Commentary: Sweating Small Stuff

By Louis A. Zona
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Certain things make me crazy. I know that I should not let little irritants bother me. But they do.

For example, don’t you just hate people who don’t reciprocate a “Good morning,” or “How are you today?

I was brought up to return a smile or a nice gesture or comment and I guess that I expect a pleasantry in return.

I have observed, however, that older folks do return the smile but so many younger people choose to either look away or just ignore my presence.

Oh well, I have been told that I have a pleasant smile and those Gen Xers can miss out on it if they insist.

I listen to a lot of radio when I’m commuting in my car. Don’t you just hate radio commercials that include a honking horn? I always assume that the horn I hear is aimed at me from another automobile. Usually, I
immediately look all around to see if I might have been in the wrong lane or maybe managed to tick off a fellow driver. And of course, I swear at the radio for scaring me into thinking the worst.

And, boy, do I have a lot to say about fast drivers. Why is it necessary for some drivers to want to drive completely over your car as if I am in the way?

I go the speed limit and should not be in anyone’s way. But I feel as though I am the slowest driver in the universe.

On that note, two of my favorite people were the late watercolor artist Mary Kay D’Isa and her husband, Frank, also deceased, who taught engineering at Youngstown State University. One day, Mary Kay came by to tell us that Frank had been pulled over by the police.

“Gee,” I told Mary Kay. “I don’t think that I ever saw Frank driving too fast.”

“Too fast?” Mary Kay replied. “He was pulled over because he was driving through Canfield too slow!”

While I will never beat Dr. D’Isa’s record of being the slowest driver in the Mahoning Valley, I will not break any speeding records either.

While I am on the topic of cars and speeds and such, I think that stoplights are entirely too small to pick out among all the other signage that compete with them. Red lights should be three times as large as they are so we can to pick them from a jumble of state route signs, directional signs, McDonald’s ads, etc.

A life or two might be spared if stoplights were bigger. If the government were looking for ways to spend stimulus money, the red light enlargement project would get my vote.

On one of my visits to New York City, I saw a woman with a dog on the leash. The poor woman was standing on a street corner with her dog and she was talking loudly about absolutely nothing and drawing a crowd. Probably, the woman was mentally ill. I could not help thinking about that poor dog and what its life must be like with an owner who, to put it politely, was not altogether.

On the other hand, let us assume that the woman rescued the dog. He just might feel a heck of a lot of gratitude and be willing to put up with its owner’s zaniness.

Growing up in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, I was spoiled by the presence of Idora Park and Cascade Park. Both amusement parks have given us such great memories of roller coasters, delicious greasy french fries, penny arcades and summer days dodging the crowds that filled their picnic grounds.

It is funny, but true, that we do not truly appreciate what we have until it is no more. How I wish at this moment that I had a paper cone filled with Idora’s ultra-greasy french fries. Um, yummy! Maybe paradise consists of Idora Park rides, concessions, and the fun house at Cascade Park.

I swear that I get the most daily mail of any citizen in this stratosphere. I constantly have to go through dozens of solicitations, political cards and letters and the always-popular newspaper insert.

At least when I lived in the country, they permitted burn barrels. In my current neighborhood, if I had a burn barrel, they would put me inside of it and roll me down to the city dump. They mean business in my current township home.

I have noticed that most political ads in newspapers or in other media always seem to present the person running for office dressed like a gardener or perhaps a welder or roofer.

I suppose that they think that to be seen in a T-shirt instead of a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie, makes the candidate look like a regular guy.

Well here is one regular guy who can see through that strategy. Why not look good in a white shirt and a well-tailored jacket? Since the T-shirt variety of politician obviously wants to be seen as a commoner, why not be original and dress up throughout the campaign?

That would certainly shock the opponent when the well-dressed campaigner comes out looking like a neatly attired governor or president.

OK you sloppy politicians, get back in the house and dress up as if you are expecting to look presidential!

Come on you guys. Look like you expect to be a winner.