I'm Soooo ImporTant ... Grrr!

My daughter is drinking water out of a cup for the first time today, and I'm not home to see her do that.

It's a milestone of sorts, isn't it?

Now, of course, I could quit my job and never miss out on any of these types of developments, but then water is probably the only thing she'll be drinking — or eating, for that matter — for a long time. So the balancing act begins. Work and home. Home and work. Work, for the most part, is what takes up the majority of my time, even when I am at home.

I'm not alone.

These days we have two-way pagers, cell phones, PDAs that can access e-mail, even remote access to work PCs from our home or wireless Internet connections. And you know what, I wouldn't have it any other way. Call me crazy, but I like my job. I'm a workaholic.

But what Grrrs me are those people who take their work to places like restaurants, the cross-town bus, church or even to happy hour. Yes, all of us little people are SOOO impressed with these bigwigs who are so important — they can't eat a meal with their families without conducting business over a plate of fettucini Alfredo.

Don't you just love them?

These guys are not Oblivions, because they sort of know what they're doing is wrong. They're also not Self-Righteons, since a Self-Righteon would poo-poo any cell phone use in public whatsoever — even in dire emergencies. They're not even martyrs (we all have those in our offices, don't we?) either, because at least martyrs know enough not to be rude.

I like to call these people ImporTants.

If they're not on a cellphone, then they're carrying on a loud conversation about how their boss is stupid and how, without the ImporTant, the place would go down in flames. Or they're bragging about how great they are and how much business they're bringing in.

I was once subjected to one of the ImporTants at a restaurant who said "I" so many times, I started to speak loudly to my wife, repeating "eye, eye, eye, eye, eye." The lady got the message and she quieted down, but not before shooting me a dirty look...

Martyrs ... Grrr!

And then there are the Martyrs that I mentioned earlier. Now, it's one thing to be a workaholic and work hard to get to where you are. It's one thing to be dedicated and have pride in what you do. It's another thing altogether, however, to make a point of going above and beyond the call of duty, even when you don't have to — and sacrifice your sanity — and then take every opportunity to tell EVERYBODY about how hard you work and all the sacrifices you make for your boss.

Please! Just do it and shut up about it. Talking so much about how much you work only dilutes your achievement. You're probably a "firefighter," anyway (someone who starts fires and then puts them out, waiting to be lauded for the extra effort).

"Firefighters" are worse than martyrs, but the same rule applies ... shut up!

What Goes Through the Mind of the Oblivion

For those of you who are new to the column, Oblivions are people who are so oblivious to their surroundings, they do things like cut in lines, change lanes without signaling and swing their lit cigarettes indiscriminately with their flailing arms. Oblivions don't know they're Oblivions, which is what makes them Oblivions. Here's a sampling of what goes through the mind of an Oblivion:

— Three squirts of pure perfume or strong cologne for the office should do the trick.

— Elevator's coming. Gonna stand right in front of the doors so I can get right on.

— The flight attendant hasn't called for my row yet, so I'll just stand two feet in front of her and stare intently at her. Ouch, don't bump into me with your carry-on bag, sir. I'm standing here.

— I love to whistle. I know that everybody in the cubicles around me loves to hear me whistle, too.

— Judy is so nice to put candy out for everybody. I even take some home for my husband.

Now for Your Grrrs

Josh S. Lakeside, Mt., says: ... Mike- I usually enjoy your columns, but this week was different. For the first time, you sounded like a grumpy old man with hemorrhoids. Maybe you should have complained about your O ring cushion not fitting in the movie seat.

— LOL. You could be right about that.

J. Grant in CyberSpace writes: Someone please tell me why suddenly every place with a countertop and a cash register has a tip jar set out? Since when after paying $8.50 for a toasty sub, for example, do I have to still feel indebted to the staff for actually making it and ringing it up? Here's a "tip" for all the greedy people who put that stupid jar in my face, "Tips are justified for workers who are not getting paid enough salary like pizza delivery people, cab drivers, waiters, bartenders, etc. Tips are not warranted just because you got your butt up and came to work."

S. Azinger in Houston, Texas, writes: Michael Moore can go deer hunting with me any time. I may even have room for Michael Jackson. Fox will always be my "Sirius" channel of choice.

J Harmon in CyberSpace., says: I'm sick of all the media constantly bringing up the fact that prisoners were abused at Abu Ghraib prison. I've gone through worse pledging a fraternity,  and I have a good feeling prisoners in the U.S. are going through a whole lot worse than having someone play mind games with them. I understand there were cases that warrant arrest, such as the prisoner who turned himself in, then was beat to death by a CIA contractor, but taking pictures of naked Iraqis hardly justify ruining a soldier's career.

R. Jenkinson writes: I love your Grrr column and I think it's time to take it up a notch. Oblivion of the YEAR awards need to be doled out like some third-rate awards show. They could easily replace the Kids Choice Awards on the scale of worthless awards shows. But I digress. My nomination for Oblivion of the YEAR: The jack-ass at Sunday's Texas Ranger's game who, while diving for a foul ball, knocked a 4-year-old child down. Then, to apparently seal his fate as King of the Oblivions, he refused to give the kid the ball and even appeared to argue with the child's mother. It's misguided sports fans like this that make it less and less appealing to take our children to live sporting events. I just hope that the "Fowl Ball" was worth it.

— Oblivion of the Year Awards sounds like a plan.

Susan Smith in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., writes: Hey Mike, what is up with these new celebrity moms? Is Congress going to have to enact a law prohibiting them from naming their own kids?!  Come on people, "Coco" is what you name your dog, not your kid, and "Apple" is what you call your computer, not your kid. I can't wait to see what Julia Roberts names her twins, "Pen" and "Paper" maybe ... Grrrr!

Contractor D. Cunningham writes: Three cheers should go out to John in Corpus Christi, Texas, for helping to "tame an Oblivion" ... which brings up a point. There ought to be a LAW requiring EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE to read the Grrr column. That way, when these irritants are publicly identified, it might give the perpatrators of similar irritating activities pause for thought. Just think! Oblivions might become a rare species. Then again... total optimists Grrr me.

Sharri R in Pittsburgh has two adopted children: Emboldened by the Grrr from Annique from Bradenton, Fla., in this week's installment, my Grrr is about people who stare and wonder out loud at my children and me. I am the (Caucasian) mother of two beautiful little girls from China (4 1/2 years and 17 months). The level of tactlessness of certain strangers never fails to amaze me. We could be in the grocery store, the amusement park, anywhere, and the Oblivions zero in on us like missles. "How much did they cost?" "Where are they from?" "Do they know they're adopted?" Usually I can just smile and say something diplomatic but dismissive, but at times I get tired of "educating" these folks when they say things like "Yeah, they just throw their baby girls away over there."

Now, of course I don't expect everyone to understand Chinese culture (they DON'T throw away their girls, thank you), but you would think that people would have enough sense to censor their mouths in front of my impressionable daughters, one of which is becoming more and more aware that she doesn't look like her parents. Oh, and one other thing: If you wouldn't be so brazen as to approach a Caucasian family (or completely Asian family, for that matter) and ask if their children are "real" siblings, then why ask me that of my daughters? Not only is it none of your business, but yes, of COURSE they're real — they were adopted into the same family! Now go away! Thanks, Mike, for letting me get that off my chest!

A. Rich, a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, says: Michael Moore's arrogance was shown in grand fashion by his reply to this column: "... I hope they [Fox News Channel] enjoy this year, their last year with actual viewers." Mr. Moore, this is sad. A sensible man does not respond to criticism by threatening an entire news network, nor does a sensible man believe that he himself has the power to influence enough viewers to dissolve any modern-day media conglomerate. I have not seen the documentaries in question but I hope that they are developed with more insight than your feeble response. Maybe next time you can tell us how your dad can beat up Mike Straka's dad. Thanks for the laugh, Mr. Moore.

Mike Keyes, Holland, Pa., says: The thing I like about Michael Moore is his flexibility and fair and balanced approach to things. He acknowledges that there is room for two opinions on every subject: his opinion and the wrong opinion!! I hope he spends every last dime he has trying to get Fox off the air, because he will then be broke and not able to spout his vile garbage and we will still have Fox. How long did Al Franken's Liberal radio network last? About five seconds. It just kills them that no one really listens to them or believes anything they have to say. Except, of course, other ultra-left wing wackos. GRRRRR to Michael Moore, Al Franken and all of their ilk!

B. Blake writes: Michael Moore is constantly fact-checking his work. Has there been any lawsuits against him that he's lost? Of course, I can't expect the FOX network to know what fact-checking is, since I know that they were found to be the most inaccurate news network in our country. By the way, if I have to pay to get some truth out of this war and administration, I am going to. I don't care what profits Mr. Moore might make. I am just thanking God that there is someone brave enough and with enough fortitude to put it out there.

Craig Lane writes eloquently: While it is your right to scribble as much negativity about Mr. Moore as possible, (I find myself imagining a FOX News “Bounty” being posted on your lunch room bulletin board), your “column” seemed unfair ... I see little to disagree with him about, other than his packaging. It would have pleased me greatly to see Mr. Moore relinquish ALL proceeds, and his coveted Palm d’Or, for the sake of his country. I think that he should have released this film directly to video, and then distributed said tapes to the masses FOR FREE.

So I agree with you to a certain extent. The personal attacks, the references to the “Hollywood Elite," and derogatory comments regarding the French are beneath you, Mr. Straka, and expose the always underlying ugliness, (in conjunction with the lies and ignorance), that has become the accepted public discourse of our nation these days. If the path we are on does not change, democracy WILL be lost to us all. I thank you, and it is my fervent wish that you are not offended by my humble words.

— None taken. Thanks for the eloquent critique.

"NFL Today" Is Back

Now that "Neon" Deion Sanders — a terrific football PLAYER but a little too over-the-top off the field — is out at the "NFL Today" show on CBS, and Lesley Visser is on the sidelines for the number one play by play team, the final move on the CBS Sports gameboard is in place, and it was the most important piece of the puzzle.

Greg Gumbel, (search) who had been the number one team in the booth along with Phil Simms at football games, is moving back to the spot that made the "NFL Today" show the highest rated Sunday pregame show on television in the 90's, as host (along with Terry Bradshaw — who has credited Gumbel for helping him hone his own TV skills).  "NFL Today" host Jim Nantz will swap positions with Gumbel.

In the spirit of full disclosure, Gumbel was best man at my wedding, but don't hold that against him.  I know that I speak for the majority of football fans when I say that he'll be missed in the booth, but will be welcomed home with open arms in the studio.  This move may finally help CBS catch up to "FOX NFL Sunday," the most awesome pregame show around — starring Bradshaw, Howie Long, James Brown and Jimmy Johnson.

Stupid Lit'l Dreamers

If you're in New York City this week, catch Adam Sank's stand-up comedy routine at Caroline's (search) comedy club. Sank used to be a producer here at FNC and quit the journalism business to pursue his dream of being a comic.

I would also like to give an honorary Stupid Lit'l Dreamer mention to Grrr! reader Daniel W. Schroder for writing "The Lies That Blind," a novel that spoofs the liberal elites in Hollywood.

The Cutting Room Floor

Heading to New Orleans this week to cover the eBay! Live (search) convention. I've never been there, so wish me luck. In the meantime, this weekend on FOX Magazine tune in for my piece on a drive-in movie in New York City, and an interview with music legend Neil Sedaka (search).

Until next week, Grrrrrrrrrr!

Read previous Strakalogue Grrr! columns

Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine," "Sunday Best" and FOXNews.com. As an actor, Straka appeared in the film "Analyze This," co-starred in the Off-Broadway hit "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," and has appeared in various TV commercials and programs.

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