I’m going to try to avoid the usual suspects here of vaguebookers and homophobes, bigots and “I’m no (euphemism for arsehole), but…” spouters. Instead, here are some really quite specific annoyances.
*Please note, I did say ‘try’.*
Spitefully inaccurate headlines of the medical variety
You’ll have seen this kind of headline.
“Woman defies doctors to have miracle baby”
“Man defies doctors to survive terminal cancer”
“Boy defies doctors to walk again”
Headline writers and journalists casting doctors as nasty bastards who’re hoping, no, rooting for their patients to lead miserable lives then die, preferably horribly. It’s bollocks, of course. Doctors like that, the Harold Shipmans of the world, are few and far between. The people whose stories are highlighted in this kind of piece have usually been given advice on the usual course of their illness, the statistics relevant to their situation, and the common events other patients with a similar diagnosis have encountered. Do the women who have these miracle babies, the people who recover from supposedly terminal cancer or at least outlast their initially predicted death-date, or the kids who walk/talk/swim/sing unaided against the odds and their doctors’ reasonable expectations honestly think the healthcare professionals involved in their cases are trying to keep them down? That they’re spitting feathers at the news that their patient has had a baby or any kind of happy event, screwing the paper or primary-coloured-magazine into a ball and shouting obscenities at the poor sod who has had the fucking audacity to defy their order to remain barren or wheelchair-bound or die? Really?
If that’s what anyone thinks of their doctor, my advice would be to do one, pronto.
Or, as I think of them, dogbite buggies.
Not that I’ve ever seen a kid get bitten, in one of these awful buggies or anywhere else (thank goodness). But I reckon they’re an accident waiting to happen, one hungry puppy away from a newspaper campaign and tasteless jokes by shock jocks and scumedians.
I can see the attraction for parents and caregivers. A buggy that carries two kids, baby and toddler (or toddler and toddler), but with the width of just one grownup. Easier for public transport, doorways, and ramming your way through crowds, and – another huge annoyance – tipping the buggy onto an escalator so as to risk the kids’ wellbeing instead of waiting for the lift. Easier for parking in Starbucks between tiny tables while parents pretend things are almost the same as before, if not better (mm-hmm).
But the basic design of having one kid stacked above the other with the lower child just skimming over sweetcorn-speckled turds and glowing fag ends, its view of the world restricted by its sibling’s probably fragrant arse, makes me worry about it being at bite-height. Especially if it’s waggling toys or nibbling fistfuls of food.
I fully expect comments from people who have this kind of buggy and have never had a single problem, to which I say Good! I’m glad to hear it! But my loathing of this model remains.
The ‘only a joke’ ‘luv ya realy hun, u no dat, aw now i feel bad, soz’ fb posters
People who say THE most horrific or annoying or passive-aggressive things to people online BUT because they end with ‘xxxxx’ or the more individual ‘xoxoxo’ or my least favourite ‘lol’ (or for emphasis ‘LOL’) seem to think any anger or resentment will be cancelled out. My arse it is. Lol xx
Dolphins give me the fucking creeps.
This confession may mean I’m forced to check my ovaries in at reception next time I go for any kind of woman-medicine, what with dolphins being some kind of totem animal for all bearers of wombs, but fuck it. They really, seriously, give me the fucking creeps.
Now, I should probably state for the record that I’m an animal lover who minces round ants on pavements and messes about with paper and woodlice in an effort to get the mini-armadillos out my house at night, and I’m in no way advocating the death of dolphins or the banning of them from TVs, films, and tattoo flash. But I do think instead of the assumption that I will love them because a) I have breasts, and B) they are smiley, friendly, shark-crushers with huge IQs and a decent line in acrobatics, people should catch a fucking grip.
These newly designated non-human persons can crush a fucking shark! How is that not creepy? Instead of rock-paper-scissors they play cartilage-bone-FUUUUUU! Don’t get me wrong – if I’m about to be eaten by a shark and a dolphin just happens to ram it with a bony snout then manoeuvre me to shore I’m not going to say “Hell no!” and swim off to a toothsome death. But equally, what is this odd love affair we as a species seem to have with something that smiles yet has no eyebrows and chitters like we’re the joke? Why not narwhals, the unicorns of the sea? (Not that I get the whole unicorn thing, either.) Or cuttlefish? Have you seen a baby cuttlefish? They’re fucking adorable!
I wouldn’t mind one of them for Christmas.
Gill Hoffs lives with her family and Coraline Cat in a horribly messy house in Warrington. Find her on facebook or as @gillhoffs on twitter, email her a dirty joke at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a clean comment at http://gillhoffs.wordpress.com/ ‘Wild: a collection’, her word-mixture of sea creatures, regret, and murder, is out now from Pure Slush. Get it here.
Gill’s often-sad sometimes-grisly nonfiction book about the Victorian Titanic will be published in January 2014 by Pen & Sword. Feel free to send her chocolate.