Dear Annie: I have increasingly noticed how loud people can be in public places. On a recent short regional flight, I sat in front of two men who I quickly learned work for the same large company. They began chatting about their lives from the moment we left the gate and didn't stop until we landed. One man spoke with an appropriate indoor voice, but the other was incredibly loud. I put earplugs in and even pulled my hoodie over my head, to no avail. I could neither read nor nap.
Here are some facts I learned: This man flunked out of college due to partying and drinking. He has massive credit card debt and is counting on an inheritance from his mother when she dies. He's taking his wife to the Caribbean in two weeks. He lives in a nice suburb. He hates his boss. He isn't terribly fond of his wife, either, and he'd love to sleep with Scarlett Johansson.
I exited the plane exhausted and angry, but I didn't confront him. If this type of incident happens again, what would you suggest I do? — Heard Too Much
Dear Heard: We, too, are often surprised to hear people giving out personal details and private information at the top of their lungs. Sometimes this indicates a hearing problem. It is a dangerous practice, as this information can be used by those who are not well-intentioned. Knowing where someone works and lives and that he will be gone for two weeks is inviting a break-in. And any stranger could be a close friend of his boss, which could cost him his job.
Nonetheless, his personal life is not your concern. As a fellow passenger, you are entitled to ask him politely to turn down the volume so you can get some rest, or ask the flight attendant to do it for you.
Dear Annie: Why are TV shows that depict medical scenes so graphic? I imagine it's an attempt at realism, but it's disgusting to see. Do they have so little respect for their audiences that this is the only way to increase ratings? Our society has become absolutely numb to the gore that we are subjected to each day, and most of it is totally unnecessary.
I've watched medical and police dramas for years, and they don't need such graphic details to create a storyline and keep viewers interested. If I wanted to see realistic views of someone's body parts being removed, I would have become a doctor. It's worse if I am eating while watching TV. This kind of thing makes me want to throw up, so I have given up watching some otherwise good programs. And I'd be willing to bet that the majority of audience members feel the same way.
Please print this letter so that the creators know how some of us feel about their determination to make everything so graphic. We're tuning out because we are tired of the blood and guts. — S.
Dear S.: The rise of cable TV spurred a great deal of competition as to who can show more than the other guy. There are restrictions on network television when it comes to sex and language, but not so much about graphic violence, so that's where it gets amped up. We agree that showing so much is nauseating as well as desensitizing.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.