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Geneva, You're Getting on My Last Good Nerve

And it's time to stop it!

Despite my best efforts to impart my impeccable wisdom as to the impenetrable error of your ways, just when I think I’ve think I’ve finally managed to browbeat you into behaving a little better, y’all insist upon getting on my last good nerve.

Why, some of you have become so adept at annoying me that it makes me want to whack you upside the head with a virtual newspaper. So, with only the best of intentions in mind, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

And we’ll start with your children, who should neither be seen nor heard.

If you kept ‘em locked up as nature intended, that’d be one thing. But no! You insist upon thrusting your ill-mannered brood upon the rest of mankind and then expect us to smile when their mere presence on this planet is more horrifying than the thought of Lindsay Lohan driving again.

My sanity-saving solace was that I could always beat a hasty retreat when confronted by your perturbing progeny, but now I can’t even do that because of a vile new trend in advertising.

I refuse to give the specific local car-dealer family the satisfaction of mentioning their short name, but watching them parade their bratty brood in front of the camera just to sell automobiles is far more frightening that Mitt Romney’s magic underwear.

What I want these marketing geniuses to tell me is, how does the fact you can procreate—something that falls into the realm of sneezing—specifically qualify you to sell a $25,000 vehicle?

And now we even have a radio advertisement following the same annoying format. The end times are most certainly upon us.

Along those same lines, and even though it’s not nearly as egregious as what we’ve just described, having your children create a shrieking, rambling and completely incoherent answering machine preamble is a crime against humanity that should be punishable by death by stoning.

Not the kids—the parents. If I really wanted to listen to something like that I’d turn on Fox News.

And I’m sad to say one of the offenders in that regard is none other than our esteemed owner Marty Kane, who really oughtta know better. The only reason I forgive him is because, unlike your ill-mannered miscreants, his children are well-behaved.

The only thing worse than those narcissistic answering machine folks are the ones who actually let a 5-year-old answer the phone. I would advise against that if for no other reason than I will now proceed to teach him or her some new phrases that will make him or her the hit of the kindergarten class.

My absolute favorite part of this ritual is when you ask the completely confounded curtain climber if their mommy or daddy is home only to have them respond with a simple “yes” followed by a long dead silence. Personally, I’d make ‘em start practicing the phrase “do you want fries with that” now because that’s exactly where they’re headed.

And, yes! Despite getting pushback from some of you, not only do those back car window family stick figures remain an utter abomination, it’s gotten worse. Now some oblivious parents actually plaster their children’s names below each icon, which is nothing more than an open invitation for all child predators to approach your children as if they've known them for years.

You really oughtta have to pass an IQ test to have kids.

But enough about children! Let’s get back one of my favorite weekly endeavors —grocery shopping.

Please tell me, why is it that so many women absolutely refuse to locate their wallet or checkbook until the very last item has run through the scanner? Then, suddenly confronted with the terrifying notion that groceries generally aren’t free, they start to scramble through their overstuffed purse while the rest of are forced to stand there and enjoy the 10-minute show.

That said, it’s not nearly as bad as the women—and again, it’s almost always females—who can’t settle up a grocery bill with anything less than exact change. Who cares if the line already stretches to the back of the store? They’ll make everyone else wait while they drill to the very bottom of their wallet in search of that last penny.

Lastly, and to digress yet again, I’m not sure if this is the result of that nitwit NFL quarterback, but I’m starting to see too many youth sports participants Tebowing and/or pointing upward after a minor moment.

Ya know, God really doesn’t care about youth sports—or professional sports, either. With all that war, famine and disease stuff to worry about, the fact that your son barely managed to kick the ball in the goal by sheer happenstance certainly shouldn’t be foisted upon Him.

Please get a grip and give God a break! Considering our general planetary condition, He could really use one.

Now, I’m sure at least one you will add commentary to the effect of columnists who expound on their pet peeves are even worse than the inane people they write about. And that’s another thing that annoys me. Please remember that I’m only trying to make the world a better place—for me.

And if you don’t like it, put in the effort and get your own column.

Robert June 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Wheew, I actually feel like I just vented. Enjoyed reading column and I feel pretty darn good now as I prepare to face the day. Thanks Jeff.
Jeff Ward June 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Robert, Now, one of my favorite things (as opposed to a pet peeve) is when a reader gets a column. You sir, are my new hero! Jeff
Colin C. June 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Jeff, Did you ever consider the possibility that everyone in your world is involved in a conspiracy designed to make your life as miserable as possible? We meet regularly just to devise new ways to ruin your day. Looks like it's working. Thanks for the confirmation.
Jeff Ward June 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Colin, Not only have I considered it, but I know it starts with my wife. I always suspected you were involved as well. In that great American narcissistic cultural tradition, why wouldn't I believe the world clearly revolves around me and anything that doesn't go my way is the result of a nefarious conspiracy. Jeff
Kathy Zang June 13, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Another thing. Kids should not be allowed to hem and haw in the Starbuck's line. If they had to drink a cup, black, they would learn that coffee, like answering the phone, is something best left to adults.
Jeff Ward June 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Kathy, You're dead on. And the parents think it's cute! But let's take a step farther, no child should be allowed in a retail establishment of any kind! Jeff
Jen Marsh June 13, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Jeff, I am the breed of woman who has her credit card IN HER fingers within seconds of emptying my grocery cart. In fact, I am usually waiting for the first item to pass over the plate of glass so that I can scan my card, put it back in wallet and then purse. I then can focus on instructing my children to take a seat on the bench across from the checkout area, but within my eyesight. In spite of my very best efforts, my children are smart enough to find ways to amuse themselves in ways that others may find bothersome. Fortunately, they will possess better self-control, in time and with continued reminding. I get it...and agree that some folks didn't get the memo. I prefer to spare myself the hard stares, rolling of the eyes,etc, while shopping. Now, on another matter...complete strangers who know nothing about you or your family who can't help themselves in offering unsolicited advice. The major busy-bodies who tell you that the store is cold and maybe you should have a sweater on the baby, as you are heading in and they are on the way out. What? Or the time you let your kid eat a pixie stick candy, as a rare treat, you the get sanctimonious stare from the "perfect" mom. I could go on. See, we moms have our complaints, too.
Kelly June 13, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I completely agree! I try to avoid taking my kids out to any retail establishment by all means possible. I consider it a public service. (But, it's really for my own sanity.)
Jeff Ward June 13, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Jen, I'm sure you do, but at least I'd be willing to get behind you in a checkout line! Jeff
Justin Eggar June 13, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Jeff, Feel free to go eat your heart out at Taste of the Himalaya's and come cry on my shoulder. That's what I'm here for. Thanks, Justin
Terry Flanagan June 14, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Cheer up, Jeff. Swedish Days, or Midsommar Festival if you prefer, is just around the corner.
Jeff Ward June 14, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Terry, Arrrgghhh! That's another one of my pet peeves! Jeff
James June 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Jeff Get off your high horse and Stop wasting the readers time learning more about your pathetic life and the things that bother you. The patch wasn't created for you to cry about everything you don't like about people. Have some respect for people who are so smart they don't think about the stupid things they do. Lead by example and have patience for those who think you suck.
Jeff Ward June 14, 2012 at 01:15 PM
James, Why? The whole point of having a column is so you can complain about other people. Jeff
James June 14, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Jeff Maybe that's why you write for the patch and other crappy newspapers. 30% of your stories are good. The other 70% are verbal diarrhea.
Jeff Ward June 14, 2012 at 02:16 PM
James, Unless I got really drunk last night, I can't remember putting a gun to your head and forcing you to read anything. Please avail yourself of the obvious solution.
i.p. freely June 14, 2012 at 03:23 PM
If you hate children and women so much, I'm sure there are a couple of bars in the city where you wouldn't have to worry about either of those. Just head down towards wriglyville.
Robert June 14, 2012 at 06:36 PM
@James. Easy fix for your woes, go read somewhere else for goodness sake. I found the column comical and entertaining and that certainly was the whole point of the column. You aren't reading Science Journal here. You have to lighten up,have some fun with this column, and don't be so literal.
Marty Kane June 14, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Jeff- I think my message is sooooo cute...at least thats what people tell me. Anyways, I forgot that was my message until you brought it up, I recorded it 5 years ago. Since you hate it so much, I plan on leaving it up until they graduate from college. Thanks for the compliment about my kids, my wife gets most of the credit for that one. Feel free to call me anytime and remember to leave a messge. By the way, I put the fruitty Bran Muffins back on the menu.

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