A Summertime List: Top Five Things that Piss Me Off


By Agnes Smyth-Jones

Dear readers,

It’s been a difficult summer to get annoyed or stay annoyed. The weather has been beautiful in most parts of the country, bugs are at a minimum and the Quebec ‘students’ seem to have disappeared to the lake. However, a few things have cropped up that piss me off.

5. Bucket lists. As someone who has reached the age where there is more to remember than to look forward to, I have to wonder why there are so many older people compiling bucket lists? What were you doing when you were young and could enjoy the fullness and wildness of life? I can’t list everything here that I sank my teeth into when I was a young woman (the TWR editor mumbled something about libel laws), but today I just hope for regular bowel movements and a properly steeped pot of tea.

4. Twitter. People seem to be twitting about anything and everything. Perhaps Oscar Wilde could regularly say something memorable in 140 characters or less but for the rest of you, I’m sorry.

3. Air miles. C’mon people, do you really think you are getting a free toaster oven? Besides slowing down transactions at the check-out, merchants are forced to increase prices to pay for your ‘free’ trip to Moose Jaw.

2. Cancerous tongues on cigarette packages. What’s next? Syphilis photos on condoms?

1. Adverbs. I have tried reading some of these dreadful new bestsellers (50 Shades…, The Girl With…, etc.) and the authors seem to think that saying “she looked sorrowfully at her tormentor” is good writing. It is not. Adverbs are a lazy way to avoid setting a scene or revealing a character. And when you do it in every sentence it bloats the story. I wish some smart young programmer would come up with an ‘adverb delete’ button. If I knew how to, I would add that to my bucket list.

[Editor’s Note: if you want to read Ms. Smyth-Jones’s previous column, click here.]


  1. Posted August 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    G’day Agnes Smyth-Jones,

    Spluttered tea all over the keyboard. Thank you.
    Pauline Réage would probably thank you too, particularly in respect to point 5.
    Go the Demons.


  2. Posted August 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Dear Agnes Smyth-Jones,
    You are hilarious!!! Seriously! Loved this piece. Especially the bit about adverbs. Who was it that said the “road to hell is paved with adverbs”? (Okay, I just looked it up — it was Stephen King.)
    Looking forward to your next article….
    All the best
    PS Did anybody ever tell you that you look a lot like Gregg Shilliday?

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Things That Piss Me Off

Agnes Smyth-Jones

Agnes Smyth-Jones recently retired as headmistress of the Pauline Réage School for Girls. Her late husband, Rodney, was an arms dealer and philanthropist. In her spare time Mrs. Smythe-Jones enjoys proof-reading and watching Australian rules football.