still managed to rear end city of Geneva code enforcer Jim Forni. But because I was actually paying attention, I managed to avoid hitting you!

Steve Warrenfeltz of Kiss the Sky added this: If, despite the permanent and lighted no-left-turn signs at eastbound State and Third Streets, someone insists on doing just that, please don’t lean on the horn in hopes they’ll discover the error of their way.

Though sorely tempted, I never resort to the horn when even it comes to our previously mentioned errant left turners because honking at stupid people only makes their IQs drop another 50 points. If they had a clue, they would’ve seen the signs and wouldn’t be trying to turn left to begin with.

Instead of honking, just whistle the Guns ‘n Roses Patience intro, and you’ll be on your way soon enough.

Of course, traffic isn’t our only problem! By my last count, Geneva has at least five of those heinous self-storage facilities. Stop it! If you’re moving and you want to make your house seem more spacious, then you have my blessing. But only Americans would pay more to store their stuff than it cost them to begin with.

If you feel the need to fill your garage and a storage unit with your stuff, then you have too much stuff. When comedian George Carlin quipped, “That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it,  trying to find a place for your stuff,” he was KIDDING!

To sew things up neatly here, I never want to see another “Support our Troops” magnetic yellow ribbon on a GMC Yukon as you fly down Route 31 at 60 mph getting all of two gallons to the mile.

If you really wanted to support our troops, you wouldn’t be driving a mega gas guzzler that keeps the oil money flowing to the folks who are shooting at those troops. You’d be driving a Prius, wouldn’t you?

Phew! I feel much better now. After all, isn’t it the GOP way to fervently believe that the rest of the world would be a much better place if only they’d subscribe to whatever you’ve been thinking for the last five minutes? Viva la Glenn Beck!

Jeff Ward May 02, 2011 at 12:41 PM
Sandy, That cop and the traffic school were wrong! Every Evanston Township High School driving instructor taught me right way to make a left turn. Surprisingly, I just went through the Illinois rules of the road and it's not covered. I'll have to research it further. Jeff
Sandy Klimowski May 02, 2011 at 02:36 PM
I agree with Jeff. Went to driving school before I got my license (my high school didn't offer it) and we were taught to pull into the intersection when waiting to make a left turn. I believe that was the way my children were taught at Geneva, too.
Sandy Kaczmarski May 02, 2011 at 02:47 PM
That's the way I learned it too, in school, quite a while back. That's why I was surprised during the online "traffic court" it said not to do that. May be something new. But most people still pull out in the intersection. I get annoyed when they don't -- lucky to get one car through that way!
robert poznanski May 02, 2011 at 03:12 PM
While we are talking "pet peeves"(or how about things that irk us collectively?)how about, those who cant pick up after their "pets"! Or the "woman" who shoots you "the bird", for getting in her way on the road, for what ever reason, while chatting away on the phone! Or the newspaper columnist who takes the easy way out, for an article! Or, well, you get it! If you are having a bad day, it is easy to blame the "other guy", but if you think about it, we all are just trying to make it through the day! Try to think of the other guy, and maybe, just maybe, he'll start thinking about you!!!Remember, we were all not put here to make life easy, just for you, that would be "to easy!!!!
S Orichiella May 02, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Instead of being "irked" because someone is not making the left turn to you liking, why not take a deep breath and think that perhaps the driver is driving with a learners permit or just got their license and being extra cautious. And since you were specific about the intersection, Randall and Keslinger, perhaps the driver is on their way to chemo or dialysis at Delnor? We can't assume we know what's going on in the car in front of us, so before you push the bumper in on someone elses car think about how you want others to respond when your kids are on the road driving.
Jeff Ward May 02, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Robert, I already covered the pet doo doo in an entire Patch column. "Easy way out!" I write 5 columns a week (Courier News, Beacon News and 3 Patch) and, thankfully, Rick N. encourages me to have a little fun when I write over the weekend. Jeff
Jeff Ward May 02, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Dear S. I just used that intersection as an example, but any Geneva intersection with a single left turn lane would work. But now that everyone in Geneva has read this column we no longer have to worry about problem left turners! Jeff
S Orichiella May 02, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Wow! Everyone in Geneva has read this article? I didn't know you were that popular!
Terry Flanagan May 02, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Jeff, I'm sure if you put your mind to it you could write an encyclopedia of pet peeves. :)
Jeff Ward May 02, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Dear S. I'm a legend in my own mind! Please don't forget that.
Jeff Ward May 02, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Terry, Yes! Like aldermen who vote for B&Bs when, clearly, the residents don't want them. Jeff
Terry Flanagan May 02, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Jeff, Those pesky B&Bs, which according to some skeptics lie on a scale somewhere between a brothel and a frat house. I'm sure that if every resident had veto power, Geneva would be a ghost town, or worse yet, another Wayne.
Kurt Wehrmeister May 02, 2011 at 06:29 PM
I frequently cross Randall at Williamsburg, both on foot and on a bike, and I would challenge Geneva High's fastest sprinter, let alone out-of-shape-53-year-old-yours-truly, to go from curb to curb in the roughly five seconds that the white "walk" sign appears. The helpful little sign posted next to the "press for walk sign" button at that intersection instructs pedestrians to "not begin" their crossing once the orange "don't-walk" sign begins flashing, and that's certainly sensible. But until we perfect Gene Roddenberry's "beaming" technology, no human I know of can complete that crossing while the white sign is flashing.
Pam DiDonato May 02, 2011 at 11:23 PM
I have to say I used to get really steamed when someone didn't pull out into the intersection so both he and I could take the left once the light turned yellow! As I get a little older (and wiser) it seems to me that this can be a really bad spot to sit during rush hour, wet weather, and during my frequent drives as a passenger with my 16 year old learning to drive. I do understand that if we sit in the intersection, it's legal for 2 of us to take the turn when the light turns yellow, but for those of you that are steamed, please have some patience for those of us that weigh the options at times!
John Perdikus April 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Better late than never: from p. 23 of Illinois Rules of the Road: • To oncoming traffic when making a left-hand turn. If you enter an intersection while the light is green, you may finish your turn even though the light turns red.
Mr. Ed April 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Let's add one more.....those old political bumber stickers! George and Dick aren't coming back, Edwards....oh well....and Obama 08 Hope and Change. Oh, by the way....I always wanted to ask how that hope and change was working for them! lol
Jack April 30, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Jeff, The scardy-cat left turners who won't go into the intersection are annoying, but the really dangerous left turners are those who sit waiting with their front wheels already turned. A smack on the rear bumper will move them into the path of high-speed opposing traffic. Such a chain reaction process frequently results in multiple-vehicle, often serious injury accidents, at busy intersections. Rear-end collisions being so common, no one should think that such a deadly scenario is unlikely. Having come to Illinois from out-of-state a few years ago, I was under the impression that cocked wheels at the intersection was illegal here, though perhaps only in Chicago. At any rate, it ought to apply everywhere as a matter of conscience and common sense. It is an extremely dangerous practice.
Mike Bruno April 30, 2012 at 03:29 PM
It is not limited to Geneva, but it seems that very, very, very few people know how to navigate a four-way stop or (gasp!) a blinking stop light. The person going STRAIGHT has the right-of-way and goes first. The person turning (who has *slowly* crept into the intersection) THEN turns behind the care that just went straight. This nearly doubles the amount of traffic that can get through the intersection in a given cycle. You are doing NO ONE any favors by *courteously* letting the person turn in front of you. You are just slowing all the traffic behind you down. [end of my Andy Rooney moment]
Beth Morgan May 01, 2012 at 12:29 PM
One of my pet peeves? When Jeff targets his neighbor (that's our blue vehicle) when one of those " malevolent miscreants stick figures" has always been understanding and compassionate towards one of his family members when others have not. Very sad behavior on your part.
Jeff Ward May 01, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Beth, Really? So you also think I'm going to ram cars that don't make appropriate left turns? And I'm gonna work towards a ban on self-storage units too? And, considering the tight shot, how would anyone know who's vehicle that was? The entire column was a joke and, though I'm probably going to get him in trouble by saying this, your husband stopped me on the street yesterday to tell me how funny it was. Once again, to anyone who does not appreciate my sense of humor, please refrain from reading my columns. Thank you! Jeff
Tami May 01, 2012 at 09:34 PM
How about "I'm sorry".? Jerk
Rich Walker May 01, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Wow, Jeff...attacking your neighbors? Even for you that's out of line. What's especially "icky" about your reply to Beth is the mention of her husband's comment. That kind of behavior is sure to make people think twice before even saying hello to you; who wants a casual comment appearing in your column? Do you have any sense of keeping a confidence...or is it all fodder for you? Bad form, Jeff. Really bad form
Jeff Ward May 01, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Rich, Oh no! How will I sleep tonight? Very well! Jeff
Rich Walker May 01, 2012 at 11:32 PM
So the answer is you are above caring about anyone, that you never have to re-think, or perhaps apologize for, anything you say or do. And, if it suits your purpose, you'l use your column to embarrass the neighbors. What a guy.
Jeff Ward May 01, 2012 at 11:32 PM
And let me add that some of you have egos that clearly surpass mine. Everything has to be all about you right? So this neighbor the only one who puts these absurd stick figures on the back of their car? Nothing in the column was an attack on any specific person and for anyone to think that is the height of hubris. To quote Carly Simon, "You're so vain you probably think this column is about you." Not only that, but where were all of you when it ran the first time? It's got to be a year old and I don't even make the choice of what runs when I take a rare day off. I just had fun with another neighbor regarding their lack of knowledge about the Kinks. Did any of you really think I was going to call DCFS on the father for not providing the proper music education? It's humor! I am thrilled to have the regular opportunity to comment on the human condition and if you don't like my sense of humor then I have the perfect solution for you. Don't read the columns! I don't watch Fox News for a reason. Jeff
Jeff Ward May 01, 2012 at 11:36 PM
No! The answer is I wasn't writing about any specific person. You'll know when I do because I'll use their name! Jeff
Rich Walker May 01, 2012 at 11:42 PM
No, I was referring to your comment to Beth. You could have let it go, but instead you mentioned what her husband had said to you. A real "Nah-Nah" moment, for you...it was bad form and terribly immature. I repeat, no one wants to see their casual conversations used as your material.
Jeff Ward May 01, 2012 at 11:43 PM
And apparently I'm not the only one that feels this way about stick figure families: http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/s320x320/546568_290931647657483_100002219514175_670436_668664920_n.jpg
Rich Walker May 01, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Beth: See my comments below...sorry you were attacked publicly by this bully with a column and an immense ego. But I'm really sorry you have to have him as a neighbor, especially if he's as charming in person as he is in print.
Noel G. Rooks May 03, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I have a few to add. If you're at a light, please pull up to the line. If you don't, and you sit there, 3 feet back from the line, THE LIGHT WILL NEVER CHANGE. This happens to me all the time at Fabyan and Viking Drive. Gah! I grew up in a town where the "california stop" - the rolling slowdown through the stop sign - was the rule of the masses (and we called it something different, in honor of the town where it was epidemic), I do find it generally refereshing how people adhere tightly to the rules of the road out here in the Fox Valley. But sometimes too much caution is annoying. To wit: if the green right turn arrow is on, KEEP MOVING. Yes, the light is red. But that little arrow means that if you're turning right you have the right of way and should proceed (observing other drivers, of course). But still, don't slam on the brakes while the arrow is on and look confused, for the love of all that's holy. Wow. I do feel better. Thanks Jeff!


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