Episode 20: Annoying People
“There are annoying people, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to point that out.“
Tell me the truth. Don’t you just hate annoying people? I mean, you might think I’m whining right now. But face it. You’re like me. You hate annoying people and that’s the uncomfortable truth.
A guy writes to me yesterday and he says to me, “I’m reading your newsletter and I mostly like it. But, the cartoon comes across all squished up, and it removes from your credibility.” “In fact,” he says, “It takes away all the value. I hate to think of you working so hard with no value.”
This is a classic passive-aggressive, and I got news for you, there are no cartoons in any of my newsletters. Nor, did he stipulate which newsletter. I finally found out, he was getting some kind of feed from my blog. I don’t send out my blog. He was obtaining it and the cartoon didn’t look right. This idiot, therefore doesn’t like any of the text that I write, even though it came across fine. What an ass. I mean, really.
You know who’s annoying? The people that resort to go out at six in the morning and save chairs, you know. Six or seven beach-front chairs, or the poolside chairs, they’re saved by these nuts who then go back to sleep or have breakfast and show up right at 11:30AM in time for lunch. What is it with them? Do they hide chocolate from their kids so they can eat it?
Annoying people include any first class upgrade on any flight. You know how you can tell the upgrades? They’re drinking all the liquor. Seven in the morning, they’re drinking liquor. They’re drinking through the whole flight. They’re trying to get everything they can out of it because they can’t otherwise afford to be there.
Annoying people are those who divide lunch by what was eaten and by whom. You know, you got six people, you got a $66 bill. Let’s see, that comes to $11 each before gratuity. But no, no, “Did you have the feta cheese on your salad? Because I did not have feta cheese.” Take a walk.
I hate people, they’re annoying, who stop and chat in doorways. The theater is getting out and the four of them stand there like statues talking about a play they didn’t understand anyway.
Annoying people pull up to your tail when you’re trying to park your car. You signal. You pull up against the car in front, to parallel park, and they pull right up on your tail. You know why? Because they’re annoying.
In Rhode Island, there’s another annoying type. When you stop to parallel park, they pass you in the opposite lane of traffic because they can’t wait five seconds to get to some useless activity they’re doing anyway. This is Rhode Island.
The conspiracy nuts are annoying. “Big pharma is out to kill us. Big pharma just wants profits. The government is keeping secrets.” The government can’t keep a secret. Have you looked recently? The government hasn’t been able to successfully keep any secrets.
Now there are real conspiracy nuts like, “We never landed on the moon.” Because they don’t see the flag blowing. Even though they don’t realize, there’s no atmosphere on the moon. But there are people who feel the elections are rigged and companies are out to cheat us, and there’s some secret cabal of rich people. My god, that’s as paranoid as you can get.
Diet gods are annoying. Diet gods are people who insist on telling you that their particular diet is the perfect diet and you can’t rest until you’re on it. Now the diet might be low-carb or high-carb. It might be a water diet or a cheese diet. It might be no wheat or all fat. I don’t care. Keep it to yourself. I routinely sit down with people like that when I find them, and ask for a bowl of gluten. It’s not unusual for me to ask, which kind of milk is worst for me.
Late theater arrivals are annoying. These are the people who come in perhaps when the overture is still playing and they’ll still allow you to sit. Or in a drama they’ll come in at the last minute, I’m confident and absolutely assured that these people just want to be seen. Nobody is that stupid to arrive that late. And they make a big fuss about sitting down. And they’re usually the people who talk during the play.
In one play, a woman walked in late in the middle of the row, inconvenienced all kinds of people and then took a call on her phone. I leaned over and said, “If you don’t put that phone away, you will swallow it.” I got some applause.
Coffee snobs are annoying people. All you have to do is to walk into Starbucks. This is a tribe of people who believe an affectation for soy is something to write home about. Dazzle some cinnamon. Sprinkle some sugar. Do this and do that. My goodness, a blind taste test would just show that they don’t know the difference anyway.
Starbucks is smart. Their marketing is smart because they cater to this elite kind of annoying snobism. But Starbucks is not very good coffee. It’s too bitter and it’s too strong. I’ll be damned if I ever call anyone in the United States a barista.
Facebook proclaimers are annoying. You know what a Facebook proclaimer is? It’s somebody that starts a paragraph with, “Here’s how we should solve… Here’s how we should vote… I am ashamed of my country… I might have to move…” God, if everybody who moved did, we’d have complete and happy congeniality in this country. Just follow Alec Baldwin out. But no, no. People on Facebook have to proclaim this and that since Facebook is vanity publishing, Facebook is a great source for people whose vanity needs constantly to be supported.
Idiot bragging is annoying. “People liked my speech. People told me I was the best they ever heard.” It’s especially annoying to see a professional speaker post something about his room was sold out or he got high ratings or people loved her. That’s your job if you’re a professional. I’ve got news for you, it’s like the bus driver getting back at the end of the route and bragging to people he drove the bus along the route. That’s why they pay you.
I hate left lane crawlers. They’re annoying. They’re passing a law in Rhode Island to try to ticket people who go too slowly in the high speed lanes. Now there’s a combination of annoyance here. There are the people who are oblivious and just too stupid and they don’t know someone is behind them and they don’t know they’re doing 50 miles an hour. Then there are the people who are on their phones and texting and they’re in another world. Talk about multi-tasking. They can’t do one thing at once.
Then there are the macho people. The macho people feel, “I’m not getting out of the left lane for anyone because I’m so insecure and pathetic that would just reveal how inferior I am.” And those people are especially annoying. I doubt the law in Rhode Island will make any difference. I doubt the police can go slow enough to catch them.
Anyone writing me from India about SEO is annoying. I mean, does anyone ever buy these services? Do these people have anything else to do? Is the unemployment rate in India that high? And then the Nigerians who always have some kind of fortune for you that was left to you by some strange person. And they have found out about it and have it if you would just send them a deposit to get it. You know, my fantasy is having annoying Indian spammers and the annoying Nigerian spammers get together on a field and play a game of soccer where they can both cheat.
The pseudo-intellectuals on TED are annoying. Do you know that trees talk to us? Can you imagine what was here before lint? Do you know how to correctly fold a paper towel and just use one sheet to dry your hands? By the way, that last example was a real TED talk. TED started out as something special. And then it gave a lesson to all of us in how to dilute a brand. And then TEDx, where anybody can walk in and talk about anything, that’s really bizarre.
Motivational speakers are annoying when they cry on cue. When they laugh at a story they’ve told, as if they’ve just heard it. And they had just heard it that second. But they’ve also heard it another 47,000 times over the past 15 years. Motivational speakers are especially annoying because you can’t motivate other people. Motivation is intrinsic. Closely allied to them in annoyance are the affirmation people. These are the people who tell you, “Just keep saying affirmations and you’ll be fine.” I don’t think so.
People who threaten to unsubscribe from a free newsletter are annoying because they’re so damn stupid. It’s a free newsletter. I’m not writing it for you. I’m writing it for me. You want to hang around and read it? Fine. If you don’t, it’s a free country. It’s a free country to be annoying too, and you are.
Servers in restaurants who ask if I’m still enjoying something, cause me unenjoyment. It’s annoying. Just like when you say, “The chef will be preparing tonight…” I don’t need the future pluperfect. What’s on the damn menu? “The chef will be preparing the ficasse au poivre nutria evoc.” What does that mean? “It’s roasted chicken.”
Kanye West is annoying. I don’t think I have to explain that any further.
News anchors dripping with bathos are annoying. Pathos is a fine empathetic trait. Bathos is dripping pathos. Diane Raddatz on ABC is famous for this or infamous for this and notorious for this. Every news story is such an affected and emotional event and do you know. Oh please, just read the teleprompter.
The single agenda zealots are among the most annoying people ever. If there were an annoying hall of fame, they would be charter characters in there. Single agenda people. It doesn’t matter anything except what you believe about climate change. That’s the litmus test. You believe in climate change? Okay. If not, I don’t care if you solve cancer. You’re no good. The surface is through no matter what. How’d you like the ballgame? “Well it was pretty hot in the court in the third quarter and I think we’re going through climate change and I’m not sure these players understand that.” Give me a gun.
People who don’t vote and then complain about the results. How annoying are they? My goodness, if you don’t vote, you don’t deserve to talk. You say it’s a free country? Not if you don’t vote. Sorry.
The doctors who keep you waiting are annoying. Emergencies, my ass. Doctors keep you waiting because they don’t give a damn. Doctors keep you waiting because they can overbook and they know you’re not going any place. Except, I do. And I write letters and I complain and I post negative reviews on the internet and I change doctors. Doctors who keep people waiting are annoying and they’re unprofessional and they think they’re better than everyone else. And there’s no excuse for it. I got news for you, your dermatologist did not have a dermatological emergency during the course of the morning.
The incessant standing ovationists are annoying. Anything they say or hear, they stand up, give an ovation. Any opening. Open an envelope? Standing ovation. Doesn’t matter. Turn on the radio? Standing ovation. Use some judgment. Have some discretion, for goodness sakes. Some things are just mediocre. Some things are just good. They don’t deserve for you to jump to your feet. Unless you’re trying to justify your stupidity for spending that kind of money and time at a bad performance. But just learn from it and stop being a jumping jack.
An annoying person is the person who portrays herself or himself as the second smartest person in the room. This is the person who always has to add something to what you say. This is the person who takes out their glasses and chews on the end of one, on the ear piece or looks at the ceiling and says, “Hmm”, and adds something from an ancient Greek philosopher, or from a World War One war correspondent. Or from some obscure dictionary phrase. But they’re constantly trying to show, while you might have had an idea or a comment or an insight, they’re certainly the second smartest person in the room. If they were really the second smartest person in the room, they would know to keep their mouth shut.
Finally, one of the most annoying of all people is the person who wants something for free. Put me in your workshop. I deserve it. Let me have this opportunity. I’ll pay you back. You know something, I never run a workshop without a scholarship in there. And the scholarship means someone is in there for free. I offer it to people who I think need it or could use it. It’s not only a financial need. Sometimes it’s just their lack of inclination to go and I think they should be there. And I do that frequently. But I don’t respond well to people who are always asking me for something for free.
When I was doing a lot of pro bono speaking across the United States, and chapters of the speakers and consultants, once every two or three times, somebody would come to me in the back of the room after I spoke or before I spoke and say, “You know. I have no money. I’m poor. Can I have your book for free?” And I did that about six or seven times. And not one person ever wrote me a thank you note. If you want something, earn the money and pay for it. Don’t annoy me by trying to be a charity case.
I’m sorry, but that’s the uncomfortable truth.