Jim Siergey: Resolute Shuns

December 27th, 2019

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions but I’ve been thinking about doing so for the upcoming year.

It will be 2020 so attempting to have clarity in one’s life, to see things clearly, to rid oneself of all interfering astigmatism seems to make sense.

First of all I would like to cease turning inconsequential things into ulcer-producing episodes. There are, I must admit, little things that irk me to no end.

One thing that particularly irks me is how the print media now refers to Chicago’s rapid transit system. I am, of course, referring to the inexplicable usage of the term, the “L”.

The “L”!??!  What in the Blue Line Blazes is that supposed to mean? Any true Chicagoan knows that it is called “the el”. “El”, of course, is short for “elevated” because the train runs on an elevated track in a loop around the downtown area (hence the moniker “The Loop”).  I suppose that’s where the “L’ comes into play, initializing The Loop. But the el runs elevated in other places beyond the Loop so it makes no sense.

Not to me anyway. Even freaking Wikipedia refers to it as the “L”. I’d like to meet the misinformed namby pamby pantywaist who wrote that entry. I’d give him a two-fisted verbal lashing the likes of which he’d never experienced before.  Hear me now, I don’t care how inundated I will get with print referrals to the “L”. To me it will be “the el” until they pry it from my cold, dead vocal cords!



Every Chicagoan knows this…


See what I mean?  I got a bit worked up over a silly thing like that.

I must learn to live with it, I guess.  I eventually learned to live with the CTA changing all the names of the various el lines to colors. No more Howard, Ravenswood or Lake. They’ve all been simplified into Red, Brown, Green, etc. A flagrant example of the continuation of the dumbing down of America, that’s what I call it.


Another thing that gets me worked up is the silly, petty and selfish maneuver that is now accepted as a Chicago tradition. I am, of course, referring to “dibs”. Be still, my rapidly beating heart.

“Dibs”, as every Chicagoan knows, is an activity that occurs in the winter, sometimes when only a few snow flakes flutter to the city streets, but reserved mainly for heavy snowfalls.  A Chicagoan, like every other Chicagoan, spends an hour or more digging his car out of a snow drift. Once he digs it out so he can motor away with it, he leaves behind pieces of furniture to save his spot.  Dibs!

This makes the neighborhoods of Chicago look like a demented rummage sale.

What irks me about this, besides the fact that it is a public street that no one has the legal right to claim any patch of as his own, is that anyone who parks in the spot that you’ve dug out very likely had to dig his car out as well!

But that’s not how it works in the City of Big Shoulders to Cry On. If you move someone’s ragtag furniture so you can park your vehicle you run the risk of finding it damaged when you return. “Gee, it d be a shame if your car caught on fire or something.”

However, I stand before you, holier than thou, as a prime example of a solid citizen and a man of the people and state that in all the many decades I have lived, with a car, in Chicago I have never, ever, not even once, “dibbed” a parking space that I had shoveled out. Where’s my goddamn blue ribbon?

Sheesh. I’ve gotten myself all worked up just writing about the things that get me all worked up and I’ve barely broken the initial paragraph of my list of irksome things. Why am I so bothered by this stuff?  I don’t even live in Chicago anymore!

Okay, 2020. I vow not to let these little things irk me any longer. There are plenty of bigger things to irk me. Don’t get me started.

In closing, let me wish to all my Third City readers a safe, happy, healthy and as best an irk-free new year that you can manage.


Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Dreamy Thanksgiving

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