May 19, 2010

Things That Bug Me

2010 1514 page6 capF YOU’RE ALIVE AND KICKING, SOME THINGS BUG YOU. AND OF THE dozens that sometimes annoy me, here are nine:
1. Young people and older folk who by their indulgence line the pockets of drug kingpins responsible every year for the murder of tens of thousands. I’m thinking of a city close to the U.S. border, where scores—even hundreds—of people are slaughtered every month. I’m angry that “consumers” in the U.S. have the power to dry up the deadly trade overnight and end the carnage, but in an astonishing display of selfishness, they keep the lethal traffic going. What a waste of human life!
2. The (U.S.) Internal Revenue Service—going after the little guy while huge, multibillion-dollar corporations get away with “murder.”
3. The exorbitant compensation packages awarded to CEOs, especially of companies that are laying off workers—workers with families to feed and mortgages or rents to pay.
2010 1514 page64. People texting while driving. Why do we hesitate to outlaw the irresponsible practice everywhere? It’s a no-brainer! Dialing while driving is dangerous enough! But texting? What madness!
5. Answering machines that take me through layer upon layer of prompts and options completely unrelated to the simple question I want to ask, and which a human being could have dispensed with in 15 seconds. Some even want me to “listen to the entire message because our options have recently changed.” (Have you noticed how many companies have changed their options recently?) Finally, I select what appears to be the correct option, then I’m asked to “please hold while we connect you to an attendant.” And there I sit for another seven to 10 minutes, listening to canned music or, worse, to corny company ads, interrupted by reminders that “your call is very important to us.” Never fails to make my day!
6. Hearing the pervasive message: “All our representatives are busy helping other people”—those lucky “other people”! Or, “Many of our customers are experiencing long delays because ?. . .” Of course, they’d experience long delays if you greedily solicit business from an entire ?country of 230 million people and hire just two attendants to handle incoming calls!
7. Investment frauds that swindle people, including elderly people, of their money—in some cases their entire life savings. And the apparent impotence of courts and governments to help folk get their money back, even when the swindler has millions stashed away in bank accounts and other securities. That eats me up!
8. Airlines charging exorbitant penalties to make the slightest itinerary change when, unlike the old labor-intensive days, they now can do it with the touch of a few keys on a computer.
9. When I have to dump my water at airport security. I’ve been saving the little bottle in my laptop bag, knowing how dry I’ll be by the time I reach the check-in counter. But in the hustle and bustle I remember it only when I hear the friendly security agent’s voice: “Sir, is this your bag?” And something inside me goes: Shucks, how could I have forgotten! And I’m dying of thirst this minute! Then I say what seems so natural and sensible: “Sir, I forgot I had it. Can I just gulp it down right here?” (Because I’m thinking: Water inside the airport will be $2.60 per tiny bottle.)
“No, sir. But you’re welcome to step outside the security area and drink it; then come back through.” And I’m thinking: Yeah, right! With half a mile of people behind me and a flight to catch! So with 5,000 other forgetful souls a day across the country, I pitch the water. What a waste! And how silly!
I have a million reasons to look forward to heaven; but one of them is that in that celestial place there won’t be a single thing to bug me. 
Roy Adams is an associate editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published May 20, 2010.