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Further adventures of a cranky old man

November 12th, 2013 by Bob Bly

I know I am a crabby old man who is probably too easily annoyed.

But there are some things people do that irritate me so much I
believe they may tick many other people off too.

For this reason, you may want to avoid committing these sins
yourself, for fear of alienating your customers, business
associates, and friends:

1–Do you constantly brag to others about how busy you are? It
can rapidly become tiresome, irritating, and distasteful.

Barbara Ehrenreich calls this “the cult of busyness”: the
appearance of being busy as a status symbol. I advise you to
avoid it. Get over yourself: You are not really that important.

2–Especially in the world of Internet marketing, the boasting
of how successful one is has reached epic proportions.

It’s nothing new. Decades ago, Joe Karbo in his Lazy Man’s Way
to Riches ads bragged about the cars, boats, and houses he owned
… and showed a picture of his Rolls Royce.

But if another marketing guru tells me about his beachfront
mansion or shows a picture of his new Bentley on Facebook, I may
barf in my Prius. Enough is enough.

3–Boasting of any kind is offensive to me and many others. It is
just not necessary. People brag to make themselves feel
successful as well as superior to the listener. How is that good

4–Stop shoving your latest gadgets in my face to show me how
they work. I really don’t care. If I did, I would buy one.

I do not own an iPhone, iPod, or iPad and have no desire to.
People think I am crazy, but there is a reason for my luddite
behavior: Those devices enable mobility with productivity, but I
am not a mobile worker:

I work in my home office with a desktop PC and landline phone,
and almost never travel. So the gadgets in my case are
unnecessary. And I have no interest in your toys.

I’m also pretty indifferent to your new $2,500 barbecue that
looks like the console from the U.S.S. Enterprise.

5–I wager that none of my readers do this, but just in case: Do
not play your car stereo so loudly that people in other cars can
hear it. You may be proud of your taste in music, but when
driving, keep it inside the vehicle at all times.

6–On Facebook and other social networks, feel free to share
interests and content. But don’t make your posts thinly
disguised sales pitches for your products or services. It is
unseemly and violates social media etiquette as I understand it
to be.

7–Another pet peeve: people who treat their personal opinion as
fact. That the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second is a
fact. That you think the U.S. should take action against the
Syrian government is your opinion. Learn to recognize the

8–Nitpicking is by and large an annoying habit. Let the little
things go. Example: pointing out typos wherever you find them.

Note: I admit that opinions vary on this point. Some say God is
in the details. Others say not to sweat the small stuff.

9–Correcting people does not endear you to them. My #1 rule in
life is: do not give unsolicited advice. People think free
advice is worth exactly what they paid for it: nothing.

10–Be less argumentative. Contentious people are not fun to be
around. Be more easygoing. If you are chomping at the bit to
prove yourself right and others wrong, ask yourself: why?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 11:29 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

48 responses about “Further adventures of a cranky old man”

  1. Curtis W. White said:

    Loved your books, Bob. Just started my own small copywriting business in Northern Ireland. No Rolls Royce for me. Or beachfront mansions. But thanks to your books, and a few other trusty tomes, I’m now doing something I enjoy. Take care, Curtis.

  2. Susanna Hutcheson said:

    Great post, Bob. As a very cranky old woman, I share your hatred for these phony, narcissistic, self-centered and self-obsessed folks who are so terribly full of themselves. Most live in mom’s basement or mom bought the house and car for them.

    The bragging about being busy is a big one with me too. I personally work smart, not hard, not long. Being busy shows you can’t manage your time and you’re a slave to your gadgets and appointment book.

    A smart person has no need to be busy all the time. I think it was Gene Schwartz who wrote a famous ad in a few minutes but made the client wait two weeks to see it so the client would think he’d really worked hard and spent hours and days on the ad.

    That’s about the way it is with me. So if you hear me say I’m busy, don’t you believe it. If you know what you’re doing, you don’t have to be busy all the time nor do you have to pretend to be busy. It’s not a status symbol. It’s a stupidity symbol.

  3. Nansye said:

    These are great blogs; i just discovered you through Mark Ford and i’m only sorry he didn’t mention you sooner. Thanks for sharing so much inteligence & chuckles! 🙂

  4. Sickle said:


    Being a old cranky man myself I’ve learned to ask people his 1 question when they get all worked up about nothing,

    “Does this add to or take away from your life?”

    When the individual says no then I tell them then I don’t need to know about.

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