Your Grrrs: April 25, 2006

Your Grrrs ... don't forget to play "Spot the Oblivion" below...

Sharon B. writes: My Grrr is all the people who made the movie about Flight 93. The producers, directors and actors are making money off this tragedy. As a New Yorker, I am repulsed by these people profiting off this and I will not see this movie, just for that reason. I will never forget the names of those heroes on board that flight, they all deserve the title of hero. But the movie company and the producers are banking on the guilt of the U.S. citizens to line their pockets. That to me is outrageous.

Pam S. writes: Why is it that at buffet restaurants, the management employs a wait staff to bring beverages and rolls? If I, as a customer, am allowed to get up and choose the types and quantities of the courses of my meal, why do I have to wait for a server to bring me my beverage, and then tip him or her for it? I am only a "one-tripper" to the buffet, anyway, but then have to wait on the server to come by to get a refill. It just makes no sense to me. I understand they may need busboys to clear the tables, but not a wait staff just to bring the drinks.

— Pam, avoid the buffet at all costs.

Rick C. writes: Mike, I can't take it anymore. TomKat. Every media outlet I look at: TomKat. Grrr! It's not a word. It's not a name. It's not cute. It's not even amusing. It is just plain annoying, patronizing and boring. I just can't wait till they are involved in some scandal so the hack, cliché-ridden folks who think they are clever can label it TomKat-gate. Anyone who perpetuates this offense to civilization should be fired. In fact, I have already fired them from my sight and hearing. Want to make sure I turn the channel or skip straight over your article? Use the non-word of TomKat to refer to that nutcase Cruise and his current girlfriend. Or call their new kid TomKitten. Please excuse me while I go bash my head against the wall for about five minutes to clear my thoughts.

Anne M. writes: When did the word "absolutely" replace the simple "yes?" Usually accompanied with a rousing exclamation point, "Absolutely!" has become the know-it-all affirmative answer to just about any question. Watch any morning news show and interviewees inevitably, and often inappropriately, bark out "Absolutely!" when asked even simple questions: "Fran, your new book details the events of 9/11?" "Absolutely, Jim!" "Tell me how your childhood trauma has affected your love life, Roger." "Absolutely, Kathy. It's been very painful." "So, this season's big fashion trend is hot pants, Caroline?" "Absolutely, Bob. Our model, Tonya, sports the latest in lime green!" What happened to "Yes!" "Right!" or even the colloquial "Mm-hmm?" When did people get the idea that their positive replies need to be so completely unquestionable and self-assured? Interestingly, an online etymology dictionary says the evolution of the word is from "detached, disengaged." Maybe it's an unfortunate result of our geo-political, no questions asked posturing these days; another evolution is "despotic." Hmmm, I wonder if the "absolutely" users really are as self-assured as they seem or if they're trying to make themselves believe in something, even if it's just hot pants.

Jon A. in Las Vegas writes: We have lots of Obliviots in Nevada. We call them Californians.

Andrea R. writes: I am so sick and grossed out by seeing guys spit. I always seem to look just at the right moment when they are doing it, too. Why, God? Why when I walk to or from a shopping center parking lot do I always look down at just the right time to notice a big honkin' loogie just inches away from my foot? Just swallow, people. Or buy some tissue.

"Chopper Dave" in Opelika, Ala., writes about my pipes Grrr: Them loud pipes save lives. You know, the ones that let the gooey-brained teenagers and other species of deer know that I am coming down the road. The ones that are loud enough to distract "Judge-Mentalists" like yourselves from your "oh-so-important" cell phone calls while you're driving. The ones that let people know that if they run the intersection, they are likely to be smacked into by about 800 pounds of bike and rider. Sure, the pipes rattle your windows. Guess what else they do? They scare your un-leashed dog outta my way — as I said before, they also scare the deer outta my way as well (I live out in the country). They overcome your teenage punk kid's "thumpity-bumpity" sound system to let them know we're coming. And let's face it: the reason you probably resent them so much is because you don't have the guts to ride a motorcycle, do you Mike — you wet-pants? So watch what you say about those loud pipes, because their sound can easily be replaced by the sound of a loud crash, human screaming and emergency vehicle sirens. But of course, you Yankees are used to all that, huh? Like cicadas on a warm evening to a Southerner, the sounds of human misery must be the sounds of home to you New Yorkers.

Paul C. writes: There's not just the blue-collar Johnny. There's the white-collar Billy Whocares, with his loud, rumbling, racetrack-ready Porsche 912 driving through the neighborhood late on Sunday night after a day at the track with his other Porsche yuppie buddies. Billy Whocares, who wears his Porsche leather jacket in the summer, stacks his race tires in the driveway and gingerly washes his car during the summer ban on outside water use. Billy Whocares, who barely lifts his leather-wrapped hands off his leather-wrapped steering wheel to wave hello while giving you the cool "nod" on his way past your house.

Stephen L. writes: The responses to Harry G. in the latest edition of "Your Grrrs" made me cringe. People gave bios and justified the quality of their lives. They insulted him (sleeping with his own sister? Is that comment not as childish as Harry G.'s rant?. In short, they played the game his way, and in so doing they give him the validation he craves. A guy in the Army had to work hard to get respect ... well you know what? Harry G. didn't, just ask him. People respect him just for being athletic and good-looking. You lose. A lady needed to insult him — she loses too. Harry G. gets a chuckle and a sense of satisfaction out of that. Remember, with Harry G., it's about his winning and your losing. It's his goal in life to rankle people, to make them angry, to make them feel inferior and to make himself feel superior. It's why he'd trip weaker kids and get a thrill out of it. He wants the attention and he wants you to feel like you need to justify yourself. Don't give guys like Harry G. the pleasure. Maybe he was an athlete, and maybe he wasn't. Who cares? Whether or not he ever actually slept with other guys' girlfriends and sisters and pushed down weaker kids is irrelevant. Whether he did, or would, the fact remains that Harry G. is seeking validation. He hasn't earned it; so, don't give it to him. We should all find satisfaction in this truth: Harry G., and others like him, seek validation on a constant basis because they know they would not be popular, successful or anyone of note whatsoever were it not for their size, athleticism, looks or trust fund. They know with absolute certainty and total clarity that minus the size, the athleticism, the looks and the easy money, no one would like them or care about them. We who have not size, athleticism, looks or easy money have lots of people who like us and care for us anyway. In the end, we win. That should be enough. We have nothing to justify or validate. We don't need to flaunt our success and our victory in Harry G.'s face. Doing so only makes us a little bit more like him.

Ben in Atlanta, Ga.: I enjoy your column. I can think of no greater irony than your column ending with "Like Susan Wal-Martian, we all know someone like Johnny Oblivion. And we all indulge him in our own way" and then reading the following on the readers' Grrs: "We all have a Susan Wal-Martian somewhere in our lives. For instance...

"I work with one of the worst Susan Wal-Martians in higher education..."

"I have a co-worker who is constantly griping about..."

"I ran track and cross country, did pretty well too, making it up to the state levels..."

It's pretty amazing that in response to a column about not being able to stand the "one-uppers", people wrote in to talk about the worst one-upper there is ... it's like "oh, if you think the guy you work with is oblivious, let me tell you about..."

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