10 Things I Just Don’t Get

I wonder when it officially happens. When do we switch from being normal citizens to those slightly ‘older’ people who despair at the state of the world and those ‘crazy young people’?

I don’t know the answer to that but I do know that I’ve made the transition. Maybe it’s such a subtle thing that I missed the switch. I know that I’ve switched camps because I’m often left confused by stuff that happens around me.

Perhaps you could help me out by answering some of life’s mysteries for me. Here’s a list of things I just don’t get.

1. Why do the vocals on the overwhelming majority of songs these days have to be forced through a vocoder? Has the world really run out of people who can hold a note, or several notes in succession? What has happened to the good, old-fashioned idea of a singer actually being able to sing without the aid of electronics? Cher used one for a few lines in ‘Believe’ and had a massive hit. Back them it was a cute effect. These days no one seems to record without it.

2. Why do some advertisers think that their offer is more convincing if they shout about it? Do they really think that the proof of value in a product is how fast and loud someone can shout about it? “Yes, I think I will go out and buy one of those rugs. I don’t actually need one but the guy on the telly was really yelling.”

3. When did it become standard practice to dispose of small shard of glass across metropolitan roads? Maybe this irks me more than most others seeing as I’m a cyclist. I never see people standing by the side of the road drinking. I’ve never seen a motorist hurl a bottle out of their car. Yet every day there seems to be more and more glass spread across the bitumen. It does not delight me to have to pick tiny pieces of glass out of my tyres. TAKE YOUR BOTTLES HOME AND PUT THEM IN THE BIN, YOU MORON.

4. Reality Television? Who’s reality is that? Who’s day to day reality involves being followed around by a full camera and sound crew while being forced into totally unnatural scenarios? Even if the footage gathered is somehow close to reality, what happens after the producers and editors have had their way with it means that what we see on TV bears very little resemblance to any kind of true reality. I know that it’s relatively cheap to make but don’t expect us to swallow the idea that it’s about normal people going about their normal day to day activities.

5. What’s with those roadwork signs that say, “NO LINES DO NOT OVERTAKE UNLESS SAFE”? Really? Does that mean that if there are lines marked I can overtake when it’s not safe? I’m sorry, but I’m not overtaking if it’s unsafe whether you’ve had a chance to mark the lanes or not. I don’t need a sign to remind me that it’s unsafe to overtake if there are several hundred tonnes of semi-trailer heading in my direction on the other side of the road. I will avoid that semi whether or not there are dashes or lines down the middle of the carriageway.

6. Why do the guys flying aeroplanes give you their full names? Surely a first name would be enough. Are there people who fly far more often than I do playing ‘Captain Bingo’? I’m very pleased that there are men and women who have gone through the necessary training to be able to get those huge machines off the ground (and especially to be able to land them safely) but why do I need your full name? If all goes well I’ll simply walk off the aircraft and go about my business. If it doesn’t go well, I’m unlikely to be in any fit state to quote your full name and rank in any resulting court case.

7. While we’re talking flying, I’m also wondering why common courtesy can tend to go missing when you board an aircraft. I’m not talking about flight crew. I don’t think I’ve ever found a hostess or steward that has been unfriendly. What I’m talking about is fellow passengers who don’t understand that my seat is my space. On my flight out of Perth some time back I was sat next to a woman who didn’t see it as a problem to spill over into my space. Her left arm kept straying right across our common armrest with her elbow sticking into my ribs and parts of her kept oozing under the armrest into my space. Hey, I’m a big person too but I still manage to keep all parts of me inside the confines of the seat that’s been bought in my name.

8. Lady Gaga. Do I need to explain?

9. The endless fascination with the private lives of celebrities. OK, I get that you like their films or their songs or whatever it is that they do, but why do we need to know what they’re doing every second of the day? I’m busy enough keeping up with my own life. I don’t need to know every tiny detail of someone else’s life just because they happen to be blessed with a certain creative talent. Of course there are then those people who are famous for just being famous. That boggles my mind even further so let’s not go there.

10. How the world decides who to place on a pedestal. I guess that if I’m talking about the cult of celebrity I should also scratch my head over the way we decide who to hold up as a hero. Why do we hang off every word that comes from the mouth of an actor, singer, entertainer or athlete and yet ignore those fighting for a more just world? Why do people who simply provide a distraction from our daily lives make millions upon millions of dollars yet doctors who are trying to find cures that will save thousands of people still lobbying for research funds? It all seems upside down to me.

So there you are. Yes, I’m just getting old and grumpy but that doesn’t help me understand certain things that happen in this world. What are the things that you just don’t get? (I promise I won’t think of you as old and grumpy if you leave your own list in the comments section of this post.)

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Great list!

    I would add at least one more:

    11. Apathy toward spelling and punctuation. I don’t fault a person for bad spelling if it’s an honest mistake. Seems anymore as if its a badge of honor. I’m sure texting and tweeting doesn’t help.

  • Rodney you make me laugh and yet I totally agree! We certainly do get intolerant and grumpy as we get older. I used to be very accepting but now find myself mumbling about TV shows, people at the shops, bad drivers, rude people and the list goes on.
    One of my biggest gripes is that if you don’t want to wear the latest fashion you are only left with buying frumpy older peoples clothes, I’m not ready for that yet. I hate going to the shops and having it dictated to me what I can wear. Skinny tight jeans…really… I wore that in my teens I don’t want to wear it again and nor should I! Where are the classy clothes and more so, where is all the choice?
    I realize this may be just a problem with females, so, off I go back to my ‘rocker’ to contemplate what else has gone wrong in the world today!

  • Love this list Rodney and i don’t live in Australia! LOL But as you probably can guess: we have the same old stuff here. I love your tongue-in-cheek approach and humor. Gave me a good chuckle this morning.

  • Great post and oh-so true, too! You should come here and see all the mixed-up-stuff that make me… getting older! … crazy, like the “Back Factory”. Wonder what that is, huh? Backen = baking. A bakery. So much I just took for granted where now I think: “Huh?! Is that necessary?! Am I glad my Dad isn´t around anymore, he´d break down on this”.
    Yeah. We get old(er) – how do your kids see the world? Do they say something like, huh, Daddy, this is NOW?

  • Hehe I loved that post! It made me chuckle because I must definitely be old then, having my own blog series called ‘I Don’t Get It’.

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