17 October 2009

Two Annoying Habits


Tapping the top of a soda or beer can before opening it, and tapping the end of a cigarette pack before opening it. People do it. It's annoying.

As I understand it, drinkers of canned refreshments think flicking the top of a the can before opening it will prevent a burst of liquid upon opening the vessel; and cigarette smokers who tap the carton are aiming at packing the tobacco tightly next to the filter so as to achieve a slower, smoother, more flavorful smoking experience.

Now, I don't really care to argue the efficacy of these tappings and whether they accomplish anything or not. Many have argued about the habits in the past and the general conclusion seems to be the practices may or may not achieve their ends. I am merely proposing that it is a habit as annoying a clipping your toenails on the subway or talking loudly on your cell phone in a crowded area, and should not be carried out in a public place.

I admit I have a long-held personal bias against these affectations (and I do consider them to be, at least in part, affectations). I first encountered can and pack flickers in college, and I may have developed my negative view of the actions because they were invariably carried out by jerks. Usually men. Jockish, boorish men who belonged to fraternities. They'd tap at their cans and they'd smack at their packs with such obvious, self-satisfied relish, you knew that they thought they were just the bomb for knowing such nifty tricks for making the brew not explode and their cig taste better. It was like a secret skeleton key they were sticking in the lock of a private club every time they hammered away at their oral pleasures. "Yeah, dude! I'm smakin' the pack. Smackin' the pack, dude. Makin' it happen."

I guess I still see the people who tap and flick in this light. They are show-offs, pompous jack-asses. I think they perform their little monkey tricks not out of fear of excessive carbonation or to achieve the perfect puff, but to cull a bit of attention to their innate coolness. Why? Because they always do it like a half-time show, in full view of the general public. Never sitting, always standing. Never do you see them quietly clicking at the soda can top in their cubicle, or giving the pack a few muffled claps while sitting on a park bench. No, it's always in the middle of the sidewalk or in the center of the party. They tap away, loud and clear, 10, 15, 20, a ridiculous amount of times until everyone sees them do it. Then they open their can or take out their perfect cancer stick as we supposedly revel in amazement and wonder how we could one day possibly be as in-the-know as they.

And, you know, there's another way to make sure your can won't erupt. Put it on a table and let it sit still for a couple minutes. Of course, nobody would notice that much, would they?

12 comments:

photodudeimages said...

Let's give some slack to the minor transgressors like these and complain about major annoying people - such as those who fart in elevators.

Mykola Dementiuk said...

When I used to smoke I would pack the tobacco down in a pack because it came loose in traveling and shipping; tasted better packed that way too.

I never bothered with a can of beer, I always loved that tiny spray that would erupt before you guzzled it down with your first swallow, or second, or third...guzzle guzzle guzzle...

Ken Mac said...

i always associate a certain cool factor with tapping the cigarette pack. Call me a sucker. It's very Steve McQueen. And what did he die of....?

Jason A said...

Couldn't agree more on both counts. Let's add those who pound the bottom of Snapple bottles with their palms before opening them.

SAL said...

I'm a packer. And I'm also a quiet, attention-avoiding person. I find packing smokes has no effect on taste, rather I can smoke faster and with less strain. I prefer not doing this in public, but when I do, it's usually done quickly and out of people's faces. Anything can be made obnoxious when manners aren't applied. I also use my cell phone in public, but never in a way that would intrude on someone's personal space. Basically, I think you have a problem with assholes. Me too.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I like your comment, SAL. Well phrased.

mingusal said...

I love a lot of your blog, and agree with you on a lot of things, but goodness you're a touchy fellow sometimes. It's always seemed to me, as someone who grew up in a big city, that ignoring the slight quirks or habits of others is part of living and enjoying life in a densely populated place. Does something this small really bother you enough to spur a rant like this? Do you always judge the entirety of people's characters by small anonymous non-threatening actions that they take? How do you stand being amongst 8 million plus potential deeply annoying deed-doers everyday?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I'm touchy, Mingusal, I admit it. I mean, anyone reading this blog can figure that out. People do irritate me a lot, but I also love them (if that doesn't sound stupid). Isn't that the great paradox of New Yorkers: we're irritable and always complaining, yet we manage to get along with each other every day.

I sometimes use this blog to vent my frustrations with the tendencies of mankind, and stanch the flow of my ever-growing misanthropy, which always threatens to swamp me. And I don't want it to swamp me.

That said, I meant the post to be more for amusement than a rant. Guess I failed.

mingusal said...

It doesn't sound stupid at all. I have some of the same tendencies, but perhaps a thicker skin. Nice response Brooks. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No, I think this clearly came across as amusement rather than rant

L'Emmerdeur said...

It's nice to see that there are others in this world who are even more fussy than I am about the behavior of others.

I find neither of these behaviors offensive, unless they are done in an offensive manner (loud tapping or packing, wildly gesticulating, doing it in the middle of the sidewalk) - but that goes for any behavior, doesn't it?

As an ex-smoker, I can tell you why the smokes are packed: if the tobacco remains loose, the burning tip can fly off when you flick the cigarette to get rid of the extra ashes. This is very annoying and potentially dangerous. Packing the tobacco pretty much guarantees the burning "cherry" remains on the cigarette, regardless of flicking or high winds.

Caroline, No. said...

Hilarious. They annoy me too. (Oh, I put a smiley face emoticon then but have removed it - for fear of annoying you.)