My Beefs

The world is supposedly becoming more helpful. When I needed to know how to balance my ceiling fan, I went to YouTube.
When I had a question about medication side effects, I turned to the Mayo Clinic web site.

Power steering on my van gives me better control of my car, and air conditioning keeps me comfortable in all seasons. It would seem that across the board things are getting better and easier. But not everything.

My Beef With... Perforations
Have you ever opened a container and it separated perfectly along the perforations? Me neither, or at least I don’t need both hands to count the number of times it ended up tearing on the first try. I could have just as easily cut it myself. Just print some dotted lines where the perforations should be, and my kitchen knife will do the rest.

Those self-dispensing twelve packs of soda are the worst. You might as well accept the fact that you’re going to have to eventually stack them in the fridge and knock them all down the first time you get thirsty.

My Beef With... Child Proof Caps on Medications
It’s easier to hack my computer than it is to open a childproof cap on a bottle of medication. The need for pliers and a screwdriver are conspicuously missing from the easy-open instructions.

These are clearly misnamed. Let’s be honest; they are “Adult Proof” caps. I’m usually cured of whatever malady the prescription was supposed to help by the time I finally get the bottle open.

My Beef With... Symbols
Driving down the street the other day, a warning light flashes on my dashboard. I’m not sure if it’s a picture of the vehicle’s engine or a grizzly catching a trout near a waterfall.

Can’t we just print some words? I realize it’s easier and cheaper due to all the languages in the US, but help me out a little. I have to pull over and locate the 400-page index and try to decide if my problem is listed under dashboard or warning lights. And don’t get me started on street or restroom signs.

My Beef With...My Clock Radio
My old clock radio, that did everything I needed, finally gave up the ghost, so I got a new one. About the only thing I was able to accomplish without the instruction book was plugging it in. After that, everything was a blur like the 1960s.
After a few minutes of study, I was able to set the two alarm times I use most often. Landing on the moon would be easier than programming it to wake me up to my favorite station.

It doesn’t even have a clearly marked “on” “off” button. If I find the station, I can’t save it. If by some miracle I program and save the station, I lose the time. And for the love of God, who chose the “beep, beep, beep” sound they use? If they played that sound to Gitmo prisoners, they’d all spill their guts.

Some Final Thoughts
Are any of these things critical to living a wonderful, happy, fulfilling life? Not really. These things cause us grief because they happen when we don’t need one more challenge at that particular moment.

Is it too much to ask that just once we’d like the perforation to tear where it’s supposed to, or for the cap to actually open without breaking a nail?

Maybe we need some frustration in our life to help us appreciate the things that do fall into place the way they are supposed to. I know I always feel better when that happens.

I think I’ll just relax and have a soda — provided I can get the box open. Wish me luck.   

Tom left his BEEF quite some time ago on our website at If you have a topic that you think needs more attention (local topics, op/ed, lifestyle) please contact us about being featured.