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One less (or is it fewer?) thing to annoy him

By JIM BUSEK • Mar 19, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Considering how many things irritate me, it is surprising how happy I am.

I don’t like it, for instance, that most fast food workers manage to put their finger into my empty drink cup while handing it to me.

Gum chewing, in general, bothers me. I do not like bubbles, popping or any vigorous jaw action.

I am not keen on email forwards or long text messages.

It bugs me how many people screw up their possessives and plurals.

It bothers me that most people use the word “less” when they actually mean “fewer.”

I do not like what is happening to the rules of grammar and spelling thanks to text messaging and texting and social media in general. It is one reason I have so few BFFs.

Barking dogs after dark annoy me.

I hate it when I am at an intersection with my turn signal on and the driver across from me — who is clearly planning to go straight through the intersection — waves me to go ahead and turn in front of him. I think it might even be illegal.

I am annoyed when I see the word compliment in print when the proper word for the intended meaning is complement.

I can’t stand drivers on the interstate who camp in the left lane, forcing others to pass them on the right.

I cannot believe how many people mispronounce the word “realtor.”

The song “Candy Man” is awful.

I have never liked beets.

I really do not like restaurant or supermarket people handling my food unless they are wearing plastic gloves.

I hate almost every aspect of air travel now, especially paying extra for things that should obviously be included in the ticket price. Like a seat.

And, of course, there are computerized phone menus, internet pop-ups, computer glitches and probably a hundred other little things that annoy me.

The thing is, there’s not much I can do about any of them.

But nine years ago I started a personal crusade to straighten up the way people say the year we are in.

At the time, if you remember, most people were saying “two thousand and ten” when they were referring to what was then the current year, 2010. It bugged me. The “and” was not needed at all.

I believe my elementary school teachers who, I have come to understand, actually did know everything, would read 2010 as “two thousand ten.”

So I started a quiet campaign (i.e. just in this column) to get people to say it properly.

In fact, I went one step further, encouraging people to say “twenty ten.”

That’s how we did it back in the 20th century, of course. Remember how we used to say “nineteen ninety nine”? Nobody said “nineteen hundred and ninety nine.”

I couldn’t understand why people were inserting the extra syllables needed to say two-thousand-and-ten instead of the much more aerodynamic twenty-ten?

Guess what…it worked. Just listen and you will seldom hear people saying the current year the long way — two thousand and nineteen.

I suppose there’s a chance that it was not this column that actually got people across the country to change their speech patterns.

Regardless, it’s great to have one less thing to annoy me.


Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] hotmail.com.

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