The Funny Art of Complaining

Feel aggrieved? Don’t stew. Raise a stink! These people did.

By Andy Simmons | Reader's Digest Magazine

Philip Roth attempts to edit his own Wikipedia pageJust Plain Incredulous
Writer Philip Roth recently took to the pages of the New Yorker to share his disbelief that a popular online resource did not consider him an expert on the works of Philip Roth.

“I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel The Human Stain. This item entered Wikipedia not from the world of truthfulness but from the babble of literary gossip—there is no truth in it at all. Yet when … I petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, [I was told] that I was not a credible source: ‘I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on his own work,’ writes the Wikipedia administrator—‘but we require secondary sources.’ ”

Bring Out the Big Guns
Jerry Wojcik signed up to get three to five text messages a week from the Buffalo Bills. When he started getting six or seven, he decided that that was just too much for a football fan to read, so he sued the NFL team to the tune of $500 per “unlawful” message.

Not to be outdone was Warren Nyerges. He paid cash for his house in Naples, Florida, so he was surprised when Bank of America foreclosed on it. The dispute was settled after Nyerges hired a lawyer. But the bank refused to pay Nyerges’s legal fees. So Nyerges turned the tables and foreclosed on Bank of America. His lawyer, accompanied by a sheriff, arrived at a bank branch with the intention of confiscating money, furniture, and computers—worth the equivalent of what they were owed. A moving truck was even parked outside. The bank quickly produced a check for the fee.

—Sources: ESPN, Time

Complaint of Lasting Interest
A night at the opera was ruined for the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw when a fellow patron of the arts took her seat in front of him wearing a feathered nightmare. Shaw was so horror-struck, that he penned this screed to the London Times:

“At nine o’clock (the opera began at eight), a lady came in and sat down very conspicuously in my line of sight. She remained there until the beginning of the last act. I do not complain of her coming late and going early; on the contrary, I wish she had come later and gone earlier. For this lady, who had very black hair, had stuck over her right ear the pitiable corpse of a large white bird, which looked exactly as if someone had killed it by stamping on the beast and then nailed it to the lady’s temple, which was presumably of sufficient solidity to bear the operation. I am not, I hope, a morbidly squeamish person; but the spectacle sickened me … I once, in Drury Lane Theatre, sat behind a matinee hat decorated with the two wings of a seagull, artificially reddened at the joints so as to produce the illusion of being freshly plucked from a live bird. But 
even that lady stopped short of a whole seagull.”


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