I need to get some stuff off my chest.
This may all seem a bit random, but upon closer inspection, I think you’ll agree that it
speaks to the bigger picture of us creating a world we actually want to live in. Not just
live in—but frolic in.
Successfully traversing our days is tricky enough without humans making it more
difficult—by using phrases like “FYI.” At a quick glance, there is nothing harmful about
this acronym; however, if your favorite kind of reading is “reading into everything,” these
three letters pose a problem.
Many people see “FYI” as the subject line of an email and immediately know it’s
a “heads up.” They positively assume it’s an email created to impart valuable
information that will assist with an assignment or situation. But, the avid reader-into-
everything will hear it in her head as “for your inforMATION” (complete with cocky
head swivel) and immediately spiral into self-doubt and loathing. She will morph into
alert guard dog mode, ready to pounce the offender. In her head she is saying, “For
MY information? For YOUR information, CHUMP.” (I don’t even know if we say chump
Instead of reading further and seeing, “FYI—everyone’s getting to dinner at 6:00—let’s
go earlier so you can tell me about your vacation!” … she’s already imagining the sender
bursting into flames.
Simply put, we should banish this acronym. It’s not holding its value. It’s not worth the
trouble and angst.
This brings me to an even bigger issue. Car horns. Why on Earth don’t we have three
horn options in every car? One kind could be what we have now—the horn that bellows
bone-jarring alarm to other drivers. This one would be strictly for safety issues.
Essentially, it would impart this information: “My brakes are broken!” or “Speeding teen
at 3:00!” or “Mattress in the intersection! Mattress in the intersection!” You get the idea.
And since we all know safety is no accident, this horn remains an indispensable part to
People will need to be trained on the different horns in order for us to retrain our
reactions. Since the current universal horn will become the “Look out for that log!” horn,
we’ll need a second that means, “Hey Jackhole, the left lane is for passing, not strolling
at 45 while texting your homies.” In time, it will probably be called the “bird horn,” since
it’s more or less the audible equivalent to flipping the bird to other drivers. Knowing this
from the outset, it should also sound like a bird. Maybe a crow or vulture—just thinking
out loud here. As a quick aside, this one will not be available to teenagers.
On the flip-side to all this anger and danger, I believe we need an additional horn—
one that indicates, “Hey Friend, your tail light’s out” or “Gas cap’s off, Neighbor” and
finally, “Your blinker’s been on for 8 miles, Sweet Cheeks.” This nicer horn would almost
be like you’re tipping your cowboy hat to them in a friendly cowboy way. The sound
would not be jarring or sound like a rabid dog barking at a precious bunny. It would be
more of a tweet or hoot. People would soon learn that getting the tweet-hoot should
never cause outrage. In time, we’d never be galled by this particular horn. In fact, uses
of it might make it into Liberty Mutual’s next commercial, where people are helping
people. I have chills already.
Speaking of cars, there seems to be two kinds of blinker users. One group believes it
gives them the thumbs-up to do absolutely anything they want, simply because they
indicated their intentions with their turn signal. The other faction uses it as a request,
continuing their straight path and never making a move until someone along the way
grants permission. I’d like to live in a society where blinker users fall somewhere in the
middle of these two maddening extremes.
Lastly, I am appalled by people who don’t return their grocery carts. When I witness it in
action—whether it’s someone simply transferring groceries from the basket to their car
and leaving it there, or someone moving it just far enough away from their car to get by
it—I am more affronted than if they took an open hand to the side of my face. Seriously,
the little move where they pretend to be doing their part by popping the two front wheels
up on a curb makes me want to tear my robe. At a minimum, I want to slow-applaud
really high in the air as I walk towards them, marveling at the time and energy saved,
telling them how proud I am to have them as a fellow American—with sarcasm and
disgust dripping from my lips like venom.
By and large, my dirty looks don’t make a difference. I can wind my face up into levels
of dismay fit for looks-of-dismay competitions and get no where. I can shake my head
back and forth in complete revulsion to no avail. But finally, the other day, it worked.
This is where I found success: I left my mouth slightly agape and registered serious,
inquisitive eyes while looking from the lady, to the cart and back—three times total.
Maybe four. We had a moment and she sat her purse down in the driver’s seat and took
the cart to its proper station. Instead of making a solid moment awkward, I simply got
in my car, let my heart swell with good citizenship gladness, and waited until she was
back in hers. I made eye contact and tweet-hooted my polite horn, while tipping my hat
to her, as if to say, “Good day, kind lady, good day.”