Aging Bull

We recently received a submission for our letters to the editor page that had been composed on an old typewriter, using old typing paper. I believe it was delivered by a carrier pigeon driving a Model T on the Pony Express.

Clearly, one of our senior citizens had written this letter, judging by its unusual presentation and subject matter, which was honking. (I don’t mean the subject matter was “honking,” as in, “Man, that letter sure had some honking subject matter!” I mean honking WAS the subject matter.)

Specifically, the writer felt that drivers honk too much. He proposed that car manufacturers make horns so that once they toot briefly, they cannot toot again for another five minutes. (I have proposed the same regulations against my brother Jeff. Thank you!)

The problem with the complaint of too much honking is that it’s not true. I hear a little honking here and there, especially when I have fallen asleep at the wheel, but not enough to drag out the Smith-Corona, head down to the Typing Museum to buy some typing paper, and write a letter.

A day or two after reading about the horn-honking crisis, I saw a letter in The Salt Lake Tribune from another elderly person. This person felt that mail carriers dress too slovenly, with unkempt beards and untucked shirts. “These people are supposed to be representing the U.S. Postal Service,” he wrote, the implication being that this is something the mail carriers ought to be proud of.

Now, I often notice trivial things and get amused by them. Sometimes I make cracks about them in this column. These letters were different, though. These people were ANGRY.

It occurs to me that if I’m going to do nothing but complain about stupid things when I’m old, I’d better start stockpiling them now. As it is, I shrug too many things off as being inconsequential. I can’t do that when I’m old, as I’ll need something to help wile away the hours until my death and/or the end of the world.

So here is my list of dumb stuff that’s hardly even worth complaining about that I’m going to complain about when I’m old.

• Grown men who wear ties featuring cartoon characters. Is that any way to represent your neck?!

• Couples who hold hands in church. Such an inappropriate display.

• Clothing manufacturers who don’t make clothes that fit me exactly. Everything is always either too loose or too tight. I’m going to start wearing togas. See how you like THAT, General Public! (Note: I mean the public in general, not the ’80s new wave band General Public.)

• Why can’t they make a denture adhesive that is delicious AND nutritious?

• That Mr. SNIDEr sure is SNIDE in his column called “SNIDE Remarks.” What a fitting name for such a SNIDE(r) young man who always behaves so SNIDEly!

• Why do people on game shows jump up and down when they win things? Do people do that in real life? Did the pope jump up and down when he found out he was pope? It’s not very dignified.

• Harry Potter this, Harry Potter that. What ever happened to classic children’s novels like Huck Finn and “The Scarlet Letter”?

• His name is SNIDEr, and he always writes SNIDE things! Good thing his column is called “SNIDE Remarks”!

• I am tired of plush carpeting. It is too deep. It causes more hip injuries per year than all the nation’s slippery bathtubs combined.

• The New York Times insists on putting unneeded apostrophes in decades, like the 1920’s or the 2000’s. Other papers stopped doing this a long time ago, owing to the apostrophe shortage. The Times should get with the times (pardon my cleverness).

• Can’t they make silverware lighter in weight? I don’t need a workout every time I eat, for heaven’s sake!

• And he’s SNIDE, too!

Didn't I just say in the last column that I was never going to get old? And now here I am planning what I'm going to do when I'm old. I have no sense of consistency.

My friend Brett assisted me with two of the old-person complaints here (the plush carpeting and the silverware). I found him online, told him what I was doing, and told him to help me. Maybe next time I'll just have him write the whole thing for me. The thing about silverware being too heavy just kills me.

The line about the pope originally was about the president, along with a parenthetical remark that perhaps he DID jump up and down when he was made president. I changed it to the pope because a) it's funnier to imagine the pope jumping for joy than picturing George W. Bush doing it, and b) this was right after 9/11, and we as a country weren't allowed to make fun of George W. Bush at the time.

The whole "snide" thing is a reference to the many, many letters I have gotten over the years in which the person thinks THEY discovered the cleverness of "snide" being the first five letters of my last name -- never mind that, in calling it "Snide Remarks," I have demonstrated that I've already noticed that little coincidence, thank you very much.