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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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Against the grain (10/10/2004)
By Janet Lewis Burns

I recall Mom saying, "That really irks me to no end!" Truthfully, I thought that "irk" might have been one of our family's pet words, back when I had not yet broken away from the suffocating space of adulthood-edging-closer.

You know, words sounding German, but probably weren't, or become mispronounced with time. I feel warm and fuzzy to this day when I hear, "You must have ants in your pants," "You're a little snickerfritz," "schimmel," "miss priss," "nixnuts," and "holy schmoley."

What trips your trigger? Due to recent experience, it pertains to that steamy cup of hot tea to go, from Bluff Country Coop (which I love). "One large tea" was all that was said at the checkout, and the irony of it all really got my goat...one tea bag, regardless of cup size, three prices. Get my drift?

We didn't get on the "Do Not Call List," and we are paying for our screw-up. Everyone that everyone else got rid of is now on our case. Telemarketers, and political crusaders are one thing, but when their message is recorded and I can't remark or talk back, I really get hot under the neck of my sweat suit, after a long day at the office. Don't push my buttons!

In the office, a paper trail goes on forever, so much mail tossed in the circular file, generating all the paper waste! Who mentioned thin toilet paper! That really rubs me the wrong way. Back at the desk, I can't be trusted with styrofoam cups anywhere near my computer. Klutz! I work best alone.

I deplore full-length mirrors. That's when the reflection tells the tale. My figure resembles a cereal box on a good day, and Mr. Peanut on one of those indecisive what-should-I-wear mornings. Haven't I learned that when you push something in, something is going to bulge out somewhere else?

Address stickers! Thousands of them, desk drawers stuffed and cramped! And who gave someone the green light to address me as "Ms?" When some organization I've never heard of sends me stickers, writing paper, and a key ring with an angel emblem, I figure that what little I can offer as a donation would do no more than to pay for sending me the stuff, which I didn't order in the first place.

I have sent "Planned Parenthood" nasty letters, writing that I'm ashamed to have their mailings in my post office box and to remove my address from their mailing list. Then those infamous, "You've definitely won one of these prizes!" "Just send postage and handling costs and the prize is yours - for FREE!"

A list can be obtained from the Postmaster General up at the Twin Cities, containing organizations who solicit by phone and mailings. Information ranking credit ability and administrative cuts is available. Reading the newsletter became hilarious, as examples were listed of some scam operations. Usually your bogus "postage and handling" expense is to be sent to some suite number in a big city, because it's only temporary.

A big screen TV has turned out to be, I kid you not, a magnifying glass over the screen of a toy television. A luxury boat comes as a plastic bathtub toy, and some boxes arrive filled with bricks.

Like Cracker Jacks prizes used to be disappointing, after the big expectations, these gems come a lot more costly to a vulnerable adult. How much could a Bill Clinton bobblehead weigh anyway? My guess would be that "nothing" is what you would receive, the suite number in Las Vegas deserted, and a "DUPED" sign plastered across your forehead.

Our kids used to complain that we were much too cynical, as we went on to explain that it was just being cautious. There's a fine line between cynicism and reality.

Someone out there promises to leave the light on for you. Be a believer. It's much less stressful. 


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