Things That Annoy Me

  • There is a couple of Dr. Pepper billboards that I see on my way to work. Basically, they show the torso of a man wearing a generic Dr. Pepper-colored tee-shirt and holding a can of Dr. Pepper. Over the tee-shirt they wrote (in a completely different font), “I’m a Bears fan” and then put a little Bears logo in the corner. Who do you think you’re fooling? Aside from the fact that Dr. Pepper thinks I’m dumb enough to go, “Oh, they say they’re connected to the sports team I like, I guess I’ll start buying that now!” the very nature of the generic, slap-dash, non-specific billboard only serves to highlight the fact that Dr. Pepper is a ruthless, bloodsucking corporation who cares not a whit about me and my fan loyalties. This is practically the photo negative of the feeling they’re trying to engender. At least spend the time, jeez.
  • Honking. No joke, someone honks at me every single day driving around Chicago. Usually it’s when I’m waiting to turn on green and someone behind me honks to encourage me to go. I cannot stress how rude this is. Usually when they honk I can’t actually go. It’s one thing if I’m not paying attention or something and you draw my attention to the road. But if I’m obviously paying attention (I’m creeping my car forward), then you are saying, “I know you don’t want to go, but I’m smarter than you and I know better than you do.” For example, the other day there was a long line of people who got off the train crossing the street, and someone several cars back started honking. From where they were, they probably couldn’t see the people crossing the street, so they didn’t know that if I went I’d be plowing through a solid wall of bodies. And that is precisely my point: from four cars back you have no idea what is going on up by me and why I’m not going. So now you’re actually enticing me to commit a crime, possibly murder. Let’s all settle down a little bit, shall we?
  • Speaking of honking, I can’t stand people honking to get someone to come out to the car. In this day and age, when everybody has a cell phone, there’s really just no excuse for this. The 50 condos worth of people on our street would appreciate it if you would give your party a call and keep it between the two of you, instead of including us. And if they don’t come out after the 10th honk, your honks are obviously not hurrying them. I think we can say pretty conclusively that they know you’re out there. (I certainly know you’re out there, and I’m not even expecting you.) Maybe, just maybe, they’ve got something going on that’s more important than you. You’re going to feel pretty dumb when you find out they were lying there dying, but you couldn’t bother to get out of your car. Or maybe your honking is causing them to go slower just to spite you. That’s what I’d do if I knew anybody rude enough to do this to me.
  • The weather report. I used to never check the weather, but now that I check it every day, I know less about the weather. Seriously, I gain more information by just peeking out the window. The official report always puts at least 10% chance of rain, just to hedge their bets. 100% chance of rain? How can you ever be 100% sure of anything, especially given your record weather reporting website? Well, guess what? IT DIDN’T RAIN. So thanks for nothing.
  • Those super loud “vortex” hand dryers. Yeah, maybe my hands might be one molecule more dry than with the old fashioned hand dryers, but guess what? I value my hearing more than semi-dry hands.

Dr. Pepper 10 has me confused

I heard a commercial on the radio the other day for Dr. Pepper 10. This is a new product from Dr. Pepper that’s not exactly diet (0 calories) and not exactly regular (7,000,000 calories). The ad campaign has sparked some controversy, since it caters exclusively to “manly men”. The commercial I heard basically lists all the most manly things, and implies that Dr. Pepper 10 should be added to that list.

This really surprised me. Here they are using super manly He-men to try to sell diet soda to a group that traditionally considers diet soda outside of their domain. It’s certainly a good thing that men, who are traditionally allowed to be as fat as they can while simultaneously putting pressure on women to watch their weight, are now starting to realize that weight is something they need to pay attention to and be responsible for. On the other hand, the whole commercial is dripping with stereotypes and starts by saying how Dr. Pepper 10 is “not for women”. How do you manage to be both extremely sexist and gender-barrier-breaking at the same time? Or maybe they really are only being extremely sexist, because they’re really overcompensating a little bit there, aren’t they? “We know that diet drinks are inherently girly, but maybe if we surround them with pure manliness, we can trick someone into drinking it without realizing the 10 calories are from the added estrogen.”

Not only did they manage to offend women with the ad campaign, but they also managed to offend me. As a male who loves Dr. Pepper, I expected to be firmly in their wheelhouse. I began to be dismayed a little bit as every “manly” thing didn’t apply to me. Am I not man enough for Dr. Pepper? Does this mean I can’t like it anymore? (well, technically I like Diet Dr. Pepper, so maybe I was already in the “woman category” anyway)

Luckily, the last item on the list was, “If you have ever blogged about bacon…” Whew! Qualified at the last minute. I feel like they threw that one in just to include me. They might as well have added, “If you have ever answered to the name Shane Halbach…”

Anyway, here’s another ad from the same campaign. You can decide for yourself what it means: