10 Things That Annoy Me (the column)

In my latest monthly column for GateHouse Media I discuss the rationale for starting my new blog “10 Things That Annoy Me.” If you haven’t yet contributed a list, you can do so here. And if this little exercise has made your own list of annoyances, fear not. My vacation will be over soon enough.

10 Things That Annoy Me

In preparation for a little vacation time, I decided to start a new blog. You know, I wouldn’t want to be bored or anything. So on a whim I created a site called “10 Things That Annoy Me.” It’s not that I’m particularly negative – a touch sarcastic perhaps – but certainly not Eeyore-esque. I just thought it would be fun and cathartic to list (some of) the things that annoy me and encourage others to do likewise.

I’ve been surprised by how many people have submitted their lists to me, which I subsequently post on the website 10thingsthatannoyme.wordpress.com. I’ve seen everything from wearing a name tag to air quotes to soggy French fries to ferns. There is no dearth of annoyances and pet peeves lurking in people’s lives, many of which are as unexpected as they are amusing.

Some of my own include the Housewives of New Jersey, Orange County, etc; white zinfandel; prying my kids off the Xbox; stems on blueberries; trick candles; and attempting to fold fitted sheets.

One thing that happens in naming your annoyances is you start to reflect on those things that delight you. This little exercise helps remind us that there is always a need for balance in our daily emotions. When you’ve had it up to your neck with annoyances, it always helps to think about those things that delight you and engage them. For me, this would mean skipping rocks with my boys or sitting in my stadium seat from the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore or drinking a mug of freshly roasted and ground coffee. Making equal time, or at least some time, for the things that delight us is an important spiritual discipline.

Still, I don’t plan to start a website asking people to send me the 10 things that delight them.  Frankly, they’re not nearly as entertaining as the annoyances.

Some might say “Shouldn’t a priest focus on more positive things rather than dwelling on the negative?” To which I would respond, “If it weren’t for the goodness of God’s creation, coupled with the brokenness of humanity, I’d never have anything to say!” And anyway, I’m sure the human side of Jesus could have named at least 10 things that annoyed him during his earthly ministry. Things like walking on cold water or the disciples failure to understand his teachings or the crowds that wouldn’t leave him alone for a few quiet moments of prayer.

So I invite you to participate in and have fun with this interactive project. Just kindly take it in the spirit in which I intend — a humorous look at the foibles of the human condition. If we can’t laugh at ourselves what’s the point?

I’m sure you can name (at least) ten things that annoy you and I’d love to hear about them and put them on the website. The guidelines are simple: e-mail your list of ten things to me at frtim1@gmail.com, include a photo, and a one to two sentence bio. Then take a step back and let the catharsis begin!

New Blog! “10 Things That Annoy Me”

A couple of days ago I started a new blog titled “10 Things That Annoy Me.” It started on whim after I posted 20 things that, well, annoy me. I just thought others should have a forum for similar catharsis. It’s kind of taken off as people from all sorts of places have been sending me lists to post.

I don’t view this as “negative” (as a few people have commented) so much as I see it as a fun way for people to connect and share a laugh. Plus I have some vacation time coming up and needed a good distraction.

How do you post something? It’s easy. First, read the submission guidelines (I get annoyed when people don’t!) and then send your list, photo, and one to two sentence bio to frtim1@gmail.com. You’ll soon be famous as you send it around to all your friends and family (“Look, Mom, I made the internet!”).

Also, if you have a blog, I’ll happily add it to the blogroll when you send me a list. My theory is if you take the time to come up with a creative 10 things list, you must certainly have other things to say.

So check it out and enjoy: http://10thingsthatannoyme.wordpress.com/

PS. It’s a little clergy heavy — lay people please do apply! (and by “apply’ I mean I’ll post the list you send me).

20 Things that Annoy Me

As I had trouble sleeping last night, I thought I would jot down some things that annoy me. Not being able to sleep didn’t make the list only because it produced this cathartic list. Perhaps I’ll start a new blog titled “20 Things that Annoy Me,” update it on a regular basis, sign a lucrative book deal, sell the movie rights, and star in the ensuing blockbuster film. I haven’t decided yet.

Some might say “Shouldn’t a priest focus on more positive things rather than dwelling on the negative?” To which I would respond, “If it weren’t for the goodness of God’s creation, coupled with the brokenness of humanity, I’d never have anything to say.” Wrap your minds around THAT impressive display of theology!

Anyway, in no particular order, here are 20 things that annoy me:

1. Folding fitted sheets

2. The Revised Common Lectionary

3. Post-Cold War Olympics

4. Stems on blueberries

5. The humorless

6. Most blogs

7. Cleaning up ferret poop

8. Prying kids off the XBox

9. Flavored coffee

10. Sloppy liturgy

11. Scott Gunn

12. Brown bananas

13. Shopping malls

14. People that hang out in shopping malls

15. The New York Yankees

16. The Housewives of New Jersey, Orange County, etc.

17. People who wish me Merry Christmas during Advent

18. Yappy dogs

19. Flies in the bedroom

20. My third grade teacher

Believe me, I could go on. But with heroic restraint I have limited myself to 20. Be careful — this might become a regular feature here!