“These Are a Few of My Least Favorite Things”

By Duane Scott Cerny

These Are a Few of My Least Favorite Things. Photo Credit: Author’s Collection.

(Sing it) “When the dog bites. When the bee stings. When I’m feeling mad. I simply dismember my neighbor who sings so badly at 3:00 a.m.”

People Who Talk @ the Movies

I attend a silent marathon at Film Forum on Houston. A thrilling, pre-recorded organ score accompanies this rarely screened three-hour epic.
And then the talking starts. Two ladies in their seventies and three rows up begin chatting about a sale at Macy’s, a cheese tray special at D’Agostino’s and their mutual digestive troubles. “I can’t go when I want to go… then I can’t stop going!”

After much “shushing” from myself and nearby others, one of the women spins her Exorcist head around, reminding the rest of the audience, “We can talk if we want to. After all, this is a silent film!”

An older gentleman seated beside me shakily stands, shouting, “It is! Now shut the “F” up, you biddies!” Oh, no, I-Mary Pickford panic, not the “B” word!
Two efficient ushers appear in the darkness, their whispering voices rising higher as they attempt a silencing of the senior yams. After much audible commotion, the women are escorted from the theater. Each screaming for their money back, of course.

The film? Prophetically, Erick Von Stroheim’s Greed.

Shopping Cart as Place Holder

You’re at the grocery store and another customer uses a shopping cart to hold their place in the checkout line. “Be right back!” they say, smiling to everyone behind as they leisurely meander down an aisle.

As the line moves glacially forward, what should you do? Push the unattended cart along like it’s a miniature passenger train car from a kiddy amusement park? Or should you be a good Samaritan and pay for their items? I bet they’d find that surprising. Or do you maneuver their shopping cart into a closed register line all to the cheers of those behind you?

You can guess what I did, though the security footage may no longer be on YouTube.

Baby Carriages on Steroids

When did this horrible trend begin? Not with Romulus and Remus, I’m certain. Touring twins about the city is no easy task, especially for an underpaid nanny who has an unlimited cell phone plan and a niece in Venezuela. But these Hummer-sized baby carriages, often carrying only one child and the contents of their Montessori-lite travel accessories, might very well run you off a Bleecker Street corner and to your curbside death. Your only chance is to climb over the little tykes like you’re Pennywise the Clown looking for change.

Unwelcome Open House Attendees

Let’s say you’re selling your co-op or condo. The apartment sparkles, it’s the best it has ever looked. Flowers in vases, grain-free chocolate chip cookies in the oven. You’re hoping for a big turn out and a bidding war– but who shows up? Nosey neighbors. Local yokels. Eggs, pre-cracked.
“I always wanted to see your place but you’re never home!” complains the spinster from 4G. “Do you even live here? I only see strange women going in and out. Or at least I thought they were women!”

“My unit has to sell for more than this, so you better set a record price,” grumbles the building’s grouch as he settles into a chair accommodating only three-quarters of his girth. “Say, do I smell something gluten-free?”

“Whoever is selling this place should talk to me!” announces a cat-hair covered young woman who may or may not live on the building’s roof. Not the penthouse. Just the roof.

The faces of a stylish couple meet and simultaneously sigh, “Oh, God, no!” They panic-exit as if this circus sideshow were ablaze.

No silent films. No abandoned shopping carts. No nosey neighbors. And no bee stings. Just a few of my least-favorite things.

Duane Scott Cerny is an American humorist and vintage dealer, and the author of the best-selling memoirs Vintage Confidential and Selling Dead People’s Things. He resides in Chicago, the West Village, and on uncomfortable seating in between. http://www.SellingDeadPeoplesThings.com