It’s been a tough year.
That’s a long, emotional story for another day, but it’s an important backdrop for this post.
One of the many lessons I have either learned or am actively trying to teach myself during this tough year is to find joy in everything — positivity where there has no business being any.
If you get a couple of beers in most of my Iowa State friends, they will probably tell you this bugs the shit out of them. At all times, I am sucking the negativity out of our group chat as if I’m vacuum-sealing all of them in a bag made of goodness and sunshine. I leave my friends no room for irrationality, projection, or frustration when the Cyclones wind up on the losing end of a game. When it finally does get to be too much to police by myself, I leave the group.
They totally love it!
The point is that has been a personal choice for me, and what’s right for me in my current state is not necessarily what’s right for them in theirs. People are allowed to feel feelings. People are allowed to be upset. I recognized a long time ago that you can’t force anyone to feel or think a certain way. But the truth is, as deliberate as I have been about always being positive lately, there are things that bug me too.
Actually, that is not even close — let me amend that sentence: There is so much stupid stuff that annoys the fucking shit out of me.
And it’s time we talk about it. Let’s be negative! because I’m allowed to feel feelings!
Here’s a list of 10 things I find to be profoundly stupid and annoying:
- When new or young fathers refer to taking care of their children by themselves as being in “dad mode” as if it’s a feature they can toggle on and off on their phone. Check with your wives and let me know if they ever get to turn their “mom mode” off. You don’t have a special mode for being a father. This also extends to performing tasks around the house that have long been perceived as masculine. If you’re drinking beer and building a deck in your backyard, that is what you are doing. You can just use those exact words. That does not have to be “dad mode.”
- When technology is, by all accounts, in perfect working shape and simply chooses not to work. The power button on the remote control, the garage door opener, buffering while streaming — I’m actually going to stop there because this list is endless. Just work. I pay all this money for you to work. Just work!
- People who are over-eager to make things about themselves in a conversation. Don’t get me wrong: Unless both parties go in intentionally focusing on a single topic, it is completely normal and often good for each person to spend time talking about themselves. But there is always that person who doesn’t care about your job or your funny story because they want to talk about their job and their funny story — invalidation and one-upping all rolled into one. Again, there’s a time for your shit (maybe a couple of minutes from now!) but right now, maybe Person #1 just wants to hear, “Aw man. That sucks. I’m sorry,” before anything.
- Driving slower in the rain. Think about all the incredible features of our vehicles that allow them to get around in the rain — the all-weather tires, lane assist technology, and even the basics like windshield wipers. Everyone around you has those things, too! We are all fully equipped to be our normal selves on the road when it rains. Unless your vision is somehow significantly impaired by the rain, please just drive your car like a normal person.
- People who say they can’t function or talk to others without their coffee but reject that it’s an addiction. Take a moment and break that down… If you can’t function as a human being without a hot drink that has a psychoactive stimulant in it, you are very likely addicted to that stimulant. Or you’re just using it as an excuse for being an asshole in the morning. Both things are annoying.
- Corporate jargon. You know, lots of moving parts. Putting something on the back burner. Having something on your radar. Circling back. Being a thought leader. Having too many cooks in the kitchen. Pushing the envelope. Reinventing the wheel. Running something up the flagpole. Going back to the drawing board. Getting your ducks in a row. Taking this conversation offline. Can I interest anyone in a “new normal?” Actually, please just stab me in the face.
- People who do any of the following when they offer sports betting advice:
- Use terms like “steam,” “juice,” or “sharps” incorrectly. In fact, there are many more of these. Maybe we’ll write another piece about that.
- Refuse to base their picks on any data analysis, statistics, trends, etc. I am not betting my real money on your gut feelings. I’m looking for an edge, not a guess.
- Say things like, “I’ve been cold so fade me” or “don’t bet actual money on my picks.” I must be taking crazy pills if you are offering me betting advice and then advising me not to bet it. What the fuck are we doing here?
- Smashing, hammering, pounding, nuking or otherwise “emptying the account” on a bet — and also using literally any of those terms. If you’re giving betting advice to people and not responsibly managing your own bankroll, you’re going to lose people money in the long run.
- Refusing to publicize your short- and long-term betting record. Enough said. Anything short of being transparent about this is irresponsible and slimy.
- In TV and film when prop masters refuse to put any kind of liquid in cups that are supposed to be full of coffee. Look for this specifically next time you turn on the TV. The complete disregard for what’s supposed to be inside the cup… it boggles the mind. The carelessness when carrying it. The force with which it gets slammed onto the table. Lifting it to your mouth like you’re playing tea time with your three-year-old niece. That cup is obviously empty! Just put water in it! Or real coffee!
- The entire sports officiating apparatus. We are only getting smarter and more aware of the rules. We are only getting better, higher-definition access to games from multiple camera angles. We can no longer be beholden to a referee’s 50/50 judgment or “I didn’t see it” or “it’s hard to call in real-time.” It is more obvious than ever when refs fumble the bag, and nothing is being done to fix that. There are largely no checks and balances in real-time and no accountability on the back end. No one is saying natural human error is bad, but we have remedies for it!
- People who take calls on speaker phone in public. Attention whores. Every last one of you. You want people to hear your conversation — that’s it. That’s the only explanation. And yet nobody ever wants that. So you are now a rude attention whore. You did it, great job.