So, here are some of the newest Grrrs that have come in. Included are some new nominations for "The List" as well as some responses to Mike's love letter... Katharine Sands, FOX News intern.
Dear Mr. Straka: We are in receipt of your recent inquiry for membership. Due to the overwhelming interest we currently only allow purists on "The List" you mentioned. Please be informed that our organization's bylaws do not allow or permit any of its members to operate in any manner other than in complete transparency and any assertion otherwise will result in the immediate suspension of your application. Keeping in accordance with policy, your application will be reviewed at a later date and at that time, we will contact you directly for interview. Sincerely, Dan McFadden — Case Manager — Oblivatic Outgroup and Problem Services (OOPS)
Jared writes in response to Thomas C.: Good afternoon. You must be on "The List." Doesn't self-righteous indignation really get your motor going in the morning? I can see it now: You wake up, grab a cup of "hate juice" and sit down at your computer. Naturally, having the ability to read makes you the foremost authority on the lives of those in the media. Fortunately, I have this gift too. I can tell that you feel inadequate because instead of debating on issues, you personally attack one of the "talking heads" on his parenting skills — a topic on which according to your frequent use of the thesaurus obviously makes you an authority. There is a cure for Self-Righteous Indigniots Tommy: Turn off the computer and step out the door. Walk outside, get a tan, have a nice cool glass of lemonade and enjoy the gift of being alive. PS: ME-niverse ... clever.
Jim J. in Arvada, Colo., writes: Outstanding! The only problem, Mike, is these kinds of people probably don't read your stuff, do they? I sure wish I could figure out a way do something about these behaviors, but I don't think it's possible really. My wife gets tired of me complaining about them. When we're together in the grocery store or the movies and someone does stuff like you've described, I usually, to the extreme embarrassment of my wife, talk to her loudly enough to be heard by the offending individual(s) about how rude and self-centered people are becoming and include some description of the behavior we and others are witnessing. Most of the time they ignore me so I doubt that it is helping anything ... makes me feel better though.
Laura H. writes: I believe "The List" also includes those who park in the fire lane near the front door of the grocery store while they conduct their weekly shopping. Ah, the privilege of thinking you're special (these are the same Obliviots that drive in the passing lane — especially when the right lane is empty.)
Annette Alfieri writes: Hi Mike, I totally agree with your take on the Oblivions. I choose to call it Nouveau Rude.
Tim in Boston, Mass., writes: I really enjoy your Grrr! columns and agree with you 99 percent of the time, but I've got to call you out on something. You'll have to explain to me how it is that someone who can't be bothered to wait and flies past everybody in the supermarket checkout lane is an Obliviot, but according to you, someone doing the same thing on the highway is perfectly OK? If I recall my physics lessons correctly, the person in the 4,000-pound vehicle at 75 mph might be a little more dangerous to those around them than someone pushing a shopping cart full of Fruit Loops and deli meat. Please Mike, show me my flawed thinking.
Alex R. writes "This Grrr goes to Sally (Your Grrrs, 6/1)": I don't think restaurants should even provide highchairs, much less changing tables. This only encourages folks like you to bring your infant along. One of the most annoying things when dining out is having to endure the screams of some infant, not to mention the odor if a diaper needs changing. Very appetizing. A child that age can't possibly even appreciate the surroundings. So, when you want to dine out, have a trusted person watch your child. By the way, you are an Oblivion, since you obviously don't realize you could possibly annoy everyone else in the restaurant. One last note: You would enjoy your meal more as well if you don't have to tend to a child most of the time.
Mike in Portage, Wis., writes: Dear Mike: I just experienced obliviousness this week. I went to see "The Da Vinci Code." I came in during the previews during an afternoon showing. Shortly after the movie started, a couple with a baby and a toddler came into the un-crowded theater and sat right behind me. Then they placed their darling daughter right behind my chair, which she promptly began to kick. I got up and moved away from them. Such people are beyond persuasion or logic.
Karen in Missouri writes: We went to the movies this weekend. Not only was there a screaming kid up front, but the person behind me decided she did not have enough leg room and that the top of my seat would work well as her foot rest. After several minutes of bumping on my seat, I decided it was time to turn around and give her my death glare. I was fully expecting to see a little kid or teenager, but much to my surprise it was a grown woman. Oblivious and obnoxious! Hollywood wonders why we aren't going to the movies?
J. Tom writes: Mike, there was an opinion piece in the Metro-Atlanta rag complaining about her family's treatment in a local restaurant. It seems she and her husband took their 6- and 2-year old daughters there after a morning of shopping. According to her, as she arrived she took her 6-year-old to the bathroom. She then heard her 2-year-old screaming. She left the bathroom to assist him, knowing the 2-year-old was hungry and cranky. She was supposedly only gone about three minutes. When she came out, she was stunned that the manager was there saying customers were complaining, and instructed them to leave. Much to my surprise, the newspaper received a plethora of mail excoriating the woman, questioning the "only three minutes," why she didn't have crackers for the toddler to forestall the crankiness, why didn't they go to a noisy kids' restaurant for lunch, etc. In addition to a Grrr for her, let's give a well-deserved Stupid Lil' Dreamer award to the manager for trying to provide the environment his customers are paying for.
Sam in Fort Rucker, Ala., writes: Mike: Finally! I can assure you that there are millions of people in this country who agree with you 100 percent including myself. I can also assure that there are people reading your article, agreeing with it, and they're on "The List" and don't know it — hence Oblivions. Hopefully, young parents will read this and teach their kids the dying art of "Situational Awareness." For example, one that you happen to leave out, and it's a big one: holding up a line at an establishment (restaurant, bar, store, etc.) to talk to someone. Grrr! I've always been told "kill 'em with kindness." That doesn't work. Apparently, neither does telling them that the "world doesn't revolve around them." I will give these people a little credit, they do give many of us someone to laugh and point at.
A Tulsa driver writes: I guess I must be an Oblivion, because if I am driving the speed limit and using the left lane to pass slower traffic, I refuse to be bullied into breaking the law to get out of your way. If you want to break the law by speeding, you can wait until I am finished using the left lane for what it is intended for.
Jerry in Camden County, Ga., writes: Mike, I was with you until "Left Lane Vigilantes." Oblivions ignore the posted speed limit, thinking the road is theirs. The left lane is for those doing the max posted speed limit. Traffic slower than the max posted speed limit are supposed to stay right. Read the signs. They're on most roads.
J.R. in Greenville, S.C., writes: Just a warning. Be prepared, they are vast and have efficiently organized. Yes, I have finally revealed that the Left Lane Vigilantes have organized to keep the rest of us (and especially me) at a Saturday-morning-yard-sale-browsing-crawl pace not only in the left lane of multi-lane but in the only lane on back roads. Do not try to evade them by turning off. Their satellites radio ahead to position the next blockade to immediately slow down traffic on your new path. I cannot confirm this but I believe that they all report to Thomas C. from last week's Grrrs. We must unite against these Speed Limiters before it is too late.
A Reader in Florida writes: Last weekend we celebrated my 20-year-old daughter's birthday with dinner and a movie. Her mother, brother and I took her to P.F. Chang's and had to endure sitting at a table in the middle of the large dining room while unaccompanied children ran around us. One trip to the restroom is OK, but when they started rollerblading around the room, that's where I draw the line. Where were their parents? Yes, it was Memorial Day, but is that any reason to allow your underage children to run rampant around a crowded restaurant? This wasn't Burger King, for crying out loud! Following dinner, we went to a movie. Great seats, not too crowded, but the idiot family directly behind us never learned how to properly eat food. They actually seemed to enjoy loudly eating their popcorn with their mouths open, making as much noise as possible. I don't blame the children in these two incidents as much as I blame their parents. Apparently their mamas didn't teach them, or they refused to learn.
Jeff G. in Jacksonville, Fla.: Great article. However I think that you are being kind calling the folks on "The List" "oblivious." To be sure many of them are clueless, but there's a whole bunch that are just plain self-centered, rude and don't care. My father always used to tell me that he was sure that there could never be world peace — all one had to do was look at the way people drive their shopping carts in the supermarket. I think he was on to something. It takes all kinds I guess, and sadly they are all here for our amusement and frustration.