THERE ARE so many annoying people in this world that it's hard to gauge who the most annoying are on a consistent basis.
But here are 10 categories of people who never fail to make my blood pressure spike:
Anyone who interrupts a phone conversation to tell you their 2-year-old wants to say hello.
Hey, pal, I don't want to talk to little Jessica, OK?
I don't want to hear "Huh-whoa? This is Jes-si-ca!" and then listen to 30 seconds of scintillating conversation about where she put her dolly.
Personally, I don't believe in letting kids use the phone until they're 21. Although I tend to be a little reactionary about these things.
Anyone who doesn't wave "thanks" when you let them pull out in front of you in traffic.
What is with these idiots?
How much effort does it take to acknowledge a small kindness?
I get so hot at these people, I want to force their car to the side of the road and beat them over the head with a two-by-four. Although I'm told that might be a slight over-reaction.
Those dimwit fans you see in the stands during tense moments of a baseball game, hands clasped, eyes closed, praying for their team to get a hit.
Look, Mr. or Ms. Devout, you want to pray for something? Pray for world peace, OK?
Pray for all the children who go to bed hungry every night.
But don't pray for a double down the line.
You think God cares who wins the stupid ballgame? I'm sure he's got a few other things on his mind.
Barbara Walters. After all these years, the woman is still a shoo-in for the Annoying People Hall of Fame. Hell, they'll have to devote an entire wing to her.
The way she fixes those big, basset-hound eyes on her interview subjects, that hushed, overly dramatic voice she uses, the dopey questions ("Tell me, when you found her with another man, did it hurt?"), her gooey, Mouseketeer-like sign-off on "20/20" ("We're in touch, so you be in touch") -- all of it drives me right up a wall.
People who call you on cheap cell phones, forcing you to endure long, crackly, static-y conversations.
Where do they get these phones, Fisher-Price?
It sounds like they're calling from Jupiter.
Hey, do me a favor: Call back when you find an adult phone.
Any man over the age of 40 who wears his baseball cap backward.
Dude, look in the mirror. You look silly.
Same thing for those bald guys who wear the tiny bit of hair they have left in a ponytail.
Yo: This does not make you look hip.
This makes you look like a bald guy with a ponytail.
Doctors who tell you a procedure they're about to perform may cause some "discomfort.'
I actually had a doctor tell me this as he prepared to jab a needle the size of a harpoon into my knee.
What followed was not "discomfort."
What followed was called "pain." Searing, white-hot pain. Which was the reason I was cursing and hopping up and down and trying to strangle him.
Supermarket shoppers who plunk down more than nine items in the "9 items or less" express checkout lane.
How hard is this to comprehend? All you have to do is count the items in your shopping cart.
Nine or less you go to this checkout counter. More than nine, you go to those checkout counters.
And don't give me that nonsense about three cans of frozen orange juice counting as one item. What is that, the New Math in Algeria?
People who end every sentence with the word " 'kay?" ("Went out this morning and the car wouldn't start, 'kay? So I had it towed to the garage, 'kay? And the mechanic tells me I need a new battery, 'kay?")
I sat next to a woman on a flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles who talked like that -- for six straight hours.
Ten minutes after we took off, I was standing in the aisle, windmilling my arms for the beverage cart.
Telephone solicitors who begin their spiel with: "How are you tonight, sir?"
Look, buddy, you don't care how I am. I could tell you I just had my hand chopped off in the disposal and you'd say: "Good, good. Sir, the reason for my call is that VISA is offering a one-time only opportunity to its preferred customers . . ."
So let's just skip the pleasantries and get to the real reason you called.
Which, I'm sure, somehow involves me sending you money.
Pub Date: 10/16/97