The Birth of Annoying In The New World
The year was 1620. The Mayflower sailed across the vast blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Those aboard waited anxiously to start their new lives in America. One day, as a heavy storm shook the vessel, seven-year-old Jasper More asked his mother, “Are we there yet?” Then he asked it again. And again. And again. Thus bringing about the birth of annoying in The New World.
Stop Copying Me, Clark!
In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark set off on a US transcontinental exploration mission with young Sacajawea as their guide. During their travels, Lewis and Clark struggled to find ways to entertain themselves. One day, they began to mimic all of Sacajawea’s words and actions. They laughed and laughed, playing for hours until Sacajawea would became exasperated and retreat to her tent. Among all the discoveries made by Lewis and Clark, The Copy Cat Game was perhaps the most influential. Sacajawea was later rewarded for her patience with her very own dollar coin. Only 200 years later!
In the year 1943, many Americans decided it would be cool to pack up the family wagon and head down The Oregon Trail. Despite being trendy, it proved to be far more difficult than expected. One day a young lad named Bobby was told to secure the wagon. He asked, “Why?” Father said because they needed to ford the river. Bobby asked, “Why?” Father said because a storm is coming. Bobby asked, “Why?” Father said, “Do as I say or you will get dysentery and die!” Young Bobby later died of a snakebite, his trail-side tombstone simply read: “Why?”
Just How Bored Are You?
The 1860s brought new developments to travel, perhaps the most important being The Transcontinental Railroad. Rail travel meant no more fording rivers, hunting bison and trading livestock. Life on the railroad was a breeze, though the lack of activity often led to boredom amongst younger travelers. In fact, during a two-week long rail trip, one little girl uttered the phrase “I’m bored” over 5,000 times— a record that stands to this day.
How many bottles of beer on the wall?
Despite tales of walking five miles to and from school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways, school buses became popular around the 1950s. Kids across the country quickly decided to fill these trips with song. With the days of Prohibition behind us, one of the more popular of these school bus songs was ‘99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall.’ The repetitive lyrics of this song proved to be timeless and were heard pouring from passing school buses for generations to come.
The ‘60s and ‘70s brought us family road trips to exotic locations like The Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. These trips often included days of travel, many siblings and a station wagon. Among new advancements made during these fun family vacations were: “Not Touching Can’t Get Mad,” “Tickle Fights” and “Punch Buggy.” All three were renowned for starting with laughter and ending with tears.
Due to its widespread accessibility, television has always been influential to American culture. Therefore, it is not surprising how much TV has shaped the nation’s annoying. Among the obnoxious songs and phrases that have spread like wildfire through American youth, some of the most painful came from a little show called Lamb Chop’s Play-Along. This program introduced songs such as ‘This Is The Song That Doesn’t End’ and ‘I Know A Song That Gets On Everybody’s Nerves.’ Parents and bus drivers everywhere begged the question, “Why Shari Lewis? Why????”
The ‘90s and ‘00s were full of fun new technological advancements. Handheld video games, portable music players and cell phones became enormously popular with the new generations. These devices proved to be interesting distractions during long trips. However, the downside was quickly discovered: volume control. Mothers everywhere were driven mad by the incessant bickering over competing volumes of children’s electronic devices. It was common to hear the phrase “Just turn it off!” screamed from a tired parent in an SUV during this era.
The Downfall of Annoying
In 2035, the legalization of teleportation hit the nation like a tidal wave. The overall decibel level in the country went down due to the lowering of voices throughout the land. Tourism skyrocketed, while sales of headache medication plummeted. For the first time in The History of Annoying In America, annoyance levels declined. It was a beautiful thing. Children and grown-ups rejoiced alike at no longer having to suffer through annoyance-filled travel!
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