I was talking to my brother yesterday about a mutual acquaintance. OK, I was enumerating to my brother some of the personality flaws of this mutual acquaintance.
My brother interrupted me and asked, “Is he really that bad? Because, you know, you can be very critical.”
(Critical? Moi?) I said, “I’m not critical! I just happen to be very observant!”
And, I should add, I’m just trying to be helpful. In that same spirit of assistance, I have a few recommendations for the betterment of the human race. Becausepeople, you have to stop annoying me, all of you, but youse in specific:
Readers. Stop being voracious. Because that’s what they all say and I’m dead tired of it. Be insatiable, be gluttonous, be the kind of reader who hates literary fiction as much as I do — and then go on book blogs and tell everyone how much you hated Atonement. Then you’ll be my friend forever.
Moody people. Stop being on an emotional roller coaster. When I first heard that term in 1980I thought, gee, that’s kind of clever: emotional roller coaster. Hits the metaphoric (or is it a simile?) nail on the head. But it’s been 20 years and every damn drama queen and her low of self esteem has been on the old loop-de-loop. Enough already.
Therapists who counsel hoarders. Stop asking if those pack rats are comfortable with the process at each step of the way. Just tell them that they are pigs and they have to clear that crap out whether they like it or not. We don’t wait until racists, kleptomaniacs, dipsomaniacs, or train spotters are comfortable with the demands that living as a productive member of harmonious society are put upon them before we tell them to just cut it the hell out. Why should we molly coddle hoarders?
Asshole next door. Stop complaining that my cats make your dog bark. First of all, they aren’t my cats. They’re God’s. And second of all, your dog is a Dalmatian. What did you expect?
Tightwads. Stop saying that your kids spend money like water. It only confuses me, as I have never seen anyone spend water — I have no idea what that looks like: is it messy? Does it ruin cashmere? Or is it just wet? What is it? What is it?
(P.S. Please, somebody, but mostly the nit wits who say “spend money like water”, please tell me: what country in the world makes the H2O its legal tender?)
Ladies. Stop having sex with guys who wear a soul patch. If nobody would have sex with guys sporting that ridiculous little hairy patch under their bottom lip, those icky crumb-catchers would disappear overnight. I’m serious. I hate those things.
Actors. Stop turning to face the camera while supposedly sitting in the driver’s seat of your car going 60 mph all the while never taking your eyes off your co-star riding shotgun over whose shoulder the scene is being shot. It’s unbelievable. It’s so fake it’s almost kabuki.
And while you’re at it, actors, especially TV actors, stop pretending to eat food in dinner scenes. I see you, fake chewing the forkfuls of food that the camera never catches you actually putting in your mouth. For god’s sake, risk a few calories for your audience’s sake; you can always puke it up later during your afternoon bulimia session.
Radio show hosts on NPR. Stop slurping your food or drink when you have a chef on, stop talking with your mouth full to show listeners that you are actually eating or drinking. Even if you were on TV, that would be disgusting. (and Scott Simon: Stop trying to speak French. Same reason.)
Melodramatic co-workers. Stop telling people that your arch enemy is tying to throw you under the bus. Because I am your arch enemy and I’d just as soon sprinkle some rat poison into the egg salad that I left in the staff refrigerator that I know you helped yourself to.
Graduates of self help programs. Stop telling people that you now feel good in your own skin. Because, unless you are that psychopath in Silence of the Lambs, no one feels good in anybody else’s skin except their own. For christ’s sake: do you even think before you speak??
People who laugh at their own jokes. Stop it. And stop saying that certain actions are so pointless it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. You are so damn boring it’s not even funny.
Feel free to add your own amendments to this Memo to the World.