Annoying inventions

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2005

My parent’s generosity proved especially valuable this week.

My mom loaned me her car on Sunday so I could leave my car with my Dad. He loves to help me out when it comes to necessities like new tires and oil changes and being the exemplary son that I am, I allow him these simple pleasures.

After unloading some groceries from the somewhat unfamiliar car, I tried to close the trunk.

Unfortunately, something went terribly wrong.

At least it sounded that way. The car horn started blowing and lights began flashing for no apparent reason. Confused by the spectacle and not knowing if I should run for my life, I dropped my bags and began pushing buttons on the key-less entry device like a crazed lunatic. I knew the neighbors would witness this frightening scene if I didn’t do something quickly or if I wasn’t arrested for car theft first, unsure of which was worse.

After pressing each little button multiple times in a completely random order, the violent outburst suddenly stopped. I quickly glanced around to see if anyone was staring and scurried into my house.

Shaken by the experience, I started thinking about my hatred for car alarms and the foolishness of such an invention.

During college, I spent a semester studying abroad in the South American country of Ecuador. While the trip provided unforgettable experiences and countless scenes of breath taking beauty, I will never forget the seemingly endless shrieks of car alarms.

I think everyone who could afford a car in this small Andean nation also had a car alarm. For reasons that remain a mystery to this day, these dreadful alarms went off constantly. The evil cries and spasms of car alarms were so common, everyone just did their best to ignore them. If someone had actually been stealing a car, I doubt anyone one would have even noticed.

As I reflected on this, I began to think of other &uot;modern marvels&uot; invented for the sole purpose of annoying me.

Ring-tones on mobile phones. Most of my friends and several people at the News-Herald have ring-tones and they are all equally distracting.

I know people love their ring-tones and I am a little afraid to mention them, but I will surely lose it if I hear a mobile phone playing the theme song from the A-Team again.

Red-light cameras. Although I have never received a ticket from one of these evil devices, the mere thought of such a creation terrifies me.

Automated answering systems. These beauties never provide the answers I need and taunt me as I hopelessly search for information. The automated phone system I used in college to sign up for classes scars me to this day. If I can only discover a way to survive without credit cards, bank accounts and electronic devices.

Pop-up advertisements on the Internet. I don’t know if these annoying little gems fit in with the other items on the list and they probably deserve a column of their own, but we all know how annoying they are. Spam is bad, but pop-ups chase me around the World Wide Web like the stray cat chases squirrels in my backyard. My goal is to never buy a product from a company that uses pop-ups to advertise.

This list is actually much longer, but I better stop before someone accuses me of being a complainer.

I know many people will argue these silly inventions promote safety or provide some sort of misguided enjoyment to their lives, but they still drive me crazy.