How to be irritating

How to look irritated/irritating.

How to look irritated/irritating.

Hello, I’m Ross Murray, but I insist you call me by the nickname I’ve given myself, “Ponchy.” Giving yourself a nickname is just one of many simple and mostly inexpensive ways to be irritating. Today, Ponchy is going to share some of these ways with you. Ponchy knows what he’s talking about.

Do you see what I did there with ‘Ponchy’ in the third person? Wasn’t that irritating? Now pretend you know how to say that in a foreign language, even though you clearly don’t. Si no pablo irritato, qué?

I have been irritating people for close to 50 years, except for a very brief period in 1990 when I went into a deep depression after they cancelled “ALF.” If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I was irritating, I would take those nickels and shake them loudly in my pocket at random intervals while they were trying to read quietly. “If you need any nickels, I have some,” I would say, “but you can’t have any.”

It’s not enough to simply want to be irritating. It takes pwactice, pwactice, pwactice. (Fake speech impediments are irritating – but not real speech impediments, though. Real speech impediments are thad.)

To truly become irritating, you must follow the rules of I-R-R-I-T-A-T-E:

I: Ignorance. Don’t learn facts. Instead, share your vaguely formed ideas based on assumptions and the thinnest of understanding. Social media is wonderful for both picking up and disseminating your half-baked ideas.

R: Righteousness. Always be right. Always be holier than thou. Always use Old English when you can.

R: Rangoon. “When I was getting my degree in bird slapping in Rangoon…” “Your story about your mother’s emergency surgery reminds me of the time I was in Rangoon…” “Yes, I know they call it ‘Yangon’ now but to me it will always be ‘Rangoon,’ which reminds me…”

T: Take. Take what isn’t yours out of the office fridge. Take your sibling’s favourite sweater and loan it to a friend. Take the last cold beer and don’t replace it. Take the long way home. Take a look at my girlfriend. Speak in Supertramp lyrics.

A: Anxiety. If you worry about every little detail in your life, every possible thing that might happen, every celebrity you might bump into – and look at you in that torn T-shirt with the armpit stains that you’ve been wearing for days now, how embarrassing it would be to meet your favourite celebrity (Alex Trebek, which you pronounce “TREE-bek”) dressed like that, so just hang on, gang, while I go change, but, oh, into what? – well, that’s pretty darn irritating.

T: Taxes. So irritating.

E: Eliminate. Leave out critical bits of information and promised details. The vaguer the better. Always leave them wanting mor.

Follow those nine simple guidelines and you are well on your way to being irritating.

Of course, being irritating is more than just action. It’s an attitude, an awareness that you are the only one who truly matters in your universe. One sock left on the bathroom floor does not an irritating person make. It takes sock after sock after sock, day in and day out. Think of it as committing to a fitness routine, except instead of doing sit-ups, it’s tuneless humming.

As the beloved philosopher and Trappist monk Thomas Merton said, “You call that a vow of silence? Your nose-breathing sounds like a train whistle, for God’s sake!”

The beauty of being irritating is that it allows you to stand out in the crowd, probably because you’re pin-wheeling your arms as you warm up for your daily 5K run, which you’re sure to mention to everyone you meet, about the 5K run, which you do every day. Now tell them what your best times are.

You see? Build irritation upon irritation. Be uber-irritating. Add “uber” to all your adverbs and adjectives.

Got the idea? To get you on your irritating way, here are a few more examples of irritation in action:

  • Tell people you are a strong advocate of lifelong leaning.
  • Repeat yourself. I’ve been repeating myself for close to 50 years, except for a very brief period in 1990 when I went into a deep depression after they cancelled “ALF.”
  • Loudly deny the existence of funerals.
  • “Help” people with their crossword puzzles.
  • Become a newspaper columnist.
  • Start a sentence by saying, “I don’t necessarily agree with everything Donald Trump says, but…”
  • Be Donald Trump.
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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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44 Responses to How to be irritating

  1. I think this post could have been part of a series. I should do a Minnesota version. Respond “that’s different” to anything artistic. Make sure when anyone asks you how you are doing that you say jocularly; “It could be worse!”
    My own contribution to being irritating is being sullen at parties, so the whole environment is just a little bit tainted. I say “what’s that smell?” an awful lot. Also, I highly recommend walking into the room where your spouse is watching television, watch for a few minutes and announce “this is too stupid” and leave.
    Thanks for the morning laugh, Ross!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      You and I are kindred spirits. My youngest and my wife watch Walking Dead et al. I like to walk in and declare, “Violence!” and walk out.
      I also tend to say, “That’s a lot of potatoes/beef/anything my wife purchased” in a judgemental way.
      These are all good. Keep it up.

  2. List of X says:

    I found it very irritating that you wrote two lists in this post, and not one was numbered or consisted of 10 items. But I assume it was the effect you were going for.

  3. Dina Honour says:

    “Helping” with the crossword puzzle. Ugh.

  4. Paul says:

    Like X the lists were irritating especially when the main one left out the second “I” in irritate and then you say follow the nine principles when irritate only has 8 letters and you actually only use 7.

  5. Ned's Blog says:

    When I was young, it seemed that life was so magical. A miracle. Then I met a guy nicknamed “Ponchy.”

  6. You forgot the vestigial ‘E’ in Old(e) English.

    And the Grammar Nazi thing – especially irritating!

  7. ksbeth says:

    can we send the trumpeter to rangoon?

  8. pinklightsabre says:

    Complain about the weather even when it’s nice, as an affirmative we call here “Yeah Buts.” (Yeah, it may be sunny now BUT later it won’t, it will be dark.) Use acronyms. Play YouTube videos too high on the train (the volume that is). Be that first person to “Like” your post even though it’s impossible they could have read it in time, they just want to see their thumbnail on your site. Be that guy who still hyphenates e-mail, because you’re stubborn and won’t budge. Use acronyms. Stay too long in the comment box repeating yourself.

  9. Trent Lewin says:

    What if I told you that reading this actually made me feel less irritated? Would this be like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters? Is a massive paranormal event now inevitable?

    And stop trashing Donald Trump! He’s good at doing that to himself.

  10. Karl Flanders says:

    Hey Ross, long time reader, third or maybe 5th time comment maker here.

    I’ve whistled the tune from “i dream of jeannie” daily for 7 yrs in my office. I never thought it bothered anyone because co-workers would sometimes hum along cause its catchy.
    Have also been mastering what i call the “half haiku “. Make up a haiku but only say the first two lines and then trail off and look vacantly ahead.
    “Fence builds shadows on pavement… Hungry squirrels eating nuts regret the oatmeal….”

    I thought withholding the last line made me look mysterious deep during business meetings. ( “you gotta pay attention to that guy.. he’s deep”) Now they want me tested for early onset dementia….

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Karl Flanders? Karl Flanders??? Karl Flanders!
      Hey, Karl.
      Sometimes I’ll spontaneously break out into “Sing If You’re Glad to be Gay.” When people look at me, I just say: “Karl Flanders.”

    • Elyse says:

      Whistling is always irritating. But whistling the theme song from a 1960s TV show? That goes way beyond irritating and firmly into grounds for aggression, physical as well as mental.

      You should comment more. I’ve never met/read/heard of you before, but this comment made me laugh out loud, disturbing my husband’s concentration on some f’ing basketball game or other. So apparently you are a very funny man, Karl. You may also have to support me if my husband files for divorce.

  11. Hey Ponchy. 🙂 You don’t really look irritated. You look like you swallowed a rotten Easter egg. But, that can be nicely irritating, too, as in “Who bought these rotten Easter eggs? You trying to kill me?”

  12. Samara says:

    Supertramp? Is that like regular Tramp, only with a cape?

    And who exactly is getting married in the sequel to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? If it’s their daughter, wouldn’t they be like, 70?
    So irritating.

  13. Samara says:

    Why do people get irritated when men sleep with the nanny? After all, she was in the HOUSE. What did they expect?

    So irritating.

  14. Leave cupboard doors open. Put used kitchen utensils into the dishwasher before Madame has finished with them. Never fails.

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