Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Obnoxious

Oh, Oh time during the A to Z Challenge.

It is with some trepidation that I broach the subject and word of "obnoxious."

I haven't used the word in a written form publicly in over 40 years. I did back in 1969 and I got raked over the coals for the effort. I'll share my experience so you can learn from it and have a good laugh at my expense probably.

While I was in training at Digital Equipment (DEC) in Maynard, MA, I pitched a humor column to the local weekly newspaper. The pitch included three sample columns. The editor immediately pounced on the idea and offered me $5 per column.

One of the samples was about businessmen's lunches. The take-away at the bottom was that although the businessmen might stay a bit too long and drink a tad too much at their lunches, it did add to the economy and also provided waitress jobs for "obnoxious and otherwise unemployable women."

The editor used that column for the first of mine to be published. And, he got an earful from women and one husband of a local waitress.

He told me he picked that one because it caused him to picture this one particular waitress in one restaurant in town. We compared notes and laughed when we realized we both were picturing the same woman. Since it was a small town back then, he knew the waitress's name and, yes, it was her husband that called the editor!

There were absolutely no identifying features for the waitress in the column -- no age, no hair color, it didn't say if she was skinny or fat. Yet, the husband just knew we were targeting his wife. I wonder how?

Word of mouth about that first column made my (sometimes obnoxious) column a must read in the following weeks.


  1. Sounds like you wrote an excellent descriptive piece.

  2. Hmmm, maybe you need to share the clipping. ;-)

  3. I remember a rather obtuse but likeable lad in class, when I was 11 years old. A trainee teacher got exasperated with him one day and kept saying he was being obnoxious. Throughout the rest of the day the lad was referred to by this new 'moniker' or 'Ob.' for short.
    At the end of the day the lad approached the teacher and asked what the word meant. The reply
    was along the lines of 'go and read a dictionary!'

    The next day, the lad made a flippant remark about something which the teacher barked him out for, waving his hands in exasperation.

    'OK, OK- don't be so flamboyant!' retorted the boy.

    'What do you mean?' responded the teacher.

    Looking back, this lad displayed exceptional comedic timing as he paused before replying.

    'Well, sir - perhaps you'd better look it up in a dictionary!'

    The class collapsed in uproar - and even the teacher laughed.

    I often wonder if that lad went on to do stand-up comedy!

    1. Thanks. That is a good one! ROFLOL

  4. I'll tell you how with a paraphrased age old adage that sounds appropriate for the anecdote you related.

    The dog that barks first (or the loudest) is the culprit.