Your Grrrs: Nov. 30, 2004

More of your Grrrs: Nov. 30, 2004

Mike from Miami: I have a GRRR! I want to get off my chest. A few years ago, Florida started the SunPass system. What this is is an automatic prepaid toll system for our highways. You buy a transponder to put in your car, and link it to a credit card account. You get to pass through your own special reserved lane exclusively for SunPass customers without having to stop. The state spent millions of dollars advertising these transponders for people to purchase and put in their cars. What GRRRs me are Obliviots who do not know if they have purchased one or not. They do not come with any car, so the only way they could POSSIBLY be in there is if the car owner has purchased one and put it in there. SunPass lanes are clearly marked both with uniquely colored signs, and markings on the road that start no less than a mile away from the toll plaza, yet all too often these Obliviots will line up on a SunPass lane and slow to a stop waiting for someone to take their money for their toll. Of course, the SunPass lanes are unattended, so they are left stopped in a lane where you are not supposed to stop at all! All the while I am stuck behind this person waiting to get rear-ended by the SunPass-owning Obliviot who does not pay attention as they approach the lane. GRRRRR!!!

Scott A.K. in Tampa, Fla.: I just wondered if anyone else is GRRR'd up to here with microwave-popcorn Obliviots who cannot stand at the machine for the 3.5 minutes it takes to cook and remove the package before it is burnt to a crisp and smells up the entire office building.

Judy M. in Cyber-Space: Response to Dave on phone etiquette: When some phone Oblivion asks me "who is this?" I respond with "I don't know, who did you call?" Or "I don't know, you called me." I do not waste time on those who call and don't reply to my greeting immediately, either. If I say "hello," there are three seconds to reply or I hang up. I have no time to waste saying "hello" until someone decides to answer me.

Anne Marie Galfo in Cyber-Space: I read the Grrr! from Bradley S. in Sacramento, Calif., that said you should apologize to Donald Trump for what you wrote about his show (and I loved your response too, by the way). While there may be some things that can be learned from "The Apprentice," like backstabbing, lying and taking credit for things you didn't do ... I have to say that I'm shocked that there is someone out there that believes that people watch that show to learn from it. Did California suddenly drop off into another dimension that I'm not aware of? I don't know ANYONE that watches "The Apprentice" for educational value. People watch that show to see the feuding between the "contestants" and to see who gets fired every week. I know I do.

Bill in Cohoes, N.Y.: Your Strakalogue on Thanksgiving was most excellent. It struck a deep cord within. The part about those who are risking their lives, for the freedoms that we often take for granted, really hits home. It's easy to complain about everything, and so many of us do it. It's refreshing to think about the great blessings that we have in this country.

M. Knapp in Cyber-Space: Hey Mike, I saw you mentioned you were once a "gas pumper" ... that's great! I'm active duty Air Force stationed in Italy, and have worked in POL for 20 years now. What a great career! I'm glad you are proud enough of that part of your life to mention it ... the world certainly needs gas pumpers, because as you know: Nothing goes without the hose. Take care, God bless, and keep doing/writing great things!

— Yeah, I pumped gas and drove a wrecker for Bob Stohrer Sr. at a Shell station on the Jersey shore. Bob was a player in the NFL, and was an inspiration to all of us young bucks. He always emphasized going the extra mile to get the things we wanted out of life. That, and painting the curbs when the pumps were slow.

Cherie in Cincinnati: For all those people who have the "Support Our Troops" ribbons on their cars ... how about asking someone you know who has a loved one overseas how they're doing? My husband has been in Kuwait since July, and I can count on one hand those who have asked how he is doing, much less how my little girl and I are doing without him. Do you really support our troops, or did 50 cents of your $5 purchase go to some "cause" for the troops, so you now you can say you really "did your part?" Even if you don't care, the words offer some encouragement for those overseas, and the families they leave behind.

Jill G., Lewisville, Texas: Mike, this is in response to "Lindsey H. in Cyber-Space" (last column) and her insistence that the country was founded on the "separation" of church and state. I invite Lindsay to re-read the First Amendment. The First Amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." There is no place in that amendment, or in any founding document associated with the United States for that matter, in which the words "separation," "church" or "state" can be found. Our founding fathers founded this country on Christian values, BUT they also wanted freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM it. It turns out the term "separation of church and state" was from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, interpreting the Constitution and assuring a church that their freedom of religion would be PROTECTED.

Neil M. in Salt Lake City, Utah: I would like to say thanks to Keith in Ohio (last column) about informing me and all of your readers that it “IS NOT ILLEGAL” to drive the posted speed limit in the left lane. Wow! You are so enlightened. Your knowledge surpasses all of ours. Give me a break! Yes, Keith, driving the speed limit is OK in the left lane, but it makes you an inconsiderate, ego-driven JERK! Some people do choose to drive over the speed limit and guess what? You still don’t have the right to enforce the law. I’m just betting the state of Ohio hasn’t given you the authority to do that. And if they did, they probably don’t want you to enforce it by backing up the traffic in the left lane. Please be considerate and drive in a different lane. Be part of the solution and stop being a hypocritical left lane vigilante.

Joe B. Sgt., USMC 1990-1996: The Coffee Shop Etiquette video just killed me ... with you delivering the "Wake up ... stupid" blow to the Oblivion's head (with the karate movie sound effects of course). Absolutely classic. Your column rules ... and I wanted to also thank you for closing out your "What we should be thankful for" list with thanks to our troops. I've eaten Thanksgiving dinners and spent Christmas and every other holiday in some pretty miserable places as a Marine (most memorable would be eating Thanksgiving dinner off of a Styrofoam tray in a fighting hole in the rain — but it was hot food and I was extremely thankful for it). Believe me when I say that reading your kind words is exactly what our troops need, and it can make a world of difference to them while they are doing the jobs they do. Have a great holiday, Mike, and keep up the awesome work.

D.H. in New York: My Grrrr!!! is for women who knowingly chase after married men. I work with a Self-Righteon who must be the single most annoying woman on the entire face of the earth, besides being rude and obnoxious, she thinks because she sleeps with our married boss that she is the greatest thing since Wonder Bread. It has been going on for 11 years, and he has no plans of ever divorcing his wife. What an Obliviot homewrecker she is to think that he will ever leave his wife for her. I never knew what to call her until I read your article (I had a few choice words of course.) Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you inspire so many like me to be stupid lit'l dreamers and I absolutely love you for giving so many the inspiration to put on our boots and wade through the c—- each day. Thank you for doing what you do.

Albert H. in Cyber-Space: Concerning your accidental meeting with Costas, it seems you have no problem stating your opinion when you can hide behind your keyboard, but face to face you lack the intestinal fortitude to stick by what you write. Your opportunity to talk to Costas in person about how you feel passed you by, and instead you chose to only give him your first name so he wouldn't connect you to your column. I enjoy reading your column, but I just feel that you didn't make the best of the opportunity.

— Albert, there's a time and place for everything, and that was not the time or place for any meaningful discussion about his work. Besides, these days with all of the Real-ities getting broadcast jobs, I have much more respect for people like Costas, who actually had to work to get where they are today.

From Karen in Statesboro, Ga.: You are at a four-way intersection with a red light, intending on going straight. The guy across from you is waiting to turn left (your right). Both lights turn green at the same time and you start forward, since you have the right of way. The guy across from you guns it and makes his turn cutting in front of you — causing you to break/slow down to avoid what would be a collision. All to save a few seconds. What do you call this guy? Oblivion seams too tame. I have had this happen to me plenty of times — and most when there is no one behind me for them to wait for.

— Karen ... that's an Obliviot, someone whose Oblivionism is dangerous to others.

Emily in Tallahassee, Fla.: Thanks for a fantastic column. I think the point that many people — including Mr. Pataskala from last week — miss is that Oblivionism is about paying attention to the world around you and having a little bit of respect for the creatures that co-exist on this Earth. Sure, driving 70 in a 65 is illegal, and sure, you can click on your cruise control and be the law-abiding citizen, but you create traffic jams, car accidents and an entire road full of people irritated. So, why not just do the world a favor and scoot over, to keep traffic — and life — flowing a bit easier? No, because you are an Oblivion, unable to grasp that stage of enlightenment that the rest of us Earthlings treasure.

Shawna in Cyber-Space: You truly made my day. I look forward every Tuesday to reading your article and getting a good laugh. Today was different, just when I thought that I could not take one more let-me-stop-what-I'm-doing-and-work-on-your-problem co-worker, or the thought of all I had to do to get ready for the holiday, I read your column. You put everything into perspective, you made me look at what a good life I have. I am thankful for my family, my wonderful and loving husband, my awesome parents, all my siblings (including my closest sister whose house is already very, very overly decorated for Christmas). I'm thankful for all those around the world making the sacrifice so that we can live our lives free. I am thankful for people like you who are not afraid to say it. P.S. you actually made me teary-eyed. Keep up the great work!

Until Next Week ... Grrr!

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Mike Straka is director of operations and special projects and a columnist for, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine." He was also in the movie "Analyze This," and has appeared in various commercials, theater and TV roles.

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