What Irks Me


Wanna know what irks me? What gets in my psyche and stays there? What shifts my focus to it and it alone and then teeters on becoming annoyingly, blindingly “obsessive”???

To you, the gist of my ire might be considered petty or ridiculous. I might even be construed as shallow after you read this.

Well, I’ll risk it kids, because these are FOUR things that rrreeeeeaaaallllyyyy bother me.

1. White or black heads. If you have a visible black head or white head, especially one that’s in a prominent position on the face, please, don’t leave your house. Women have a natural tendency to want to pick, pluck, cast off these nasty things. And since I am a dame, whenever I’m face-to-zit, I find it very hard to concentrate on anything that’s being said. I can only see that….that nasty clogged pore and the desire to make what offends my eye, go far, far away is very strong.

IT MUST BE REMOVED and removal is a matter of black……or white.

2. People who order literally from the menu. Say for example, we’re in line at Wendy’s. The guy in front of you steps up to the counter and tells acne riddled Ricky, the 17-year-old Assistant Night Manager that he wants–in no uncertain terms– a “Wendy’s Hot and Juicy with with cheese and throw in a side Wendy’s crisp and tasty French Fries, cooked to a golden brown”.


I also knew a guy who once ordered, “Mom’s Old Fashioned Pot Roast with Generous Slices of Beef with Tender Garden Vegetables in a Rich, Savory Brown Gravy”. Yes, he actually ordered his entre that way. It was as grating as fingernails on a chalkboard or Fran Drescher’s voice at 3 am. Save yourself the embarrassment and order by number or generically and please….please never, ever order “a cola”….especially in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, part of the Carolinas, most of the Virginias and all of Florida, save for Boca Raton.

3. Large facial moles. I’ve got a few moles myself, but none on my face. And you shouldn’t either. Sorry, if that offends, but I’m being honest. If you’ve a mole on your face that’s so large that even Richard Thomas and Aaron Neville are shaking their heads in disbelief, GO TO A DERMATOLOGIST… NOW! Nothing…I repeat…nothing protruding from your skin should be large enough to accommodate a Bunny Trail on one of it’s “slopes”.

4. Juicy Lisperers. I know lisping is a real problem. I feel sorry for those with a lisp–I suffered through a few years of it as a child. Many people have had the problem…many still do. In fact, lisping has hampered some of the biggest, roughest toughest “He-Men” around.

If you’re an adult and you lisp, you have my sympathy, but saliva control is a must. I speak from experience.

Allow me:

Karnes City, Texas

September 1969.

My hometown always hosted an annual three day fair. The entire community shut down and as a whole, really got into the celebration that was “Town and Country Days”. Part of the reverie included a traveling carnival replete with a delightful personnel roster comprised of staffers that were–I swear to God–extracted from the seediest underbelly of Hell. In other words, if Hell had a bad neighborhood, these people would not only be residents, they’d also head up the Homeowners Association.

Anyway, a friend and I had a blast riding the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Whirl-A-Rock and the Rock and Jerk and the Jerk and Spew. Then after the fun of neon lit centrifuges for humans wore thin, we decided to play a few games, like the milk bottle toss game. That’s when we saw her: The Lisping Carnival Barker.

She was short, fat..completely oafish. Ugly matted hair was held in place by ancient bobby pins and even older applications of Aqua Net. She was Mephistopheles with a change apron; hairy armpits and what looked like Milk Duds under her fingernails. She was also a mouth breather… her lips never touched each other; and probably refused to out of protest.

Her teeth…all four of them…looked like an odd melding of molten bean dip and sinus infection. It was a gross homage to the otherwise beautiful browns and golden ochres of fall foliage. To make matters worse, a greenish froth appeared in the corners of her mouth when she spoke. It was caking before my eyes.

She was instructing me on the rules of the game when IT happened: she uttered the word “toss” and when she did, all those “s’s” projected a lob of contagion—a salivary salvo, which landed on my bottom lip. It was as if I’d been attacked.

The weaponry?

Dreaded carnie germs!!!

I ran from the milk bottle toss game and away from the carnival grounds in a panic. I defined the silent scream that day. In fact, Idistinctly remember weeping at one point.

I arrived home, having run/walked the entire way with two fingers grasping my lip in an attempt to immobilize it. In a fit of desperation, I actually dabbed Windex on the spot where the vile carnival slobber landed.

I was OK…no worse for the wear, but something happened in the brief time that nasty saliva–rife with the essence of cotton candy, inbreeding and juvie hall— sat on my lip. I believe my system absorbed just enough to render me…..PART CARNIE!!!!

Nothing else can explain why I have had this ridiculous, inexplicable urge to eat Funnel Cake all the time or why I have this need to hire ex-cons or how I now measure the height of all prospective lovers with one of these infamous carnival ride signs:



  1. I have to agree with #2. I’d rather hear somebody just say a number and some extras rather than describe the whole thing.

  2. Ahh — T & C Days. Remember when they used to drop Guinea hens from an airplane and if you found one you would get some kind of prize?

  3. Karol: I hated to miss it. I really wanted to be there, but we were moving our offices this weekend and I couldn’t get away. Let me know how it was. Send me an email if it would be easier.

  4. Yes BB and they also dropped paper plates (to resemble a Town and Ciuntry Days Flying Saucer attack–as if ANY self respecting alien would want to land in Karnes City….unless of course, he was jonesin’ for a little Smolik’s BBQ.) which had free food offers stamped on the plates. You found one that was specially marked, you got a chili dog and a small Sprite courtesy of The Young Progressive’s Pavillion,

    Ah yes…the “Pavilion”…the ladies of Karnes City’s erstwhile Junior League learned all about that big foreign sounding word while watching San Antonio news reports about the planning and construction of Hemisfair.

    The Pavilion that the Young Progressive’s had was a tent given to them from Rhodes’ Funeral Home, which was owned by my aunt and uncle.

    Remember when everything was held in the Junior high football field. ANd remember on Satyurday morning, EVERYBODY went down early to secure a good seat for the Town and Country Days parade.

    I was a “prade marshall” for that epic affair in the late 80’s….jsut as T&C Days was experiencing its’ last death rattle. I think they pulled the plug on it the next year.

  5. Yes, and remember the Crazy Red Horse saloon? The carni workers were classic, though. It must have been the worst of the worst of carnivals to be on that circuit.

  6. Most of the carnies were ex cons. Pretty scary.

    I remember having to get up early, suit up and report to the band hall to march in the Saturday morning parade. The climate down there for the September festivities was hot, sticky and humid and being in a hot, heavy materialed band uniform was pure hell.

    Ah, such fond memories.

  7. I concur in spades when it comes to facial moles. Very distracting and frankly, disgusting. I think that’s why I could never really focus on what John Boy was saying, I was always fixated on that gross mole, wondering why, if he didn’t have the balls to have it lasered off, he didn’t just spackle over it with pancake make-up. Superficial of me, but in my days as a single woman, if I met a man who was otherwise perfect but had what my family refers to as a John Boy, that would have been a deal breaker for me.

  8. You are so cool to be able to say all the stuff I crave to write about. Too many family members are reading my blog….Take them off….Take them ALL off

  9. As a boy my parents insisted on me watching ‘The Waltons’ because they thought its was so ‘wholesome’ and therefore ‘good for me’. It wasn’t! I just couldn’t cope with seeing such a good looking man so disfigured.
    Then would you believe it we were shown ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ as part of a school WW1 history project. To my utter dismay the hero, Paul Baumer was played by non other than Richard ‘John Boy’ Thomas, a fantastic performance I admit but huge that mole was so brutally emphasised as to drive me to distraction! Really I guess we should admire the guy for being so lacking in personal vanity.

  10. It is odd that my days as a kid back in Karnes City seemed almost like I was stuck in time, nothing ever changed and really to this day it has not still that much. But with all the memories I have of that town being so boring I still look farword to going back to see a old friend, there is something about that small town that pulls you back.

    Some of my best memories are of Town & Country Days that seemed to get worse and worse over the years, I can still remember sneaking in over the fence by the Post Office to get in. All the best rides that seemed to slowly get weeded out and were never to be heard of again. The games of popping balloons, tossing a ball at bottles to win prises, or the people that had little shops that you could buy things from or have them make a wood carved sign made & airbrushed painted for a few bucks. I was never really into the parade but I always looked farword to the rides and games.

    I was sad to hear that they do not have it anymore, but I really did expect it I guess after it was basically nothing more than an excuse for the drunks to come out and cause problems there and mess it up for everybody, and really it was more about how much they could charge than to bring the people together and just have some good old time fun. But I do have my memories of those days and I have very happy that I could be a part of it when it was worth going to. Maybe someday they will bring it back and make it like it used to be, would be love to take my son to something that used to bring me so much pleasure.

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