Top Ten This

Is it just me or does everyone these days have a top ten list? Turning to Google for advice on effective titles, I discovered we dig and read anything titled “Top Ten.” Animal lovers must own these top ten animals. Readers must read these top ten books. The other day I saw the top ten reasons people get married. Huh? There are actually ten reasons to get married? In my mind, if one needs ten reasons to get married, they have major baggage they are bringing. Perhaps they should read the top ten list on why they shouldn’t get married! But, I digress.

So, if these other people are qualified to write a list, then I believe I am certainly qualified. So, in honor of all the lists out there, here is my top ten list of plain old stuff. As you will soon see, in no particular order.

Number Ten- Phone Tree Messages

Do you think all those phone tree menus have changed recently? “Listen closely as our menu has recently changed,” the voice on the message states. Give me a break. That menu hasn’t changed in ten years. I wonder if it has ever changed. In fact, I venture to say the office has downsized so much in the past few years, they outsource this function to a company that has sold three times in the last six years. The office manager in charge of the number to call the outsourced company probably quit last week and nobody in the office knows the number to call. They couldn’t change that menu if they wanted.

Number Nine- Phone Trees Continued

Speaking of phone trees … the message states, “to better serve you, please enter your full name, date of birth, telephone number and full mailing address.”

Type, type, type, enter. 

“Thank you. Due to an unusually heavy call load, your wait will be longer than normal. If you would like to leave a call back number, press 1. We can call you back in, squawk, screech, crack minutes,” the robot states.

I press 1. 

“Thank you, goodbye.” 

Ring, ring, ring.


“Mr. Collins, per your request I’m calling you back. To better serve you, may I ask you a few questions.?” the caller from India asks.

“Sure,” I say

“What is your full name?”

“It’s the one I typed in your system earlier.”

“What is your date of birth?”

“It’s what I typed in earlier!”

“What is your telephone number?”

“It’s the one you just called!”

Yie Yie Yie Yie Yiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!!!!

Drives me nuuuuuuuuttttttttssssssss!!!!!

Number Eight- Bottled Water

Why didn’t I invent bottled water? I mean, $4.50 for a bottle of water? And is it just me or did the world get thirstier as soon as everyone charged for water. Everywhere I go, people have their own personal water bottle. As an usher at church, I’ve observed a bottle of aqua is a must for church attendees to have even in church. You would think half the congregation would dehydrate in one hour without chugging from that water bottle!

I can just envision me selling this idea on Shark Tank.

‘Um, Mr. Cuban, to begin, would you like a sample of this $4.50 water? One swig from this water and it will be the last time you will ever want to drink free water again.”

“Would you care to buy 25% of my company for $500,000?”

Wonder how that would have turned out?

Number Seven- Orange Traffic Barrels

Why didn’t I invent the orange traffic barrel? Within one mile of my home, there must be 859 of these barrels prohibiting me from driving on perfectly good pavement. And to make matters worse, these barrels block off pavement where not one worker has worked for weeks!

Number Six- Self Check Out

Why do I go to the largest retailer in the world and check myself out?

Scan. Boop!

Scan. Boop!


“An attendant will be with you shortly.”

Wait. Look at watch.

Wait longer. Wonder what shortly means.

Google the word “shortly.”

Shortly-adverb- In a short or brief time (unless one is waiting for an attendant at the world’s largest retailer.

Number Five- Starbucks

Why did I not think about opening a coffee shop, train customers to come in staring at their cell phones, and order drinks with long names that just add up to coffee and sugar in a cup.

“I’ll have a venti, quadruple shot, caramel macc, half caff, non-fat, gluten free with normal foam, says my poor nose-ringed millennial friend, who took the bait, hook, line and sinker. Those words will be the most the tattooed one will say to a human all day long as she turns her attention back to her cell phone.

“What?” thinks the bald one.

The stocking cap cashier says, “that will be $7.23 cents.” 

“Double what??”

My millennial friend is freaking out because her Apple Pay is not working. In fact, Starbucks computers are down. The entire store is melting down. They hired two baby boomers on the spot just to count change back from real money, only owned from old codgers like me.

At the end of the day, it’s only colored water with sugar, making it a desert in a cup.

Note: I must admit I like me some Starbucks, if nothing else but to observe those poor misguided people who are not perfect like me.

Number Four- Dogs

What’s with all the dogs? Now before you go jumping on me for being anti-dog, I must admit I enjoy the occasional polite lick of the tongue on my hand (even though we both know where that tongue has been). I’ve stepped in my share of the dog stuff, even though the dogs we had around our house growing up ate table scraps, not the $300 a bag stuff these prima donnas get. 

But really, enough is enough. These dogs are on the plane sitting beside me. I am eating at my favorite restaurant. There’s a furry fellow hacking up a bone. I go to my beloved Home Depot. Dogs. At the mall, they are in strollers. Heck legislators are legislating businesses to keep them from banning dogs.

“Good grief sir, do you know how ridiculous you look with that plastic baggie on your hand?”

Number Three- Chick-Fil-a

Why didn’t I open a chicken place that opens six days a week and never on Sunday?

Why do I seem to always crave Chick-fil-a on Sundays?

I remember when the major retailer I once worked for started opening on Sundays. It was terrible. They spent thousands trying to convince us we must open on Sundays to be competitive. 

“It will increase business ten percent,” they said.

The hand in the back of the room shoots up.

“Yes, Ron.”

“Um, yeah. Won’t this just spread the business out over the week? I mean, do the people of this fine state suddenly have ten percent more money just because we are open on Sundays?” says the recent college grad.

“Young man, studies from other states have shown yada, blah, bs, stuff.”

Shoulda opened me a Chick-fil-a store!

In all seriousness, hurray for Chick-fil-a. Customer service extraordinaire. Impeccable line management. 

They are setting profit records even without Sunday openings.

Hats off to you!

And they are a Christian organization.

Note: I really like me some Chick-fil-a!

Number Two- The telemarketer call

Do you really think someone monitors the call to ensure quality service? 

Dial, ring, ring, ring.

“Please be American, please!” I plead to myself.

“Thank you for calling major company America. You are our number one priority. This call may be monitored to ensure we provide excellent quality service.”

When I hear this, I immediately think of a wonderful training environment where the supervisor is sitting with the young grasshopper, developing them to become the best customer service employee in the company. Oh, if that were only the truth.

“All right, all right, all right,” I say to myself. “This is gonna be a good call.”

“Hi my neme is rgtzxchtg. Hoo duu eyeye huv th plursur of spaekin with?”

“Hi, my name is Roooooonnnnn.”

“Hi Run. Ha my eyeye meke yere da spoma fenomnal?”

I mean, they monitor the call and then my service guy can’t even speak my language?

“Let me speak to that monitor!!!”

Number One- Fish Sticks

This one has been bothering me for fifty-five years. Why did a fully immersion believing, card carrying and voting member of the Baptist denomination, have to eat those disgusting fish sticks every Friday at school? 

Was it a Catholic thing?

If so, I mean, I love my Catholic friends as if they were my own brothers and sisters. But I would never force them to eat “Baptist twelve bean, tuna, Mexican chicken casseroles” on Thursdays. 

Those were some awful fish sticks, weren’t they? Once me and Mike Pennington smuggled a stick out of the lunchroom and tried to feed it to our school cat. The cat, who rightfully never fully trusted us, bowed its back, let out the most outrageous cat noise I’ve ever heard, and ran the other direction. Mike and I did not see that cat again for days. Whenever the cat returned, it never came around us again.

I’m not sure what type of fish they supposed it to be, but I know it was not caught anywhere I fished.

Honorable Mention

Child Proof Packages

What is up with child proof packages. I’m over six feet tall and weigh two hundred and something something (yawl don’t need to know that). Anyway, the other day I tried to open a package of Benadryl. I temporarily lost my religion. Pull flap down and then tear apart. That didn’t work. I got out nose scissors and soon I was bleeding from three fingers. My clippers weren’t strong enough to cut through the package. Forget it. I’ll just suffer, I said, as I placed Band-Aids on my cut fingers.

I don’t know what I’ll do when I get old!

Honorable Mention number two

Drug Disclosures

What is up with drug disclosures? Could they be any longer? I envision lawyers holed up in a room laughing and saying, “hey, let’s throw this one in just for fun.”

The other day I got one of my man drugs and my wife got one of her lady drugs. I put the two disclosures side by side. I promise you, hers said she could become a man and mine said I could become a woman.

Suddenly, I began to feel a wave of discomfort. I became ridiculously hot and sweaty. I felt the urge to tell my spouse how hot I am. Repeatedly. I turn the thermostat down to forty-three degrees.

I immediately forget my Apple password.

I feel the need to go buy five pair of shoes that match nothing in my closet, just so I can go buy five entire new outfits that match my shoes. “Well, I have nothing to wear with these shoes, so it is a waste to just let the shoes sit in the closet and never wear them,” I would later proclaim.

“Honey, after you finish mowing the yard, remember to take out the trash. And can you pay the housekeeper? I have to run get my hair and nails done, I said to my spouse.

“Gosh, which bathroom do I use?”

Maybe I should pay closer attention to those drug disclosures!

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