This was the first year that we invited you, the brilliant folks who make the Weekly
a regular part of your life, to participate in our Rant Issue. We weren't quite sure what to expect.
We learned right a way that there are a lot of things out there getting on your nerves. A LOT of things.
Due to space constraints, we're only able to run a fraction of the reader-rant submissions. We decided not to run the rants focusing on one person's bad experiences at one specific business (take those to your lawyer, the Better Business Bureau or small-claims court), and we held off on publishing any of the myriad traffic-related rants, because, well, we all already understand perfectly that other drivers (besides you, of course) completely suck.
After all that, we picked the most interesting of the remaining rants that we had space for--and here they are.
If your rant didn't make the cut--thank you for writing it, in any case. And for the people who had a rant but didn't get around to submitting it ... there's always next year.
Bank Tellers, Pushy
Why is it that bank tellers can never just process the transaction you hand them without trying to sell you something else? I am well aware of the existence of direct deposit, online banking, retirement accounts and all the other stuff they try to foist on me. If I wanted it, I would ask for it. If I don't have it, I don't want to hear about it
! When I complain, they say, "We only mention it for your benefit."
Yeah, right. Here's a tip: It's not benefiting me; it's annoying the crap out of me. Stop it already!
Beggars at Bus Stops
At the Ronstadt Transit Center and other bus stops in town, someone is almost always asking for spare change or a cigarette. When they ask for spare change, I know what they want it for--to buy tobacco, alcohol or, more often, drugs. I can barely support my own habits, so I can't afford to support someone else's habits.
Nothing irks me more than the recent rash of bond elections. Have a special-interest group that needs cash quick? Have a bond election!
Here's the idea: Some special-interest group in town wants to pilfer taxpayer funds for one of their pet projects. Bonds can be, and have been, used for just about anything. The group then spreads two lies: 1) We're going to save Tucson by (fill in the blank), and 2) This bond will not raise your taxes. The election is then set for the third Tuesday in May (or some other random date), guaranteeing an 8 percent voter turnout, 75 percent of which is comprised of said special-interest group.
Of course, anyone with an IQ high enough not to believe in the bond fairy realizes that while it may be technically true that our taxes will not be raised, they will be extended far enough into the future that our children will be forced to repay most bonds. If you want to do something "for the children," vote down all bond packages--and then vote the politicians who support them out of office. If they need money, let them get it honestly, through voluntary donations.
Has anyone questioned the amount of money spent on the Census? I got letters in advance of the Census telling me it was coming. Then I got a letter after I'd filled out the form to ask if I'd done it. Then I got three follow-up phone calls to ensure "quality control" on how I filled the damn form out.
Dipshits, University Boulevard-Style
This goes out to the dipshits who tailgate people all the way down University "Back-In Parking Only" Boulevard. Here's a little hint: If I'm stopped, with my turn signal flashing, my reverse lights on and an empty parking space just off the corner of my bumper, do not pull right up on my ass and sit there acting dumbfounded and pissed off when I wave you around. I'm not likely to move, no matter how many times you honk your horn and flash your brights at me. Use your brain and get the fuck out of the way. I don't want to have to get out of my truck and slap your stupid ass.
Thanks. I feel better now.
Food Service, Awful
Over the past few years, I have noticed a disturbing plague. Apparently, restaurants are no longer preaching the tried-and-true theory of customer service. The terms "fast" and "friendly" have long been extinct in the food industry.
Every time I go out to eat, it is a two-hour experience. I do have a life to get back to at some point. Not only is the service slow; it is often unfriendly. Servers today seem to spend the majority of their day doing everything but serving. It really warms my heart when my server stops refilling the ketchup bottles long enough to notice the "desperate for attention" look in my eyes.
By the end of my meal, I am filled with an "I'll show them" attitude. I fantasize about teaching these shitty servers a lesson by leaving them a real tip--a note that exclaims "Get a f*cking clue." Then, of course, I always end up kicking myself as I walk away after leaving 20 percent on the table.
Here are a few tips for our beloved servers
- Don't walk away from me. I see you looking at me.
- My cup isn't going to refill itself. Yes, I need a beverage to wash down these dry, stale french fries.
- Although you might enjoy eating hand-to-mouth ... could you give a gal a set of silverware?
- Please, sir, I'd like a napkin.
- If my food is sitting on the edge of the table in boxes, it is a good indication that we're ready to pay.
Sara M. Giza
Am I the only one who hates the sodium headlights on all these newly arrived BMWs to our town? I thought they were illegal. Suddenly, they are on every road. I guess that just proves how many Californians have moved here. If these newcomers want to fit into our more pacific way of life they should get their head lamps changed.
Help, The Freedom to
As an American citizen, I am not required to question the citizenship of another person I see walking through the desert. As long as that person is walking within U.S. borders, I am free to give him a ride in my vehicle. I do not need the Border Patrol's permission to give anyone a ride. If that person needs medical attention, I do not need to notify the Border Patrol.
The prosecution of the two Americans who assisted ailing people found in the desert is absurd. If there had been a dying 6-year-old child, would there still be a criminal case? Would the U.S. government still have the guts to prosecute?
The argument that the water stations placed in the desert promote more illegal border crossers is pure nonsense. Long before the water stations were placed in the desert, the number of illegals crossing the border rose annually. I have the right to give a dying man in the desert a cup of water.
Pope, the Naming of
It is very well known that the late Pope John Paul II worked hard to bring the Catholic and Jewish faiths closer together. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected, he chose not to enhance this endeavor by adopting the rather run-of the mill name Benedict XVI instead of Shekky I--to Germanize it, Shecki I. The spelling would have been discretionary.
Such an oversight is sad. An exquisite chance was lost--perhaps forever.
Tests, Standardized and Mandatory
I'm compelled to rant about the ill-conceived No Child Left Behind Act. Kindergartners don't need standardized tests four or more times a year, and they certainly shouldn't spend three afternoons a week learning test skills.
One of the stupidest exercises asks kids to sound out nonsense syllables. (Why is this a stupid exercise? Beecaws inglish izint uh fohnetik langwij.) Students performing below grade level don't get the necessary enrichment to catch up. Students performing above grade level learn that school is boring and repetitive. Average students learn useless skills. And great teachers are leaving the profession in droves.
In his State of the Union address, Dubya bragged about a national increase in test scores. Naturally, if you teach test-taking, kids will learn to take tests. If you teach reading and writing, kids will learn to read and write. The way to improve public education is to hire more teachers, reduce class sizes and provide more resources. But you can't expect much from a government that celebrates spending billions a year on achievement tests and calls it education, while justifying a $100 billion for warmongering, which they call "nation building."
My rant regards the youth of America. Thomas Jefferson said that once the government stops working for the people, the people need to overthrow the government. My feeling is that my generation and the generation behind me are too lazy to put any effort into demonstrations or don't feel like the government affects them. These generations are spoiled and have had everything given to them, so they can't look past themselves to see the bigger picture.