Jeff Ward: How To Make Geneva a Better Place—For Me!

I haven't run out of pet peeves yet!

I’ve been watching my George Carlin DVDs again, and you know what that means. That’s right! In an effort to make Geneva a better place for, well, me (who else really matters?), it’s time for another installment in my never-ending series on, “things you all need to stop doing.” Some of you are getting pretty (expletive deleted) annoying.

So let’s begin!

Because most of you can barely breathe and drive at the same time, you really need to PUT THE CELL PHONE DOWN!

To the gentleman directly in front of me in the white Ford Explorer on State Street last week: As if running the red light at Anderson due to your inability to simultaneously talk and drive wasn’t bad enough, you had to make it much worse by slamming on the brakes and attempting to ram my vehicle in reverse.

You actually made me wish I was driving behind a senior citizen. And though you never interrupted your conversation—I almost did! Next time something like this happens, I’m confiscating cell phones.

And speaking of cell phones, why is it everyone I see walking down State or Third Street has a cell phone plastered to their ear. STOP IT! Aside from the exercise, the entire point of taking a walk is to get away from the kind of folks who think their lives are so important they need to interrupt yours with news of their cat coughing up a hairball.

My sons have been instructed to avail themselves of my cell phone only if one of them has been bleeding for at least 15 minutes, they’re starting to feel faint and a band-aid hasn’t worked.

When my younger son interrupted a five-mile Great Western Trail run with a request to be taken to Target later that day, we didn’t feed him for a week. He got the message.

And speaking of children, despite what you might think, your infuriating progeny are never “cute.” I can barely tolerate my own two miscreants, much less yours. Please! Keep them to yourselves.

For example, in and of itself, visiting Trader Joe’s with your four young children after church isn’t a crime, but arming each one of 'em with one of those mini shopping carts certainly should be. While the two that insisted on ramming me from the side and behind didn’t put a dent in your cloak of obliviousness, they certainly managed to put one in my ankle.

Even when your youngest sped around a corner, capsized his cart, and coated the floor with shards of glass and spaghetti sauce, you never apologized to the staff and let the rest of your ill-mannered brood carry on.

And the mother was pregnant! Why is it that the folks who can’t control one child insist on having five?

Oh! And by the way. Though I absolutely love Trader Joe’s, you need to GET RID OF THOSE (expletive deleted) KIDDIE SHOPPING CARTS. It aggravates the (expletive deleted) out of the rest of us. You might be making one little urchin happy, but they’re making the rest of us miserable.

My suggestion would be to take the material from those carts and build a kiddie cage so paying customers could finally shop in peace. Since I have yet to see a 4-year-old whip out his wallet and pay the grocery bill, you might want to consider catering to your target audience.

STOP USING THE WORD “EPIC.” As in, anyone who applies that adjective to themselves is an “epic” failure. I hear it in . People say it in . And now it’s even made it’s way onto TV commercials. STOP IT! If everything in your meaningless life is “epic” then NOTHING IS!

Back to the whole phone thing! One of my wife’s pet peeves is people who, when asked a voicemail question like, “Do you want to go to the movies this weekend?” don’t call you back. As a Tri-Cities Soccer coach, I can attest that this phenomenon has reached epidemic (not epic) proportions.

So please help me understand this. You’ve purchased an expensive smart phone or some sort of tablet computer with an even more pricey data plan. You can access your e-mail and the Internet even while sitting on the can at Wheeler Park, but you can’t so much as return a simple call asking if your son will make it to the game? Didn’t your mother ever tell you that’s rude?

And so we’re back to confiscating cell phones.

But just when you’re thinking, “That (expletive deleted) columnist has finally gone over the curmudgeonly cliff,” in a heretofore unprecedented move, I’m actually considering removing a group from my long list of intolerable annoyances. No! It’s not Geneva aldermen or the District 304 School Board. It’s motorcyclists!

We’ve previously discussed their insufferable conduct toward road bicyclists, which includes buzzing us at high speeds, verbal taunts and generally behaving like a bunch of immature louts. But this past weekend, after encountering dozens of self-propelled bikers throughout my approximately 70 miles of riding, not only did nary a one engage in that kind of antisocial behavior, but four separate motorcyclists waved at me with all five fingers!

At first, I thought I’d accidentally slipped into some sort of alternate quantum reality, but then I read about 20-year-old Bristol Palin releasing an autobiography where she blamed wine coolers for the loss of her virginity. But that’s a whole new level of annoying we'll deal with another time.

Wow! I feel much better now. These columns are way better than therapy and a heck of a lot cheaper!

Todd T June 27, 2011 at 12:57 PM
This have nothing to do with Geneva.
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 01:17 PM
Todd, C'mon! It's my altruistic attempt to make a Geneva a better place. It has everything to do with our fair city! Jeff
Sandy Klimowski June 27, 2011 at 01:55 PM
It has everything to do with Geneva. Every single thing in that article happens in Geneva. Or is this just another way of sticking our heads in the sand (there are no drugs at our high school!)?
Pam DiDonato June 27, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Wow, I do see what you mean, Jeff! I moved here from Dallas this winter, and I thought that was bad, but unfortunately, Geneva has Dallas beat as far as the number of people using cell phones in public. It seems there isn't a driver on the road that isn't on a cell phone. It's pretty bad.
CJN Cowhey June 27, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Not even remotely "funnily" written. Writers who THINK they are clever and/or funny are the worst. And please, leave poor George Carlin out of this.
robert poznanski June 27, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Wow dude, take a Valium and chill! The things you speak of are endemic of our present society, and the moral and social breakdown of even rudimentary civility,have gone the way of the dial phone! However, it is also indicative of the larger problem, that of ME, ME, ME!! It would be more inclusive if you were more for US, than just ME! Life today is a constant barrage , and giant advertisement , to get every last once of attention from everyone, for whatever reason,(usually for your last buck) and it is easy to see why more important things are overlooked, and ignored, and relearning to focus, on the present situation,would be in societies, and in the end, YOUR best interest! Just saying!
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Sandy, I caught you cheating on my with the Daily Herald! I thought we were exclusive. I'm crushed. Jeff
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Robert, Um! Part of the joke was that I was pretentiously acting just as badly as the folks in the column. And remeber! As our first reader so cogently pointed out, I am a Geneva columnist. Jeff
Jen Marsh June 27, 2011 at 02:50 PM
I agree...the shopping carts, for many kids, is not a good idea. I will say that my 6 and 3 year old do like them. We have rules about running w/them, walking into people, etc. TJ's is a great store and we enjoy going there. I like to go, early in the am or before 12pm, when the store is less crowded. If I go on a weekend day, it is without the kids. I would rather not get the hate stares and sanctimonious looks (some folks just don't like small kids and would prefer them to stay out of their way/earshot/view).
kendra June 27, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Seriously? I think your impatience and disdain for children should disqualify you from being Tri-Cities coach. Trader Joes - I hope you never get rid of the shopping carts. I love that MOST people and stores in Geneva make an effort to be kid-friendly.
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Kendra, No! It's not seriously! That's the whole point. Jeff
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Jen, The truth is, if a parent makes even a modest effort to supervise their children at TJs, I have no problem with the carts. The problem is, unlike you, the vast majority let 'em run up and down the aisles. Jeff
Sandy Klimowski June 27, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Sorry Jeff - But what day are you talking about.? There was the picture of my son and I walking with an umbrella in the rain. And, then, someone interviewed us yesterday at the parade. I haven't seen that one yet. Would have given you an exclusive if I had seen you. Did make the patch for the Friday dance!!
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Sandy, I was essentially acting as the jealous columnist by saying that once you appear in one of my columns, you cannot speak to another paper! You in turn were supposed to say something like, "I'd never cheat on you Jeff. They made me talk to them." Jeff
Rich Hayhurst June 27, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Jeff, Great article, your insight into Geneva has a fun 'Twain-ish' quality. ...typing away from a rather smallish, but spotless and 3G friendly ,Wheeler park office courtesy the Geneva Park District.
Sandy Klimowski June 27, 2011 at 03:26 PM
The brat they gave us from one of the service organizations twisted our arms!
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Rich, You got the point! Those columns are a lot of fun to write. Jeff
Jeff Ward June 27, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Alright, Sandy. I forgive you!
Rudy June 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Wow what a bunch of thin skinned criers lately! The article was meant to be funny and slightly insightful and trust me my kids would rather deal with a stranger than face my wrath! I take a quote from one of my favorite movies TAKE IT EASY MYRIN!
Rob O. June 28, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Anyone go to the parade? Look up the column on the parade and you can read my cranky thoughts of the parade.
Dennis C. Ryan June 28, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Jeff; You should add to your list those Geneva drivers who make U-turns in traffic on State Street to get into a parking spot on the opposite side of the street. And, don't class all motorcyclists together. We don't all ride Harleys, wear nose-picker fingerless gloves, and play "Hell's Angel" on weekends while away from our accountants' office desks.


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