Number One: The Cell Phone
No, we’re not talking about the new HTC Mega you’ve been eyeing for your cell phone collection. In fact, your cell phone isn’t the problem at all. It’s the other guy’s–every other guy’s. Have you ever overheard someone yammering on in his outside voice about something so pressing that it actually had to be addressed that moment right in the middle of Costco? Maybe if said caller is hovering over your muted, half-lifeless body calling for help, the public phone call is acceptable. Otherwise, it’s just irritating. Extra douche points to anyone that walks around screaming into a Bluetooth headset for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Number Two: The Automatic Hand Dryer
Perhaps we’ve gotten a little spoiled and jaded, but shouldn’t a mechanical invention that replaces something as simple as a paper towel actually present an improvement? When was the last time you thought: “Great! No paper towels–just that big, sexy hand dryer! Gimme some!” Probably never, because the damn thing doesn’t work. Sure, if you want to stand there rubbing your hands vigorously and hitting the button three or four times, you might actually get 3/4 of the way to dry. Otherwise, you’re coming out of that bathroom looking like you peed all over yourself because the only way your hands are getting dry is if you rub them right on your pants. The paper towel is forever 1,000 times better than the hand dryer, unsanitary properties and all.
Number Three: The Portable Speaker System
Like the cell phone, this one is entirely dependent upon the circumstances surrounding its usage. Unfortunately, those circumstances too often involve public displays of horrible music that no one else but the dock/boombox owner wants to listen to. Whether it’s in a local park, beach or seemingly-empty parking lot, there’s a reason that MP3 players come with earbuds not speakers.
Number Four: The Self-Flush Toilet
In theory, the self-flush toilet is a great idea. In fact, its close cousin the self-flush urinal works pretty well–no more having to worry about the last guy’s spray doing a reverse pike onto your chinos. The self-flush toilet could be equally effective, if it weren’t for its one regrettable quality of trigger-happiness. Just a small readjust on the seat and the roaring flush is soon to follow. The combination of powerful, public-toilet flush and unprotected, dangling cheeks has a way of sending droplets of filthy public toilet water straight up your cavity. And one drop of water from your local public stall is enough to ruin any device and give it a place on any worst-of list.
Number Five: The Fax Machine
Whether it’s the daily paper jam, the unwanted 78-page fax that ties up your machine for half an hour while wasting all your remaining paper, or the horrible screech on the other end of a fax-based wrong-number, faxes have the ability to irritate the average working man and woman like no other workplace device. Hopefully, Internet-based scanning and faxing will soon render the fax machine obsolete.
Number Six: The Aftermarket Car Audio System
It’s understandable when a teenager puts a big, loud system in his first car to show off to new and old friends. Still annoying, but understandable. What is completely unfathomable is when a 28-year-old still hanging onto that last frayed thread of youth rolls around the neighborhood pumping out enough bass to rattle the pictures off your walls. What the hell is wrong with that guy? If you’re over 25 and still driving around in a circa 1997 Integra stacked with 18-inch Kickers under the hatch, it’s really time to sit down and reassess your life. While you’re doing that, the rest of the neighborhood will be out ripping that stupid, monstrous system out. Jackass.
Number Seven: The Alarm Clock
Most of these other entries are ones that you can get away from. You may not hear a peep from them for weeks, even months. Unless you have the rare, uncanny ability to awaken at just the right time unassisted, or are permanently unemployed, the alarm clock is one annoyance that is there to greet you every single day. No matter how many fun new twists on the alarm clock that come to market (i.e. iPod dock, Internet radio, etc.), the device was just designed to suck. Any piece of equipment that rudely crashes your long-awaited horizontal tangle with a bevy of female tennis players solely to drag you kicking and screaming into the harsh reality of finance reports and 6 a.m. meetings is annoyance incarnated.
Number Eight: The Camera Flash
The only thing more annoying than the flash is that cheeseball photographer that makes a series of asenine jokes even your 5-year-old rolls his eyes at. And even then, the camera flash is his encore performance. The flash is by far the worst part about printing your mug on paper. And despite all the advances that we’ve seen in modern digital cameras, we still haven’t seen a more soothing replacement to that surprisingly-blinding eyesore. Perhaps the Dark Flash will finally put this one to rest.
Number Nine: The Car Alarm
At this point, everyone is so numb to the sound of a car alarms that they really serve no purpose at all. Honestly, the last time a car alarm went off, did you dutifully run outside to see if you could ID the perp or did you sit still, silently vowing to destroy the car owner’s life one small piece at a time? Any kind of professional car thief–you know, the guys that inspire one to get an alarm system to begin with–should be savvy enough to disable the alarm and make off with the car–it’s what they do. So all the alarm really does is destroy the nerves of every innocent bystander unfortunate enough to be nearby.
Number Ten: The Automated Phone System
If there was one invention on this list that could inspire true, unabated violence, it’d have to be the automated phone system. There’s a good chance that if you’re calling up your local utility provider, you’re already a bit hot under the collar. What no one really needs at that point is to have the experience of yelling into a phone trying desperately to communicate the most simple word to a machine. I never thought that I’d miss the apathetic headset jockey like a long-lost lover, but the automated phone system has inspired just that level of nostalgic yearning.
Number 11: ???
Alright, as with any list, some readers are just waiting to get to the comments section to lambast us for missing something that you were waiting for. There’s always something missing from any Top 10 list, which is why we’ve made this a Top 11—we’ve saved the last slot for you. Go ahead, fire off some devices/technologies/inventions that annoy the crap out of you every day and show us something we may have missed.Did you like this post? Leave your comments below!
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