Old Man Rant: Episode #1 of Many

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! 

4. Redundification

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.

For more rants, and other more useful stories, visit and subscribe to my personal blog at www.fiveoclockshadow.life

36 thoughts on “Old Man Rant: Episode #1 of Many

  1. Hey, wanna buy a hot water heater? As a 73-year-old adolescent who lived through MUCH better times, I also love this. I’ve engaged in a few rants myself, some on these subjects and some on others, but they all come down to one thing in the end: Stop acting stupid! These people obviously aren’t. They were smart enough to get a driver’s license, so why do they drive like it’s the first time they’ve ever been behind the wheel? They were smart enough to get a job in customer relations, so why do they act like you’re speaking a foreign language when you want to do something as simple as buy a new phone cord or change the beneficiary on your insurance? It’s like there’s a contest going on, and the stupidest person wins the biggest prize.

    Sorry about the rant, what was I saying? Oh yeah, yeah, no, I love this, and plan to feature it on my own blog just shortly. Fun and informative piece of work that deserves to be shared!

  2. Oh, Todd! I loved this post. You had me laughing from title to end. Happy birthday and welcome to the 50’s. They’re great – if for no other reason than most of us have figured out it’s okay to speak our minds. So you are in the right spot!

  3. My wife thinks I am crazy when I yell at the traffic circle stoppers. And the timid left turners who stay completely out of the intersection until the light changes to RED – and then come zooming out to turn. 🙂

  4. Welcome to the “50” club, sir! I’m right there with you, between middle age and old age. I totally get how you feel and a little ranting now and then is completely appropriate.

  5. For sure the traffic circle idiots. Some stop and won’t enter the circle.
    Sorry, was I yelling. Must be the crotchety 50 year old man in me. 😄

      1. Oh my- I didn’t even notice I did that- that is interesting 😳 Sorry about that! I have only daughters so maybe that’s my brain’s default mode? 🤦🏼‍♂️ This could be an interesting future blog topic if I can figure it out haha

  6. Love your rantifications Todd. I wonder though—how many traffic circles might there be up there in horse and buggy country? BTW, we’re almost neighbors—I live in Annapolis. (I read Wynne’s blog too). 🙂

    1. Thanks Julia! There aren’t many traffic circles here- I think that’s why they cause such problems for some people! We really are almost neighbors – my daughter lives in Towson so we’re in MD often 😎

  7. I believe the Yeah, yeah, no comment is after a character of Dawn French as The Vicar of Dibley – Jim has this annoying habit he uses any time someone asks him a question in the village meetings. I recommend the show – gentle, idiotic, and funny. Dawn French alone is worth it.

  8. These are all great points, Todd. I love the “is everything a question” and “redundification.” I read William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” several years ago. He used the illustration of adjectives often being unnecessary if you have a strong enough verb. One of his examples was “the radio played loudly” versus “the radio blared.” Fewer words and clearer meaning. Great post.

    1. Thanks! Great point about good writing eliminating adjectives- I hadn’t thought about that but it’s sure true.

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