Last month I turned 50 and for the most part, I feel pretty good! But I’m also a little irritated and confused. My younger friends are non-stop with the “old man” jokes. My older friends are just the opposite, saying how I’m “still so young and innocent”. It reminds me of turning 18. At that age, you’re technically an adult, but you can’t drink or even rent a nice hotel room until a few years later. At 50, I’ve achieved a milestone age. But I have no grandkids to brag about and can’t draw my retirement without penalty. I’m in a no-man’s land between middle age and old age.
Generally speaking, I don’t really care whether I’m old enough for the senior club or hip enough to hang with the millennials. But as I age, I feel an increasing internal pressure to go on “Old Man Rants”. You know, the stereotypical ramblings of crochety characters that say how much better life was in the old days, what a mess the world is right now, and that new ideas are just more confusing, worse ways of doing the same old thing.
I’m not that guy yet and I hope to never be, but I admit, I can relate to him a little bit. So here goes my first official “Old Man Rant”, in which I complain about mostly unimportant things that get on my nerves in hopes of blowing off steam and remaining the generally pleasant person I think I am.
1. Do Not Stop In Traffic Circles!
Please people-let’s get this right! Yield as needed when entering the circle, but once in there, for God’s sake keep driving! Do not stop and let other people in. Stopping may seem like a courteous thing to do, but it’s really just a great way to get rear ended by the confused driver behind you, who was probably texting anyway.
2. Watch Your Tone. Is Everything A Question?
Remember the good old days of vocal inflection when voices would pitch up a bit at the end of a question and come down with confidence when delivering statements? What ever happened to that? TV, radio, conference presenters, coworkers…. so many of us sound weak and under confident now because everything we say sounds like a question. Imagine going in for surgery and the doctor says, “Don’t worry, you’re in good hands?” Yikes.
3. Asking Runners For Directions
I’m no Olympic champ or Boston Marathon qualifier, so maybe I shouldn’t be so bold as to speak on behalf of all runners, but I’m going to do it anyway. Running is much more intense than taking a leisurely neighborhood stroll. Therefore, do not pull up alongside of us in your car and ask us for directions. We don’t want to break stride, change our breathing, wreck our vibe or adjust our mental state just because you don’t know how to use your GPS. Most of us are too nice to ignore you, but boy do we want to!
Redundification is a made up word describing things that are redundant, unnecessary, and usually annoying. For example, we don’t talk about “wet water”, because water is, by nature, wet. So why then are we saying things like “Tweet out” and “share out”? Twitter users don’t need to tweet out, because when you tweet something, it goes out automatically to other users. “Sharing out” is just as dumb. You cannot share things with yourself. When you share something, it goes out to others automatically. That’s what sharing is- sending or giving something out. Does this really need explained? Let’s cut the redundification and stop helping words that don’t need it.
5. Yeah, Yeah, No….
Have you ever asked someone a question and they start the answer with “yeah, yeah, no…”? What?! Yeah and no don’t go together. You gotta pick one bro! If I ask, “Do you want to meet at 7pm.”; And you say “ Yeah, yeah, no 7pm is good”; I’m probably debating whether we should even be meeting at all.
6. How Am I Supposed To Open This?
We have busy lives. We shouldn’t need to spend more than a few seconds opening packages. And yet, last week I had to get a knife and surgically extricate some dill pickle spears from the plastic tomb in which they were encased. Is this overkill packaging really necessary? My neighbor once had a similar experience with cheese. He wrote to the company, expressing his love for their cheese and his frustration at not being able to get it open. They sent him an apology and a gift- more of the cheese he couldn’t open.
Ok, I feel better now. Time to go chase some kids off my lawn.