May 2008

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« The Best Defects | Main | Fossils are Bullshit »


Sarah Page

He can't be the worlds most annoying man.
I work with him, and he's never been to the U.S.
I work in an open plan office, and sit a row apart from my boss. He sits there ALL DAY sniffing (he has allergies or maybe just a bizarre nervous tick) or tapping pens or just singing/whistling to himself. He is incapable of being quiet.
Unlike you, this will not end with the end of a flight. Until I get a new job (unlikely) I am stuck with it. Or until he leaves or something more serious. Maybe he'll be promoted and get his own office (I would give him a great reference if I was his boss!)
Your blog made me smile for once in this day when I am at my wits end wanting to smack him in the face (but that would probably make him sniff more)

Thanks for cheering me up.

If only music of any kind, particularly mp3 players (Safety - after all we may damage our hearing) in our office policy was not banned I might be able to plug into some soothing classics to calm me down.
But no, I'm going to find some more industrial earplugs in the caretakers cupboard.


When Cara on the bus makes those strange noises, it's really annoying and obnoxious. She doesn't use a low voice. Sometimes I yell at her, and sometimes I put my headphones on.


Okay, counting the number of responses from this article, there were only TWO that suggested the use of ear plugs. Not only is this a tremendously good idea if you're trying to nap on a plane, but also should be handed out by every airline in the free world due to the enormous industrial-level white noise you're subjected to when on a commercial airplane. I'll bet that just like brand new cars that when you buy them you can barely hear then engine, later become the noisiest cars you ever remember owning —ten years down the line, the common everyday DC-10 or any model for that matter loses it's noise insulation over time due to usual wear and tear.

So, with that in mind and Mr. Annoying lurking out there on the planet, don't you think it's a good idea to go down to the drug store before you fly and include ear plugs on your list, you know, along with the sub-miniature toiletries one picks up before they travel?

All that aside, you can be like Opus these past couple of days and use a devastating taser on Mr. Inconsiderate next time he crosses your path.

- Doug
Austin, TX
Thu, Apr 5, 2007 8:24 PM


The world's most annoying man didn't happen to also be a recliner, did he?

Angela Tanner

I had a 15 year old trying to impress the plane - he was on the phone to his dad. The kid asks, "so, you're coming to get me right? Are you bringing the Navigator or the beemer?"

And then there was the guy on the phone to his kid, getting upset with the kid, then yelling at his wife to tell his kid to punch some bully in the face. After they shut the boarding doors, and he turned off his phone, he went bak to reading his bible.

Sorry Scott, the only reason he was next to you was because I wasn't on the plane.


No way! That was that you? Buddy, how are you doing?

*boom* *chi* *chi* *boom* *da* *da* *da* *da* *da*.

If I had known that my favorite cartoonist was sitting next to me, I wouldn't have been so quiet. Do you think I look like Mr. Clean? I always thought Mr. Clean was bulkier.


Scott, you have millions of dollars - why don't you have your own plane? Then you can pick exactly which cleanser spokesmen travel with you.


At least, through it all, you were able to amuse the online world. Because I certainly was very amused by this anecdote - thank you for brightening my day.


I don't think buying two seats will solve anything. Airlines overbook, and if you book a seat that nobody shows up for, that seat will be given to another person who needs a seat.



You were sitting nest to Donald Trump without his hairpiece.


Forget the actuary bit. For sheer boredom, give people your theory on free-will.


Big Al:

"Sailboat fuel for brains"

I gotta use that sometime.


Time to cash in those frequent traveler miles and UPGRADE at least to business class: either that or buy two seats in a two seat row. If they ask, reserve the other seat in Dogbert's name. Now there's someone who really knows how to be annoying; just ask Dilbert.

Tony Baloney

But he has the "best kind" of defects, right?

Craig Steffen

I feel that the geek coefficient of this blog post isn't high enough.

Scott, I believe you meant Cerebrum, not Cerebellum. (disclaimer: I'm a physicist/computer scientist, so my knowledge stems from high school level biology). My recall is that the cerebellum is the part at the back of the brain that controls muscle coordination, like the ability to walk without concentrating on it. The cerebrum, the frontal part of the brain, is the one that contains thoughts and presumably is part of creativity (not getting into the free-will argument here, thanks).

Of course, if his brilliant thought WAS stuck in his cerebellum (where it had no business being) that could be his problem. That could be why he was drumming his fingers--to invoke muscle controls to pop the brilliant thought out into his cerebrum where it could be processed and written down.


Here's an idea:

Maybe he secretly recognized you, and knowing that, since he had no free will, his only pathetic-claim-to-fame would be to annoy you to the point where you, also having no free will, would have to blog about it.

Good job Scott. Now he can tell all the people he gets strung-out with that you blogged about him. And when they don't believe him, he'll tell them he knew he went too far when he tried to "make conversation" with you and saw the wild gleam in your eye.


how many time did he get up to "use the bathroom?"


he was so high.

an "assistant" in a back room. puh-lease.

Miss Bert

I was on a flight from South Carolina to Hartford and 20 minutes in, the people right in front of me changed their baby's extremely smelly poop-filled diaper IN THE CABIN. The cabin stunk of feces for the next two hours. Everyone was sitting with their shirt collars over their noses trying not to breathe.
I'll take an I-pod wearing jerk over smelling poop any day. And no, the smell did not fade, as it was continually recycled throughout the plane for the rest of the trip.


I was an actuary for the government for one year, but gave up that career path after my first job interview in the private sector. The head of the Auto Rating section showed me what I would be doing -- mainly calculating auto insurance rates for every possible kind of driver in the state, with genuine adding machines, which looked marginally more exciting than solitary confinement.

But what got me was when he discussed hypothetically how their formulas are sometimes weighted to discourage high-risk groups, such as young single male urban. It so happened that I was a 23-year-old single guy living in the city, buying my first car, and having a heck of a time finding car insurance!

Software engineering was far better. I only looked back once, twenty years later, when I stumbled on a site discussing actuarial careers. You have to take five or six grueling exams to be rated an "Associate", and another six or seven to be rated "Fellow" -- the process takes about a decade, but a Fellow with ten years of experience was averaging about 50% more than my current salary. That gave me a moment's pause, until I reflected that my enjoyment of the extra money would be diminished if I had cut my own throat from boredom nineteen years previously.



Why fly to Luxemborg? Can't you just carry it around in your back pocket?

Ajay Pal Singh Atwal

Maybe next time you can try space travel. Since you'd be wearing a space suite and can turn off the radio/ drop down the face cover to avoid any communication and voice cannot be heard in vacuum. You can easily cut Mr Clean's oxygen supply in case things get out of hand. There is a possibility of ejecting him along with the regular trash. Or you can even encourage him to go on an epic adventure of some kind to some distant galaxy. Or you can always claim that he in control of an Alien (a la Alien movie) and must be terminated.

Only your imagination and the sky is your limit.

Ghân Buri Ghân

Y'know, Scott, There are few things more entertaining to read during my lunch-break than a good flame-war. Especially if free-will and determinism are involved. Even more especially when the foaming participants end up crashing and burning on the pyres of their own vitriol (now THAT'S mixing metaphors). However, the comments on your blog run from newest to oldest post, meaning that, unless you do the blindingly obvious thing and read from bottom to top (far to taxing for a lunch break), you read the replies before you find the original post. No fun. Soooo. Be as unlike Dogbert as possible and invert the order, will you? No, no. Not you PERSONALLY. I mean the techies who to whom your smallest whim is an irrevocable command to be obeyed on pain of gradual and delayed death.
Oh, and BTW, in the oodles of free time that the stinking rich have (to all the humourless IRS readers out there, that was a joke, and by my spelling of 'humourless' you can see I'm not American, and therefore out of your jurisdiction, nhaaa), I recommend the author G. K. Chesterton on free-will. Of course you're too lazy to read it. I mention the title only so you can make spurious references to his writing that no one will ever check up on! Beauty!
This is turning into a ramble. Love your writing.


You should do standup comedy shows and release cds and dvds of it. Soon Dilbert would be a thing from the past for you.

George L

As a practicing pension actuary, I have to point out that it's not just all dreary stuff. Once, I had to calculate a death benefit for a man named "Jack Salesman".

Where is Arthur Miller when you need him?

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