Education: When I went to school, you were actually expected to learn something and before you could move on to a higher grade, you were required to demonstrate that you had actually learned something by passing a series of rather difficult tests. If you scored less than 70% on these tests that were graded on actual correct answers, not on a curve, you got to repeat the particular grade again. Our teachers were not particularly concerned about the effect to your self esteem produced by being held back. They were particularly concerned that you actually learned enough to take your place in society and perform productively once you had completed your mandatory educational requirements. That all changed somewhere along the line. Now if you cannot pass the test, you must be told the answers, or the test must be restructured in such a way that you’re passing it is assured. God forbid that you should suffer damage to your self esteem by failing a test. We no longer establish a standard and then try to raise everyone up to that standard. It is much easier to lower the bar! Children are passed along from grade to grade whether or not they are competent in the skills necessary for them to advance. As a result, we have high school graduates who are functionally illiterate. Once they are out of the system, no one seems to care about the damage to their self esteem caused by being relegated to a lifetime of low paying jobs where a major portion of your professional vocabulary will be “do you want fries with that.” This is not the fault of the teachers, they are for the most part dedicated individuals who want to do a good job. They are hampered by the endless barrage of government interference and regulations. They would still turn out well educated students if they were allowed to simply do their job. If the minority leaders were worth their salt, they would be demanding that the quality of education be improved. Instead of demanding that the bar be lowered so that more people could pass, they would be kicking butts to get more people over the higher bar. There are only a few ways out of the ghetto, barrio or what ever you want to call it, crime, become a sports super star, or get a good education. With our present education system, the option that would have the greatest effect, a good education, is denied to a majority of those that need it most. That only leaves two other options and since most people have about as much chance of becoming the next Tiger Wood or Michael Jackson as I do of being elected President, the only remaining and most enticing option is crime. Even a life of crime has drawbacks if you are lacking in education. How is Buzzsaw going to know Rabbit is stepping on his coke 4 times before he sells it if he can’t do simple math. Or how is Buzzsaw going to know that Sidney, his accountant, is ripping him off. Further, how will Buzzsaw know how many caps he has to bust on
Indecisive Slobs: These are the people who cannot make up their minds. They operate in a world of complete indecision. If you took all of them in the world and laid them end to end, they would not reach a decision. They are impulsive, but not impulse buyers. Buying requires that a decision be made, and these people don’t have a decisive gene in their whole body. They pick up something that they seem to want, carry it around for half an hour and then drop it in another section of the store. It makes no difference to them that they put some ice cream back on the shelf in the canned goods section or that they left a pound of hamburger behind the soda pop. They could not make the decision to buy the merchandise so they just dropped it wherever they were when they lost interest in it. You wonder how they got to the store in the first place, because that required a decision. Maybe they just drove around aimlessly and ended up in the parking lot. The scary part is they did drive to get there.
Telemarketers: Before the National No Call List went into effect, all of us have been plagued at one time or another by one of the lowest forms of human life, the Telemarketer. I know that these people are only trying to make a living, but they need to get off their butts and find a real job where they actually do something besides annoy the rest of the world. I don’t fault the people who make the calls as much as the swine that employ them. I have a telephone in my home for MY convenience. I pay the phone bill. I do not have a phone so that some annoying ass can call me up and interrupt whatever I am doing to try to sell me something. I have never bought anything over the phone nor will I ever buy anything over the phone yet I have been besieged by telemarketers hawking everything from new credit cards to burial plots. For quite some time, I made a game out of messing with their minds. My favorite was when they started their spiel, politely interrupt them and ask them to state their name again. Then ask them to spell their name. When the start again, politely interrupt them again and ask them the name of the company they represent, then ask them to spell the name of the company. Keep doing this. I actually had one moron spell his name and the name of his company nine times before he realized I was yanking his chain. This boy needs to find another job, preferably where a major portion of his professional vocabulary is “do you want super-sized.” Another one of my favorites is to not so politely interrupt them and say, this is my phone, I pay the bill, what right do you have to call me. This always causes them to sputter and stammer, and before they can think of an answer, I tell them “take me off your list and don’t call again” then hang up. I have always wanted to just yell “Oh my God, he has a Gun” and then hang up, but I am afraid that 20 minutes later, the SWAT Team will be knocking on my door. I have seen several lists of ways people messed with telemarketers heads, but I will not list them all here since these ramblings are supposed to be mostly my original thoughts. Since the advent of the No Call List, I can honestly say that I have not been bothered by one telemarketer but then, I have not had the pleasure of messing with them either. It kind of makes me want to have my name taken off the no call list.
Pre-payment for Gasoline Purchases: The sign says “Please Pre-pay for Gasoline Purchases.” The gas gauge is bumping on “E” and the mileage computer says I can travel another 27 feet on this tank of gas. Since it is 50 feet to the street, driving to another station is not an option. When you go inside the station you are greeted by an individual with an IQ 6 points lower than a can of Spam. While Bubba may not be in charge of heavy thinking, he is quite obviously in charge of heavy lifting so I go into my polite mode. “How do I prepay for a fill-up, when I don’t know how much gas I am going to need?” Bubba picks his tooth, he only has one, and says “well you could just leave your credit card here while you pump.” This guy looks like he just stepped out of the movie “Deliverance” and appears to be about as honest as Al Capone and he wants me to leave him alone with my credit card for 10 minutes while I am 100 feet away and out of sight pumping gas. I might be certifiably crazy, but I am not incredibly stupid. I opt for “here is Twenty Dollars, that’s all the gas I want, oh by the way could I get a receipt for the Twenty.” Asking for a receipt usually causes a complete mental bankruptcy in the individual. I know this because he shifts the tooth pick from one side of his mouth to the other, scratches his head, then scratches his belly and if he is really perplexed, he also scratches his oh well never mind. Bubba has no problem with giving a receipt, it’s just that the cash register prints the receipt after the transaction is rung up, and he can’t ring it up till the gas is pumped. Bubba explains that the cash register makes the receipt and I have to wait till the gas is pumped. I say “I am tired, I have already walked in here once and I don’t want to walk in again, can you hand write one for me.” Now Bubba has used is hands for a lot of things but the written word was not one of them so he mumbles something about not having a receipt book. I say “ok, then when I am done, could you bring it out to me?” By now Bubba has a severe headache and about one more serious thought will split his head wide open but he manages a “the boss don’t allow me to leave the station while I am on duty.” I say “ok, I’ll come back in for it, but how about a free cup of coffee for all my trouble?” At this point, Bubba is almost willing to give me free coffee and gas if I will just go away before his head explodes he says “I guess that will be ok” but I can tell from the look in his eye that he would rather apply the coffee, pot and all, to my other end rather than give me a cup to drink.
Maintenance Agreements and Extended Warranties: You have just spent a rather large chunk of change to purchase a major appliance or even an automobile and the salesman (note that I did not use the politically correct nondescript term “salesperson”) asks you if you would like to purchase an extended warranty and or maintenance agreement for your purchase. When you inquire about the warranty that comes with the product, they tell you about the fabulous 90 day 50/50 warranty that you get at no extra charge when you purchase the product. That means that if the product fails within the first 90 days, they will repair or replace the merchandise, if it breaks in half on the 91st day, they will come out, pick up both pieces and haul it to the dump for a nominal fee. However, in the unlikely event that a failure should occur after the free warranty period expires, you can purchase an extended warranty and or service agreement that will cover the product for the next 5 years at the paltry fee of only 97% of the actual cost of the product in the first place. My question is, if failure is so dammed unlikely, why do I need a 5 year warranty unless you have programmed the piece of junk to fail in 5 years and one day. It is no wonder in this day and age when most of the thing you buy are if not manufactured, at least assembled in some third world country where the commitment to Quality Control is a stipulation that the product must fit the shipping container. Here is a novel idea for you, I’ll give you 10% now, and if this thing is still running in 5 years, I’ll send you a check for the rest.
Disclaimers: I thought I covered this in “Warning Labels” but I had second thoughts. (That’s two thoughts in one composition, which is one thought over my limit.) I can’t say this often enough, you cannot make it idiot proof. People have to take responsibility for their own actions.
“Caution contents of the cup may be hot.” Of course it’s hot, who on God’s Green Earth would buy a cup of cold coffee. If you purchase a cup of coffee and place said cup, san lid, between your legs and drive away from the restaurant, you should know that you are about to write a whole new verse to the Jerry Lee Lewis song “Great Balls of Fire.” It should come as no great surprise to you that you are going to scald the bark off your family tree the first time you hit a bump or step on the brakes. Either put a lid on the coffee and put it in the cup holder, or take your lumps. It isn’t McDonald’s fault you were born stupid.
“Caution, knives may be sharp.” What moron would buy a dull knife? Excuse me Mr. Salesman, do you have any dull knives, I don’t want to cut them taters, I kind of want to mash them up a bit. At a demo someone inevitably picks up one of my knives and says “boy they sure are sharp.” To which I reply, “if you want a dull one, I will drag the edge across a file a few times if you promise to buy the knife.”
“Not intended for human consumption on a bottle of ‘Sunlight’ dish washing detergent.” I know it is yellow, and it smells like lemons, but it is not lemonade concentrate. The clue here, and it’s a big one is BUBBLES! Your lemonade should not have a head on it, if it does, it’s soap water. If you drink a big glass of this, you are going to be clean clear through. You will be unable to pass the marble test. That ‘s where you place a marble on your tongue, swallow it, and then try to turn around before it hits the ground behind you.
In the near future, I fully expect that disposable cigarette lighters will carry a huge caution label that says “Caution, do not use this device to check the fuel level in your tank.” Why do I say this, because I know of 4 documented cases where people have been injured or killed by checking the level of fuel in the tanks of their 18 wheelers using a “flick of the Bic” for a light. Note: Investigators were unable to determine the hair color of these 4 people as they had no hair left we can only surmise but the smart money would be on one of the lighter shades.
Neighbors who Complain: Did you ever notice that the neighbor who complains about you working on a your car in the driveway, or working in the garage in the evening with the overhead door open is the same one that mows his lawn at 5:00 AM on Saturday Morning and has a lawnmower that sounds like a F-16 in full afterburner. He always seems to mow the side of the yard next to your bedroom window first. This is also the guy who is first in line for you to fix his broken items for free.
Monopolies: Public Utilities say they are not a monopoly yet how many choices do you have for your electrical service. I actually lived in one place that had two power companies,
Attendants at Drive-up Windows: The electronic communication system at most fast food drive up windows is slightly more primitive than two tin cans and a string. On top of this, the transmitter/receiver for the customer is located at least 6 feet from the customer, the transmitter/receiver picks up not only your voice, it also picks up the noise from the street that is located 30 feet away and to top this off, the person on the other end of the line is usually someone who is either trying to correct a speech impediment by talking with a mouth full of marbles, or is someone who has been in this country, usually illegally, for a grand total of 16 hours and has a total command of 6 words in English, none of them being larger than one syllable. If my some miracle, you actually can speak and enunciate the English Language this person is so schooled in the company sales pitch that they cannot wait till you complete your order before asking you if you would like to purchase 37 different condiments and accessories to go along with your cheeseburger. If you would shut up for 30 seconds, I would tell you exactly what I want then you could fill my order and I would be on my way. Don’t try to sell me what you have, sell me what I want. I am partly to blame for this, remember back a couple pages where I recommended a Telemarketer get a job in a fast food place. What the hell was I thinking anyway?
Computers: First of all, computers can do only two things. They can do math, that is add subtract, divide and multiply; and they can do logic, that is compare one thing to another and tell if that thing is less than, greater than or equal to the other. Don’t matter if the computer is a prehistoric Commodore 64 or the biggest fastest mega computer that is made, that’s all they can do. The advantage to a computer is that it does the two things it is capable of at an incredible speed. The problem with the blamed things is they can’t think and they aren’t any better at reading the user’s mind than men are at reading the female mind. They are simply a machine and they were created by the Devil in the deepest bowels of Hell. He has created these demons to torture us for eternity and he is testing them on Earth to make sure he has the perfect model to stock Hell with. Computers themselves are “hardware” anything you can see, feel and touch is “hardware”. To make a computer work you need programs “software”. Now this would be simple if you had one person making both hardware and software, but here is the rub. You have many groups of demons making the hardware and separate groups making the software. None of these groups speak the same language in fact most of the people in any group speak different languages which makes communication within the group or from group to group impossible. To further complicate the process, most of the Demons have advanced Engineering degrees. If you remember that the Camel is a horse that was designed by a committee who could talk to one another you are beginning to see the depths of the problem with computers. To work perfectly, a computer’s software has to interface completely with its software. With several groups of Demons with an inability to communicate working on each phase of the project, this is impossible which gives rise to a third group of Demons who come directly from the 9th ring of Hell. These are the ghouls who write patches and fixes to make balky programs actually function half the time or less. Think of this, if you bought a new boat with a faulty motor that only ran part of the time, and quit without warning frequently and leaked like a sieve, would you hire a group of morons to patch it and hotwire the motor. Not likely, but you accept this at the ordinary with a computer and pay through the nose to get it done. Remember that computers are only part of the Devil’s grand plan. Once he gets us totally dependant of the damn machines, and that time is fast approaching, he is then going to cut the power off for long periods of time and then we will truly know what Hell is.
After Word and Disclaimer: I was going to put a disclaimer here that stated “This piece is completely fictional and any resemblance between persons living or dead is completely coincidental.” But then I figured the people I am writing about are too dumb to realize it. So if you think this is about you, it is probably not. Or, then again, maybe it is.