Link of the Week – Irritation Insurance

Sometimes I come across a newspaper article, blog post or op ed piece that makes me paranoid about the possibility that other people are reading my thoughts because they’ve written exactly what I’ve been thinking. I am in complete agreement with author Timothy Hallinan’s need for insurance that pays out whenever the insured has to suffer one of life’s myriad of minor irritations. As someone who seems to pay an astonishing amount of money each month for insurances that I never use I adore the idea of a scheme that I would be able to make claims against (and before you start, yes I am very grateful that my house, health, income, car etc. are all pottering along nicely without the need of insurance).

I could add considerably to the excellent list provided by Mr Hallinan but will pick just three extra items that I would like to be insured against:

  • Being coughed on by a fellow commuter. Honestly I don’t mind using public transport if it will save the planet from environmental disaster but is it really too much to ask that people cover their damned mouths when they’re coughing up a lung on the morning commute? $9.53
  • Being forced to listen to talk-back radio of any political persuasion. I regularly have to catch cabs during the work day and the driver always seems to be listening to loud talk-back radio where somebody is shouting about the ruination of our country/world by illegal immigrants/drug addicts/single mothers/greenies/some one else to hate. It’s tiresome. $7.27
  • Seeing anyone wearing a lycra cycling outfit when they are not currently competing in the Tour de France. I’m all for exercise and strongly in favour of transportation that might save the planet from complete collapse under the weight of our collective self-absorption, but I don’t understand why I should have to walk with my eyes forever downcast for fear of seeing a 50-year old bloke wearing Lycra that shows off all the wrong bulging bits. $3.52

Enough. The article made me laugh which is always much-needed. As did the one book of Tim Hallinan’s that I’ve read (so far, I do plan to read more).

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7 Responses to Link of the Week – Irritation Insurance

  1. kathy durkin says:

    Yes! Coughing and sneezing and also subjecting us to loud cell phone conversations, in which we have no interest but must hear one side no matter where we are; talk-back radio of ranting, angry people who happen to have radio programs. Lycra suits on middle-aged people–I have rarely seen this. But I’ll avoid it. Great idea, though.


  2. Can I add a few? I would suggest insurance against:

    a. people who listen to their music so loud on the train that I am listening to it as well. How hard is it to turn it down to a volume that they can hear and I cannot?

    b. people chewing gum and eating on the train with their mouths wide open? You can also breathe through your nose, and that way we don’t have to see or hear the disgusting activity taking place in the mouth.

    Hmm, both train activities. Clearly I spend too much time on the train to and from work 🙂


  3. Clearly we can have a whole category just for public transport 🙂

    As for Lycra Kathy – be grateful you haven’t seen this too much – where I live it is the new ‘in’ thing – people ride to work then spend hours wandering around the office in their kit just to prove that they rode to work – I do not want to see the bulging bits of my colleagues


  4. Bernadette – What a wonderful, wonderful idea! I would gladly pay for Irritation Insurance. Coming a bit closer to the literary world, I would like Blurb Insurance for books. Why is it that blurbs on books so rarely tell you what the book is really about. For every book I buy where the blurb is not honest, I want insurance!


  5. Excellent addition Margot, I too would like a few dollars back every time I suffer from an inaccurate blurb


  6. Maxine says:

    All great ideas – I would subscribe to these – people yakking loudly on their phones on the train really annoy me (esp in the morning when most people are quietly reading paper or book). The “leaking eardrum” syndrome is very irritating, and so are the heaps and heaps of ratty free newspapers everyone leaves all over the seats, floors etc.
    Agreed on the blurbs too – honesty and not giving away too much of the novel! Also, can one insure against “rent a quote” blurb writers?!


  7. kathy durkin says:

    Wow, there are so many irritations, especially in a big city. I’d like to add also people standing in front of you on a sidewalk or in a store aisle and not moving when you need to walk by, even if you say “Excuse me!” I’m adding loud cell phone conversations, as I said above, not only on the trains and buses, but also on the sidewalks and in doctors/dentists’, other offices, where one can’t escape hearing about someone’s problems, the clothing they’re wearing to a party and more personal stuff. Also, in addition to the point on book blurbs, I want to add “spoiler blurbs” and “spoiler reviews.”


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