Everyone is known for pet peeves that set them off.

We each have a story to tell about that one thing – you know, that one damn thing – that lights us up like Las Vegas at night.

If I asked your friends, family and co-workers what sets you off, what would they tell me? My wife Melinda would say it's people who touch her computer monitor screen with their grimy hands.

Want to know what two of my biggest ones are before you tell me yours in the comments?

These are actually well kept secrets, disclosed in confidence to a handful of people…until now.

Massive Annoyance Number 1

On the outside I might seem calm. That's because I'm spending all my mental energy on not causing a scene that gets me put in jail or kicked out of the room.

The culprit? Paper towel usage.

I accept no rationalizing or justifications for why a person needs to use more than one paper towel to dry their hands.

If the City of Denton didn't already come up with a paper towel poster activity I might have to create one myself. This is tastefully done, beating any nasty-gram I could think of posting in restrooms saying “Don't let me catch you using more than one paper towel or else!”

Threats from the City

I'm the kind of guy who rips paper towel sheets in half when cleaning. I'm also the guy who rips off one-tenth of a sheet when I need to dry some produce that's just been washed (assuming I don't have time to let it air dry).

Massive Annoyance Number 2

Excessive water use, primarily from faucets and sprinklers.

Are you the person who:

  • Has their sprinklers going when it's raining outside?
  • Has their sprinkler system timed to run every day, even when the grass is already a blinding shade of bright green?
  • Runs the water – full blast – the entire time you're doing dishes after dinner?

If you answered yes to any of these questions we might have a problem here.

If you're going to use a sprinkler at least follow Popular Mechanic's advice on the topic. If you don't, I might have to petition your city to start fining you for excessive sprinkler use.

So now you know two of my all-time biggest annoyances. How are we going to use annoyances like these to make the world more awesome?

The Annoyance Challenge

I am setting up the framework of what I'm calling The Annoyance Challenge.

This will be a contest to encourage and show people how the power of annoyance can generate positive change.

And there will be prizes!

But this is where you come in. I need your help – yes, you specifically – in designing The Annoyance Challenge. Here is the core question I need help answering.

How do you use the major annoyances in life to make your environment, community or the world a better place?

To help get the mental juices flowing, here are some forms this might take:

  • A public education campaign
  • Something worthy of the President's Save Award
  • An ass kicking, take no prisoners, “the power of my idea will overwhelm you” message
  • Tweaking an existing concept that makes more sense to people. I'm not the first one to think of ripping my paper towels in half or using a cloth towel to dry things.

I'll focus on the what and the why but I need your help on the how side of things. With your valuable feedback, I'll create the guidelines for The Annoyance Challenge and get this baby launched!

Action Items

I hope you're starting to see how to use your annoyances to make your community a better place. But it's essential we do it in a non-annoying way or we might as well kiss progress good-bye.

Can you come up with an idea as powerful as “These Come From Trees“?

Can I summarize an annoyance with a single picture that moves people to action?


Join me for the upcoming Annoyance Challenge!

But remember: I need your feedback! Help me answer my core question in the comments and even share your own massive annoyances if you feel like venting.

Photo Credit: miltedflower