Life is tough enough, be attentive to others

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:16 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Rose M. Nolen

Now is the time to wage a major campaign against nuisance. We are in an unendable war, we are being poisoned by food and injured by products from we don’t know where and our rights are being protected by a Department of Justice whose reputation is suspect. Since there seems to be little we can do about the big problems, we might as well take on those daily annoyances that threaten to put us in the loony bin.

This came to mind the other day when my cat, Geronimo, was on his leash, taking his morning stroll across our front lawn. Just as he got midway across the lawn our property was invaded by two giant dogs. I stormed out the door and chased the dogs away. So, in lieu of using my son’s baseball bat, I would like to cite the owner, who refuses to keep his pets under his control, as a Certifiable Public Nuisance.

I’m sure the people who are so careless about the rights of other people live on a grand plateau where life is a big bowl of Bing cherries. They somehow can’t grasp the reality that tragedy is all around them. Some people are sinking under the burden of financial ruin and being thrown out of their homes for defaulting on their mortgages. Some people have lost friends or loved ones, others are suffering with serious illnesses from which they may never recover. Families of some are breaking apart from divorce. Any number of people are losing their jobs.

So, in a world where trouble always seems only a few feet away, what gives people the right to think that they can do things like drive an automobile, talk on a cell phone and drink a soda? Does it not occur to them that by not paying full attention to their driving, they might easily have an accident?

On top of their other problems, does anyone need this? People who annoy, disturb, irritate and needlessly endanger the lives of other people deserve to be Certifiable Public Nuisances.

People who have worked hard all of their lives are entitled to live in peace. When they have to deal with vital service agencies, these institutions should at least do them the courtesy of having human beings available to answer their questions. Inconsiderate People-In-Charge who insist on equipping their customer service departments with voice-mail-gone-manic technology should be declared Certifiable Public Nuisances.

This is, of course, only the beginning of a list that could go on and on. If you are a busy parent, working two jobs, wouldn’t you think that your grocer, dry cleaner or newsstand vendor could hire clerks or cashiers who could stop chatting with each other or talking on the phone long enough to wait on you?

How about the neighbors whose kid wakes up the neighborhood up every morning at five by gunning his motorcycle? How about the tenants in the next-door apartment who play their stereo all night because they say it drowns out the street noises?

Certainly, none of these deeds are punishable by law. But I think these people could become better citizens if they had to spend time in places like the waiting rooms of trauma centers or in a courtroom witnessing a murder trial. I think people need to be confronted with their own behavior. They need to see themselves in the context of the circumstances around them.

I don’t believe some people were ever taught that some behavior is only suited for the privacy of closed doors. There are certain behaviors on the part of friends, acquaintances or strangers that are totally unacceptable.

Everyone has the right to be a Certifiable Public Nuisance, but they need to be told that they are making the world an uglier place to be. Perhaps they don’t realize the effect they are having on other people. We could be doing them a favor by asking them to stop. For sanity’s sake, it’s worth the effort.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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