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The Gripe List

When you write a monthly column on being a dad, ideas for new columns spring up from the strangest places. Your son racks you with a Wiffle Ball bat—column on protecting one’s self from 5-year-old future Hall of Famers. Your daughter purchases her first bra—column on protecting your daughter from every male on the planet. Your wife redesigns the kitchen, den and living room while you were working overtime trying to scratch out enough money to pay for the last kitchen, den and living room redesign—column on easing handgun laws.

My notepad is filled with half-baked thoughts and observations that will never see the light of day. Then again, maybe today can be that day—a late-summer soul cleansing.

Gripe No. 1: Rudeness is spreading quicker than the BP oil spill. My commute is 45 minutes one way. That’s at least 450 chances each way, each day to observe how remarkably rude people can be behind the wheel. Funny how people turn into bullies when they’re driving 30,000-pound projectiles. Rudeness at restaurants: You want to really get to know a co-worker? Go out to lunch with them and see how they treat the wait staff. Nothing is more revealing than watching someone you thought you knew talk down to a waitress because their iced tea wasn’t filled quickly enough. Rudeness among kids: I like being referred to as “sir” or “Mr. Klancnik” or even “Mr. Rudy.” But “Hey, Rudy” never works when the person speaking is younger than 25.  Kids, I’m not one of your friends. Please don’t high-five or fist bump me. I’m an adult and respect comes with the territory. Yes, I’m old fashioned that way.

Gripe No. 2: 3-D movies are giving me a headache. I hated Avatar (terrible story with overrated effects; there, I said it). But more than that, this 3-D craze connected with every movie geared toward kids is on my nerves. Toy Story 3 is a well-written gem of a film—3-D nearly ruined it. The glasses make the whole movie feel dark and cloudy … just what you want when you’re paying a $3 surcharge for those goofy glasses. Yeah, I know it’s here to stay. So are electric cars and Joe Biden, but I don’t have to like them either.

Gripe No. 3: Quit texting while driving. Just read a story (on my Blackberry while driving) that at 60mph, my car travels the distance of 45 football fields in the time it takes me to text “OMG.” Well, maybe not that far, but it’s super dangerous. See LIVE 3-D: Don’t Drive Distracted, a partnership between JPS Health Network in Fort Worth and State Farm; it’s one 3-D production I’m backing.

Gripe No. 4: Stop the scheduling from June to August. Summers of my youth were filled with endless days of baseball, cops and robbers and lots and lots of Gilligan’s Island. Of course, that was in the dark ages of the mid-1980s when cell phones weighed more than an AMC Gremlin and ESPN’s only live programming was Australian Rules Football. This summer’s schedule for my kids has been virtually nonstop from the day school let out: sports camp, Vacation Bible School, another sports camp, church projects, family trip to Austin, one more sports camp. Oh, is this your world, too? If we’re going to program the summer like we do the other three seasons, I vote for 12-month school schedules. At least our math and science scores would finally squeak past Ghana’s.

Gripe No. 5: Justin Bieber hair must stop—and it must stop now. Did I fall asleep and wake up in 1975? And I thought Billy Ray Cyrus’ mullet would be the worst hair in my lifetime. Why are parents allowing boys to grow their hair out so long that it curls—on the sides! Do you really think it’s cute that they now look like Kelly from the Bad News Bears? This hair and the flat-billed ball cap officially have become my kryptonite.

Gripe No. 6: In & Out Burger is moving into North Garland. Maybe no one else will notice, and I won’t have to stand in line for 16 hours for the magnificence that is a double-double animal style. Yeah—and I’ll also win the lottery, launch a rap record label and hire Kim Kardashian to pick up around the house once a week.

One Last Gripe: Mentioning Kim Kardashian in this column will no doubt lead to me picking up around the house once a week. Well, at least I finally emptied my note pad.