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You Should Live So Long

People, places and things we can do without:

Bars that don't have a back mirror. When you're having a drink alone (hi there) it's nice to have a familiar face to stare at, even your own.

Most movies and books advertised as “The heartwarming story of …”

Politicians who think they know what the silent majority is thinking.

Silent majorities.

Married couples who call each other “Mama” and “Daddy.” (Greetings, Dr. Freud.)

“Personalized” letters written by a machine especially when your name is misspelled and it fits badly into the space provided.

Merry morticians who sign off their “personalized” letters with “Eventually Yours.”

Merry morticians.

The host who greets you with “Nice to have you aboard,” walks you to the bar saying, “name your poison, podna,” and beams as you're leaving, “Here's your coat, what's your hurry?”

Hosts who call champagne “shampoo.”

Perhaps the most distasteful of all TV commercials: the chewing gum plug that featured the girl who has “the cleanest mouth in town.” I can understand why her boyfriend might know, but why those gossipy old biddies? Errrggh.

Interviews with Elizabeth Taylor in which she tries to fob herself off as the most courageous woman in the world. (“That's me, Mother Courage in a sable.”)

Guys who wear those deep-sea diver watches with their dinner clothes.

Any recorded announcement by the phone company except the time and the weather. Especially nominated for oblivion: “The number you have re-uched is not in servus at this time. Plee-us…”

People who say, “May I ask you a question?” when they already have.

Or, “I like oysters but oysters don't like me.”

Executives who end an argument with “What do you know about it, mister? Have you met a payroll?” (I never met a payroll I didn't like, especially if I happened to be on it.)

Readers who seem terribly put out because I don't write the way I did 20 years ago. I don't do anything else the way I did 20 years ago either. And I'm terribly put out about it.

Being taken to look at a dam while on vacation.

Ladies who can't resist giggling every time they decline a cigarette or a drink: “None of the minor vices, ha ha ha ha.”

Wives who call their husbands by their last names.

Statements in newspapers attributed to an unidentified “official spokesman.”

“Official spokesmen.”

Automobile ads that read exuberantly, “Over 30 standard features at no extra cost!” That's what “standard” means, isn't it?

Creamed spinach with too much nutmeg.

TV station managers who in their on the air editorials pronounce nuclear “nucular.”

TV station managers' on the air editorials.

People who hang up after letting your phone ring only three times.

Politicians who complain they were quoted “out of context” when the gist of their statement is unchanged. Scares hell out of them to be edited down to the point where somebody might understand what they're struggling to avoid saying.

DJs who forget that their primary function is to identify the tune and the group performing it; after that simple chore, they may be as witty and windy as they please.

Executives who practice their golf swing, their eyes far away on the imaginary flight of the ball, as you're trying to talk to them.

That frog-voiced guy who croaks “Braaaaaavo!” from his grand tier seat at the symphony even when the performance is good.

Critics who write, “I find all this emphasis on sex very boring.” Okay, so that's their hangup.

“Speed checked by radar” signs a mile before you come to a sign that tells you what the speed limit is.

Envelopes bearing the stirring printed announcement: “Place stamp here.” Where else?

Lists of pet hates.

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