Learning to enjoy life’s real agitations

By Tom Purcell, Special to the Katy Times
Posted 6/15/22

Americans are so angry about so many things — with partisan politics topping the list.

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Learning to enjoy life’s real agitations


Americans are so angry about so many things — with partisan politics topping the list.

Politics is important, to be sure, because as we know from experience the ideas and policies implemented by our highly fallible government leaders can have beneficial and/or grave outcomes.

But in the social media era—as we carry our angry politics on our smartphones in our pockets all day—it’s taking up much more of our daily lives, and making us more miserable than ever.

As I get older—as I realize I’ve taken politics a little too seriously over time—the real agitations of everyday life are becoming much more noticeable to me.

For example, I love banana cream pie, but few restaurants serve it because the bananas turn brown before all the pie is sold and people who don’t know their bananas won’t buy it.

Which means I must go without it.

How about parking tickets?

I’ve had far too many for one man. Lots and lots of them.

I can afford parking tickets, but, boy, do they fry my bacon — especially when the meter maid is sticking the ticket under my windshield wiper as I walk back to my truck.

I especially dislike how “squeeze” mayonnaise dispensers stop dispensing when only half of the mayo in the bottle is gone.

While we’re on condiments, I really hate how that vinegary water comes out of the yellow mustard bottle and saturates your burger with ick before any mustard ever comes out.

Or how about coffee?

The first cup every morning is glorious, but why is the second always a monumental let down?

And why do they put cotton in my vitamin bottles that my fingers are too fat to remove?

Same with texting. My fingers are too big to text — so I use voice translate, which mangles my words and leaves my friends and loved ones in a perpetual state of confusion.

A few more daily agitations I’d like to point out:

  • Summer goes by way too fast every year. Why doesn’t winter do that?
  • I used to think that computing power and access to endless information would make us all smarter, so why are they making us less nimble and much more rigid[1]minded?
  • Why is it so that in a large, wonderful country like ours, a handful of people too often have way too much power to influence what we think and do by restricting what we read, see or say on social media?

I love freedom, but the trouble with freedom—real, genuine freedom—is that when you truly embrace it you unleash all that is good in the human heart as well as things we may find unpleasant.

I am sorry so many humans are suffering in our world and that troubles me most of all.

We may try to blind ourselves to it, but it does have a way of clarifying your mind and making you realize how good we have it.

It’s a realization too few of us are able to have even though we live in a free, prosperous place, albeit one with imperfections that need to be worked on.

In any event, there are a lot of things more agitating to our daily lives than the improper place we give to hyper-partisan politics.

How much better off we’d be if more people put on their curmudgeon glasses and started enjoying real agitations as I am learning to do!

Because real daily agitation abounds, people. Now open your eyes and enjoy it like I am learning to do!

Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email him at Tom@TomPurcell.com.