Things not to be thankful for

TRAVERSE CITY — OK. Here ya go. Have a good one yourself!

Thanksgiving was great, and I have much to be thankful for. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But that was yesterday.

Today, perhaps owing to the estimated 6,458,132 calories I consumed Thursday, I’m a little, shall we say, cranky. So today I shall flip the script and deliver unto you in true Ebenezer Scrooge meets The Grinch meets the old guy in “Up” fashion, here are all sorts of things I’m not grateful for:

– Black Friday. It used to be the day after Thanksgiving. It wasn’t my thing – something about staying up to midnight to fight crowds to get a TV I don’t need doesn’t strike me as all that much fun – but it never annoyed me. Now it annoys me because it seems to start around Halloween. Having a Black Friday sale a week before Black Friday means it isn’t a Black Friday sale at all. It’s just a sale, and usually not a very good one. We ruin everything in this country.

– Baseball. Baseball is killing itself by allowing big market teams to dominate the trade and free agent markets. Little teams have to luck out just to make the playoffs. Big teams just buy their spots. That’s bad for the sport. When you play Risk, everyone gets the same number of armies. That’s how baseball should be. When you can buy a playoff appearance, what’s the point?

– Smartphones. Was life really all that bad when people couldn’t reach you all the time? No, it wasn’t. It was better, in fact. And have you noticed that almost no one, particularly anyone under the age of 30, actually answers their cell phone? So why do we have them?

– My iPhone. I swear if it tells me one more time that I don’t have enough room in the cloud to back up my data, I’m going to pitch it in the river.

– And while I’m ranting about mobile phones, why is a smartphone one word while cell phone is two?

– Furniture stores. Have you noticed that furniture stores have sales all the time – every day, every weekend, every holiday? How is that possible? I submit that if things are always on sale they’re probably overpriced to begin with. Who’s with me? (I also suspect, with no proof whatsoever, that stores inflate the price before a sale so the sale price is in reality the actual price. Tell me I’m wrong.)

– Mattresses. Why do they cost so much? Honestly, why? They never used to. A mattress was a mattress. I was in a store the other day that had mattresses costing $4,000 and more. Really? What is this thing made out of, ground up gold, frankincense and myrrh?

– And speaking of gold, frankincense and myrrh, what kinds of gifts are those for a baby? And what the heck is myrrh anyway?

– Christmas songs. From the last two gripes, you probably guessed I was going this direction, but how come there hasn’t been a decent new song since … forever? I don’t mean a good rendition of an old song. I mean a new song.

– Your driving. Yes, you. I’m going to say this one last time: The left lane on the freeway does not have your name on it. It’s not your personal lane. It’s for passing. If you aren’t passing, move the blankety-blank over. Please. (I’m trying to be nice here.)

– Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, hey, you kids: Get off my lawn.

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Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him via email at