Announcing the Pandemic’s Most Annoying Person

Announcing the Pandemic’s Most Annoying Person

Meet the world’s MOST ANNOYING PERSON, Brad Buttons. While you were spending the past year in COVID lockdown sitting on the couch, eating ice cream, and binge-watching Emily in Paris, Brad was being productive – annoyingly so.

Meet the world’s MOST ANNOYING PERSON, Brad Buttons. While you were spending the past year in COVID lockdown sitting on the couch, eating ice cream, and binge-watching Emily in Paris, Brad was being productive – annoyingly so.

(Atlanta) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that in a unanimous vote, they have awarded the title of “Pandemic’s Most Annoying Person” to a uniquely deserving individual: Brad Buttons of Kenosha, Wisconsin. This is the first – and the CDC hopes last – time this honor will ever be bestowed.

When asked why Brad was selected to be this year’s recipient, a CDC spokesperson explained, “Frankly, we really had no choice. The more we learned about this exasperating fellow, the more obvious our decision became.”  When pressed for details, the spokesperson went on, “Ever since the pandemic was announced in March 2020, and people were asked to socially distance and wear masks, Mr. Buttons has stayed home, in his one-bedroom apartment, and maintained a rigid self-imposed quarantine.”

Asking why this qualified him to be selected as the pandemic’s “Most Annoying Person”, the spokesperson added, “Well, it’s just that he’s always taking on an endless number of projects to learn new things and make the world a better place. He’s like a machine. To be honest, if you spend even just a few minutes around him, it’s impossible not to become irritated. We’re only human.”

In issuing its 15-page press release explaining its decision, the CDC listed dozens of feats Brad has achieved in the past year to alienate normal people. For starters, during the pandemic, Brad has read the entirety of Wikipedia, learned three foreign languages (plus Klingon), and written two science fiction novels. “Who does that?”, the spokesman asked, clearly perturbed.

When reached for comment, Brad was putting the finishing touches on his handmade full-scale replica of Michelangelo’s David, using nothing but seashells he found on the shores of Lake Michigan. “I’m thrilled about this prestigious recognition by the CDC, but I really don’t feel deserving,” Brad humbly responded. He then returned to his garage to resume work  building an authentic 1967 Austin Healey 3000 SL which he learned to assemble just by watching YouTube instructional videos. “I didn’t have most of the tools I needed, so I scrounged up some scrap metal and built a blast furnace. Check out this lathe I made.” 

When asked how he has had time to do all of these things, Brad replied, “It helps that I have no friends. When the pandemic hit, I decided to read the ancient Hindu holy text, the Rigveda – in the original ancient Sanskrit. I thought it would be more of a challenge that way.” A tour of Brad’s apartment revealed an extensive collection of Star Wars action figures, as well as what looked to be replicas of famous artwork.

When asked where he purchased his reproductions of paintings by the masters, including Da Vinci, Monet and Van Gogh, Brad explained, “Oh, no, I didn’t buy them. I painted them. I learned by watching old Bob Ross videos. I have to say, getting down Da Vinci’s Sfumato painting technique for softening the transition between colors took me a few tries to master.”

In the past year, while most people have hunkered down on the couch in their pajamas, eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream by the carton, Brad has been keeping busy. Disturbingly busy. Brad penned an Italian opera (because doing it in English was not enough of a challenge, he said). He also invented a machine that turns urine into potable drinking water.

In his spare time, Brad built replicas of WW 2 German fighter planes, like this Messerschmitt Bf 109. But Brad felt prouder about the incredibly detailed one-tenth scale replica of the Titanic he built using used lawnmower parts. It’s currently on loan to the Smithsonian – because he can’t fit it in his apartment.

In his spare time, Brad built replicas of WW 2 German fighter planes, like this Messerschmitt Bf 109. But Brad felt prouder about the incredibly detailed one-tenth scale replica of the Titanic he built using used lawnmower parts. It’s currently on loan to the Smithsonian – because he can’t fit it in his apartment.

Prior to the pandemic, Brad’s diet consisted mostly of drive-through fast foods. But in the past year, he’s dropped 230 pounds (he’s now a lean 155 pounds with six-pack abs). He’s even self-published his own cookbook, The Pandemic Chef, and has put out a series of 25 one-hour home fitness videos based on an exercise program he created in his spare time.

In the CDC press release citing Brad’s exhausting list of discoveries, publications, and inventions, it accidentally failed to mention that he also patented a fuel converter contraption that converts water into a non-polluting fuel able to power any car, plane, or deep space probe. “Actually, all you need is urine. Want me to show you how I do it?” Brad added.

The release went on: “Taken together, it is almost unfathomable that any single individual could accomplish all of this and still find time to find a cure for cancer, but this man did it. That’s why the CDC unanimously concluded that Mr. Buttons is far and away the most annoying person we’ve encountered since the pandemic began.”

The CDC’s decision was applauded by millions of Americans – and Brad’s own immediate family, who have unfriended him on Facebook because they are sick of reading about his achievements. 

The overall sentiment of most Americans who remain trapped in their homes binge-watching Netflix crime documentaries and past seasons of Schitt’s Creek was perhaps best summed up by David Wilkinson, a bartender from Brooklyn, who protested, “Dude, just stop!. You’re making the rest of us look bad. Here’s an idea: How about you invent a spaceship and become the first person ever to fly solo to Mars. Then plant a flag and NEVER COME BACK!” 

Upon hearing that he’d won the award, Brad was said to be so excited he began an awkward victory dance. (Dancing is one activity Brad failed to learn – badly.) In the process, he tripped over his just-finished replica of an 18th century tall-masted ship in a bottle, fell, and broke his ankle and the ship in a bottle. Not salvageable.

Due to his unfortunate injury, it appears Brad will be laid up, unable to work on any more projects, for at least three months. Millions of Americans greeted this news with celebratory dances of their own.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

Annoying People

Annoying People

There are some people who just annoy the hell out of me. Like the guy sitting next to me who felt a need to yammer on about the best way to rid your backyard of moles for the entire six-hour flight to Chicago.

There are some people who just annoy the hell out of me. Like the guy sitting next to me who felt a need to yammer on about the best way to rid your backyard of moles for the entire six-hour flight to Chicago.

I consider myself relatively easy-going. It takes a lot to tick me off. And “hate?” Well, that’s just not a word in my vocabulary – unless used in the context of “I hate broccoli”, in which case, “hate” doesn’t begin to cover it. I honestly can’t think of anybody I hate (with the exception of my first-year college roommate, Lenny).

Life is just too short to go around hating others. But it’s not too short to point out those who annoy the hell out of me. I’ve plenty of time for that. Here’s a small sampling of people who really get under my skin…

Folks who walk through the door I’m holding for them without saying thank you. Seriously, dude, is it too difficult to utter two words?

People who send their annual Christmas card with no handwritten message – just a photo of three kids I’ve never met (how do I know they are even theirs?!), dressed in matching red sweaters, with a generic “Seasons Greetings from the Millers” embossed in Helvetica font. Could you possibly have put in any less effort to personalize your card?

My wife – but only when she asks, “What inning is it?” while I’m watching football. I swear, she will never figure out sports.

Neighbors obsessed with attaining the perfect lawn. I call them Lawn Nazis. Their grass is as smooth as a putting green, not a single weed or yellow patch in sight. Meanwhile, my yard features mole holes, a large convention of toadstools, and drooping flowers that gave up blooming back when Tiptoe Through the Tulips was popular. Now that I think of it, that song was really annoying, too.

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If I Ruled the World

If I Ruled the World

If I ruled the world - misspelled namesThe world is falling apart. People are oblivious to the needs of others. It seems nobody ever holds the door open for the next person anymore. We’re all in a rush. We blame others for our problems. Politicians talk about building 50-foot walls to keep out Mexicans. North Korea is launching missiles at South Korea. And my Mariners are on another five-game losing streak. What has this world come to?

If I’m ever given the chance to rule the world, things will be different. Way different. I’d implement long-overdue legislation that will make life way better for everyone (well, at least the people I like). When I rule the world…

  • I’ll declare Cookie Dough ice cream the official junk food of the United States – and I will use my presidential authority to veto any attempt by Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment changing it to Pistachio.
  • People will get ticketed for being obnoxiously rude. Failure to hold the door open for the person behind you will be subject to a $25 fine. Talk on your cell phone in a movie theater? That’ll be a mandatory 10-day jail sentence – with no cell phone privileges.
  • People who nab my parking space, even though they could clearly see I was there first, waiting for the other car to leave, will lose all driving privileges for a year. Enjoy taking the bus, dude.
  • I will ban Twitter. It’s been ten years now, and I still don’t get the appeal. #banTwitter.
  • If my computer becomes infected with malware simply because I clicked on a Facebook link that reads “25 celebrities who have aged badly”, the perpetrator of that malware will be sentenced to six months in jail – and their job 16 hours a day will be to remove malware and viruses on laptops worldwide.

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