The Grumpy Man’s New Rules

I think I have crossed a certain line in my battle with aging. My kids keep saying things like, “Geez, Pop, you sound really old.”

There ought to be a law!

I smile knowingly, dismiss their petty input, and rationalize it away with, “What do kids know?”

But then the other day I put a few of my complaints down in writing, and as I glanced over the list I thought, “They may be right” – I may be on my way to “grumpy old man.”

This could be avoided if they would just let me pass some news laws and/or rules.

1. If the person in the drive-through line in front of me actually reads the menu or asks a question about a menu item that has been on the menu for 10 or 20 years, they will simply be sentenced to 10 years’ hard labor. It has been the same burgers and chicken since Skippy was a pup, people! Order and MOVE UP! People behind you only have a half-hour for lunch. If this challenge is too big, get out of the car, go inside where it’s warm, and read the menu — which is in illegible, tiny type above the happy workers’ heads.

2. There will be no more advertising for any product people may need for anything happening below the waist, OK? The only “E D” I want to hear about is the guy named “Ed” who comes over to fix my furnace. And get those two people in the commercial with the side-by-side bathtubs out of here, as well. Who the heck would find two of those tubs — which cost a fortune — and drag them out in a field somewhere? And how would you fill those things anyway? If you are having enough trouble that you need that medicine, how tired out would you be after hauling enough water into the field to fill those two tubs just to watch a sunset? And then to reach out of the tub and hold hands? After all that work, there better be more than that! Let the people who need these products seek the makers out. No ads, thank you. And for crying out loud, get that baby bear and his mama out of the woods discussing the liberating qualities of non-stick toilet paper! What nearly insane ad exec thought this one up? The bear moons the audience and shows pieces of paper clinging to his cartoon fur, for Pete’s sake! “We all go,” he says. I say, “Yeah, please do. And stay gone.” That’s right: I am talking to the TV now, all right? You got a problem with that?

3. The guy who decides where the handicapped spaces go in front of every store will get numeric counseling. In a 20-space parking lot, it is not necessary to have 15 handicapped spaces and, while I’m at it, can we get the indicator lines painted on the ground to be a little more universal? I thought the striped boxes were there to accommodate a door that had to be opened wide, but sometimes there’s only one side that has the stripes? What’s the guy supposed to do? Back in? C’mon, let’s have a plan here, people.

4. It is no longer legal to say, “Have a Nice Day.” Nobody means it, and often they say it with all the expression of a nursing home worker saying, “Mr. Johnson, it is time for your 10 a.m. pill.” Just stop it.

5. Movie theater volume has to be tested by placing my father-in-law (who claims he doesn’t need a hearing aid but answers everything with, “Huh?”) into the center of the theater and having the manager yell through the speakers, “Free coffee and doughnuts in the lobby.” If he goes to the lobby, it’s too loud.

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