Old Man Rant Episode #12: Public Behavior

If you’re new to the Old Man Rant, here’s how it goes.  Once I turned 50, I started venting my frustration at the irritations of life.  It felt good, so I kept doing it.  I call these periodic and hopefully humorous verbal tantrums Old Man Rants. Admittedly, this rant is less humor and more vent, but here goes…

Today’s Topic: Public Behavior

Well America, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but either our parents did a shitty job of raising us, or we forgot the lessons they taught. 

So please note the following public behavior fouls, and make our parents proud by not committing them ever again.

1. Public Break-Ups

Maybe some people think it’s better to break-up with their partner in a public place (like a restaurant) where the crowd can act to deter either party from causing a scene.  I don’t know if this method is effective, because it would go unnoticed if it worked.  But I can say for sure that it sometimes does not work; then everyone in the room goes into amateur relationship analyst mode. Just save everyone the drama and break-up via email. 

2. Arrive Late But Don’t Wait

Showing up late to a theater is not a problem.  Life gets messy and plans get derailed sometimes.  But when latecomers fumble around in the dark looking for their seats, shine cell phone lights in your face, and climb over others to get to their place?  Not cool. Instead of this nonsense, latecomers should just wait patiently in the back until an usher can help them. I’m not mad that you’re late, I’m mad because you’re making me suffer because it.

3. Cackle-Screaming & Bro-Yells

Cackle Screaming describes the half-laugh/half-scream that erupts out of some women, usually after several glasses of wine with friends.  A startled silence usually follows while stunned bystanders attempt to process the origin of such an ear-splitting sound.  

Don’t laugh too hard men. Bro Yells are basically the male equivalent of the Cackle Scream except that guys usually yell words like “bro”, “dude” or something unintelligible. Often heard at bars, Bro Yells usually come with another irritating characteristic- arm swinging. Whether up, down, backward, forward, in or out, the swinging arms usually end up smacking innocent victims; spilling their overpriced drinks and staining clothes.

4. Your Kid, My Problem

Being in public places with very young children is a risky venture. But when Junior’s behavior gets out of control and the parents do nothing about it, I get pissed off. Junior should not be screaming, climbing over things or running all over the place. If he is, Junior needs to be taken out (not taken out mob style, just removed from the room by a parent). Yep, that stinks for Mom & Dad, but what is parenting if not an inconvenience.

desperate screaming young boy
Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

5. Excessive Commenting

Attending concerts, theater shows and movies is not the same thing as watching YouTube videos at home with friends. At home, it’s totally cool to talk before, during and after each video. But life in the “live” world is different. Way different. The next time you feel the urge to say something during a live event, stop and imagine what would happen if everybody in the audience said something too. If all you want to do is talk, meet at a coffee shop, not a theater.
P.S.- when and why did we forget how to whisper?

6. Fist Fighting

A rare but exceedingly stupid event. I can’t believe this actually happens. But when it does, I hope both fighters lose. So lame.

7. Cell From Hell

When the theater is dark, that little cell phone light is really  irritating, distracting and sometimes blinding! Do not check that text, respond to an email, update Facebook or answer a call.  Just turn the stinking phone off and put it away until intermission.  Remember how we used to live just fine before cell phones?

 Ah! I feel better already!  Time to go run some kids off my front lawn.

For more Old Man Rants and other stories, visit my Five O’Clock Shadow blog, and follow us here at Wise & Shine Magazine. For Todd’s musical adventures, visit www.toddfulginiti.com

30 thoughts on “Old Man Rant Episode #12: Public Behavior

  1. Point 4. Your kids, my problem.
    Like when you’re at a restaurant with your spouse and a random 5 year old bellies up at your table and thinks it’s an all you can buffet. Then the parents of the random 5 year old start snapping IG pics.

    1. There was a show we used to watch years ago, Impractical Jokers, about 4 childhood friends that as adults “dare” each other to do what would horrify most of us. One of those “dares” was to eat something off a stranger’s plate in a restaurant. That’s the level of behavior that is: something at the level of a crazy prank, not what I’d want to experience… ever. So hearing that the parents feel that that’s something that they would want to advertise to the world? Where’s a facepalm emoticon when you need one?

      Todd, I think you’re right: something is rotten here… 🙂

      1. I totally agree- that is “crazy prank” level. I think comedian Jerry Seinfeld dared Elaine to do that in one of his shows episodes. Not cool at all in real life. I would be horrified if my kid did that 😱

  2. I’m laughing about this observation on public break-ups ” I don’t know if this method is effective, because it would go unnoticed if it worked. But I can say for sure that it sometimes does not work.” Excellent point, Todd!! 🙂

    1. Haha Thanks Wynne! Just for the record though I do not actually believe in breaking up via email 🙃

  3. Golly jeepers…you nailed it with this post, Todd. I can’t think of anything I’d add…BUT I can be your special correspondent, reporting in from the field…considering I just survived a couple hours of Black Friday hell…despite intentions to be an avoider. I can confirm that #3 on your list is alive and well and pervasive in my neck o’ the woods. In my case, I experienced a combo of the cackle-scream and bro-yell…as a couple tried to communicate with one another…she, while holding their spot in an endless checkout line while he, still roaming and shopping, lifting up various doodads and household items (at a Crate & Barrel) shouting, “Is this good for Aunt Nancy?” as he hoisted a casserole dish over his head …and then, moments later… barking “Does Uncle John still drink?” while directing her attention to a display of wine glasses. Why? Oh Why? Once or twice, it might’ve been cute/funny but it went on toooo long, this noisy, tag-team speed shopping. Nobody cared or needed to know but those of us in line were unintended, trapped bystanders. Oy. So…was that a cackle-bro-yell combo or something else? 😉

    1. 😂😂 I think behavior like that deserves it’s own category! Sorry you had to endure that but thanks for the great story 😂

  4. I got so tickled by these that I had to explain why I was laughing to my family. So… then I read it out loud and we all got enjoyment out of them. I always love the Old Man Rants, and each time, I think it’s my favorite episode. Until the next one! But as of now, this is my favorite. 😁

  5. Loved the rant – think I’m a fan too. Can I add, as a commuter by public transport, people travelling together (couples, friends, families) that have to spread out across all the seats and won’t share – do they really need 4 seats? Then they start with the cackle-scream, bro-yells around the bus and we all have to suffer in a confined space

  6. I love “Your kid, my problem “ . Last time I was at the restaurant with friends we couldn’t even talk because of the screams and running around of the kids (they were only three, but the way). One friend turned toward their parents who were quietly talking and asked them to do something. They looked badly at us but sent them out. It was a beautiful day in a completely safe place. Why didn’t they do it before? Did they really need someone to tell them? I enjoyed your post Todd!

    1. Thanks Cristiana. Two thumbs down for those parents 👎 I wondered if this type of behavior was just an American thing, but it sounds like lazy, clueless parents live all over the world. If my kids were acting so badly that a stranger asked me to do something about- I would be so embarrassed, but the people in your story were offended ?! Wow 🤦🏼‍♂️

      1. I think that they expected us to have a chaotic lunch without complaining, something like, they are children. Of course they are children but not ours. I heard that in NYC (those friends of mine lived there for a while) you could ask the “I don’t care about my kids’ noise “ parents to pay your bill! It’s interesting and maybe they will pay more attention another time (or they will pay a babysitter…).

  7. Breaking with a partner in a restaurant makes the meal very very awkward. Like why stay there eating your food in a bad mood? I don’t get it either. It should be as quick as ripping off a band-aid.

  8. I love the list, Todd. The last line about remembering what it was like to live without a phone is glorious. The “good old days” of not being constantly connected, plugged in, tethered to the facade of reality provided by our technological inventions. Good rant and I agree.

    1. Thanks very much! There is something awesome about ditching your phone for a few hours- or longer.

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