Far from my favourites

They congratulated me on the positive, in one case uplifting, nature of this column last week about the things I love, a sudden rush of emailers who lifted my day apparently in return for me lifting theirs.

The modern compulsion to swamp children with junk at Christmas is ugly, and the immediate effect, of course, is to create a lack of appreciation, a disregard, for what they have and to rob them of the pleasure in having something they want. Just as bad is the new habit of buying a toy for a child each time they accompany a parent shopping. Shortsighted vulgarity.

But, I warned them all, it was to be a shortlived mutual glow because as sure as there is love there is hate.

And here it is, the things I hate.

Kicking off this cathartic exercise is the question asked by brash young people, "how are we today?".

It seems to me to be the condescending language some people use when addressing someone in their dotage, and I will hate it more when I am that someone, but I hate it now regardless.

Are you, I ask the inquirer who's often a salesman, talking to me? "Yes," he'll reply. Then, I'll ask, who's we? At this point it's a good idea to find someone else to help.

The today suffix has become common among young people in customer service and so common is it at Macca's that I wonder if it's part of the training.

"Is that all today?", and I wonder if the today is meant to suggest that the purchase is or should be a daily habit. I've given up pointing out that I wasn't there yesterday.

I hope that not all these young people are crass enough to use Newie, or Newy, instead of the city's name, Newcastle.

Those who do will also call Christmas Chrissie, presents prezzies, breakfast brekkie, and Bundaberg Rum Bundy, which seems to be their favourite drink.

That will help you place them on the social spectrum.

Supercars brought hordes of them to what they call Newie, and thankfully they all went home again to Maitie and Kurri and Cessie.

Pretension I both love and hate, love because I am captivated by it briefly and hate when I am required to endure it.

Those who are pretentious would have you know, if they so deigned, that they speak and behave properly and that you don't.

Hey, don't you just hate it when you have to tell the staff the meal was lovely to avoid the melodrama that would follow if you told them the truth!

Fruit out of season must be avoided if you are hoping to have a good day, and fruit that is too cheap is that way for good reason and to be avoided at all cost.

Apricots get me just once a year, when I buy two or three of the choicest I can find in the hope that they'll be even just half as good as they were when I was a child. Each year they end up in the nearest bin.

Cheap bread, offal, biros that don't work and especially a drawerful of biros that don't work, doof doof music, commercial radio and chuckleheads, people who don't pick up their dog poo, right-lane hoggers, canned and otherwise false laughter, loathsome all of them.

Voice-activated switchboards are an abomination, and small businesses that require callers to push buttons rather than talk to a receptionist are not far behind.

One I encountered a year ago was a Newcastle real estate agency, and when I gave up after the third button press I wondered how many others did the same. It was easier to phone another agency.

I'm getting cranky writing this.

The modern compulsion to swamp children with junk at Christmas is ugly, and the immediate effect, of course, is to create a lack of appreciation, a disregard, for what they have and to rob them of the pleasure in having something they want.

Just as bad is the new habit of buying a toy for a child each time they accompany a parent shopping. Shortsighted vulgarity.

I am implacably hostile to the expectation that I tip, whether that be from staff or, more often in these days of plastic, fellow diners at the table adding a tip to a shared bill.

I can't see why I should relent to attempts to impose on me an obligation to pay twice.

Dogs licking faces is execrable, and so are the people who see this as cute.

In addition, people who invade your personal space, and who move with you as you retreat, are odious. Especially if they have bad breath.

And at what age should we no longer have to be assailed by jokes?

You know, the "have you heard the one" jokes, and when we say we have heard that one the jokester comes up with another.

Invariably unfunny, and it's pointless explaining that swear words that might have been funny when we were early teenagers are not now.

Puerile.

Goodness, I need to get into the sun, to exchange a cheery hello with a passerby, to pat a random dog, to think positive things about young people having a go.

I'll feel better shortly, and you have a lovely weekend too.

jeffcorb@gmail.com

letters@theherald.com.au

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