As I look back on this series of ill-tempered outbursts I call Old Man Rants, I’ve noticed that they don’t really reflect me accurately as a person. The sentiments do, but not the timing. Currently, rants are posted every few weeks and usually include several topics, all of which have pissed me off or irritated me at some point in the recent past. But it’s time for a new beginning.

I don’t stay mad in real life, even about important things. Instead, I spout my dissatisfaction and negativity in a thus-far-endless stream of short outbursts. They say that keeping your angst within may cause it to fester and grow, so I just release mine as quickly as it arrives.

This has prompted my wife to wonder if I’m always complaining or always unhappy? To that, I say – frequently complaining, usually happy and often mildly annoyed all at once. This makes no sense to her and I’m sure she’s not alone.

Anyway- the new beginning is a new Old Man Rants format. Rather than a longer post every few weeks, I’ll be striving to make shorter posts each week, usually on Wednesday. Post titles won’t be named with episode numbers anymore either- there would be too many, the number would be too high, and I’d end up having to rant about my own rant titles.

Is all of this earth-shattering news? No, but I thought you might want a heads up. Just because I’m easily annoyed doesn’t mean I’m inconsiderate.

So here’s the official first rant of the new era, prefaced of course by the usual backstory.

Once I turned 50, I started venting my frustration at the irritations of life.  It felt good, so I kept doing it.  I call these periodic and hopefully humorous verbal tantrums Old Man Rants. Let’s get to it:

Photo by Fabio Lima on

Four Way Stop Signs

Nice: I arrived at the intersection first, but you can go ahead.

Nicer: No, it’s ok. You go ahead. You should.

Nice: No really, you can go first.

Nicer: (thinks for a second) I don’t want to appear rude by not accepting their niceness, so- Ok, I’ll go (starts crossing intersection)

Nice: (sees Nicer’s hesitation) Oh, you’re waiting for me to go. Ok. I’ll go. (starts crossing intersection too)

Nicer: (stops crossing) Oh no! I’m so sorry! Go ahead!

Nice: (stops crossing) My fault! I’m so sorry! You go ahead, please!

Nicer: Seriously, it’s fine. I’m happy to let you go first!

Nice: I want badly for you to know that I’m nice and concerned for others. You really should go first.

Nicer: We’re both such good people, but I’d be honored if you went first.

Nice: (thinks for a second) Ok, I’ll go (starts crossing intersection)

Nicer: (sees Nicer’s hesitation) Oh, you’re waiting for me to go. Ok. I’ll go. (starts crossing intersection too)

Nice: (stops crossing) Oh no! I’m so sorry! Go ahead!

Nicer: (stops crossing) My fault! I’m so sorry! You go ahead, please!

Rant Man: (approaches intersection, sees debacle) You idiots!

If you want to show people how nice you are and avoid being irritating at 4-way stop intersections, JUST TAKE YOUR TURN!! Don’t let anybody go ahead of you. Just take your damn turn!

If everybody just followed the turn-taking rules of the intersection, things would work out quickly and smoothly. I realize that this robs some drivers of a chance to show others how nice they are- but maybe they can get their “nice fix” by letting others cut in ahead of them the next time they’re waiting in line to use the bathroom. Let’s see how super nice you can be when you’re about to piss yourself.

Ah! I feel better now, time to go chase some punks off my lawn.

For more Old Man Rants, plus articles of a more serious and useful nature, visit Five O’Clock Shadow, an online magazine by Todd Fulginiti.