Sure, He's Rich. But Is He Happy? Why the big guy always has something to bitch about.
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I'm annoyed. I'm annoyed all the time. I'm hoping there is a cure. But I fear there is not. At the end, I am convinced, I will see that big white light coming at me from the end of the last tunnel...and it will annoy me.

Why should this be?

I wake up at 6 A.M. My first feeling? I'm annoyed. I lie in bed thinking. Why am I annoyed? It's so early. The sun is almost shining. The day, she is dawning. Why am I, therefore, annoyed? I don't know. I rise from my bed. I realize that my first challenge is to find an object for my annoyance.

It doesn't take long. The limo to the airport that is supposed to arrive at 7 A.M. has failed in its duty. It has instead arrived at 6:40. A sane person might appreciate the fact that the limo company, mindful of the incandescent display of annoyance I made at the lateness of my last Town Car, has elected to show up early. I am not, however, appreciative. I feel pressured by the early arrival of the Town Car. It makes me rush my shower. I hate to rush my shower.

Tomorrow I must present a small collection of insights to a number of key executives in L.A. Their decisions will have an impact on my budget next year. I feel unprepared. Should I bomb, it would suck. I cannot, at this point in my career, suck. I mentally probe my midsection and, sure enough, discover a knot the size of a mango pit germinating there.

I notice that the limo I am riding in is insufficiently chilled. The driver has it cranked up all the way, but it's still a bit stuffy in here. Christ! I also realize that there is not a functional cellular phone in the Town Car. This pisses me off so badly that I fear, were I not a civilized person, I would seize the windpipe of the driver, who I'm sure is otherwise a very nice chap. I say chap because I want to appear congenial. I feel anything but. I am nervous and irritable, and the fact that there is no working phone in this vehicle makes me use my personal phone and drain its batteries. Pah!

There are two things that must be done back at headquarters while I am on the plane to the coast, or I will be poorly positioned in regard to a critical issue with the chairman. I am not sure that either of them will be done. This is not anyone's fault per se. But the fact that it is not anyone's fault means that it is mine. There is far too much traffic. We are moving too slowly. Out of the way!

At the airport, finally, the line for the first-class passengers is longer than it should be. Several of the people behind the counter are indulging in what appears to be human discourse and seem altogether too jolly. I have been waiting for more than a minute. I am annoyed at them. Get a move on, you idiots!

At the counter, I find out that I have not succeeded in achieving the exact aisle seat, right in the middle of the section, in which I like to travel. This means that I will have to climb over someone's legs when I elect to go to the lavatory and perhaps have too long a walk to get there. I am annoyed that I do not have this preferred position in first class. After all, I am an ambassador!

Now the attendant has collected everyone's suit jacket but mine. I am standing here like a toadstool! Doesn't she know who I am? I'm me! Ah. Finally. That was annoying.

Some big goofus comes into my personal space and tells me his name is Steve and that it will be his pleasure to serve me on this flight. He insists on shaking my hand. Grr. I decide to check and see whether my return ticket is safe in the breast pocket of the jacket. When I go to look, I find it was not hung up in an excellent fashion. Several hours of that treatment could have resulted in an unbecoming crease. Fool! Nitwit! Incompetent 'droid!

The goddamned nuts aren't even all that hot. Nope. Look at this. Ice cold. You pay, like, $800 extra for a couple of hot nuts and they're basically lukewarm. And there aren't enough cashews. Pathetic weasels. Should I complain? What good would it do? They would return ironically overheated, I know that. Forget it. Nuts!

I try to use the phone provided for my convenience, since they want to make money on the deal instead of letting me use my own, which is annoying. The implement doesn't work. Pfui.

As we get ready to land in L.A., Steve brings me my jacket five minutes early. I have to sit with it on my lap. It makes my lap warm. I hate a warm lap. I believe that Steve brought me my jacket at a time that was convenient for him, not me. You know how that makes me feel. Dolt. Stooge.

We land. In the Town Car to the hotel, which I admit grudgingly is fine, I call my secretary in New York. It seems that a call I've been waiting for just came in not two minutes ago. I call the guy back. He's not in his office. Apparently he has stepped away. I hate it when people step away. And that's not all. At the restaurant, where I'm grabbing a lunch far too quickly, my waitperson, whose name I possess but do not need, asks me whether I'm still working on my salad. I'm annoyed by this phrase too. I always have been. I am not deconstructing this salad with a pneumatic drill. I'm not evaluating it with a new piece of software. I'm not working on it at all. I'm eating it. I'm also annoyed that it's a salad and not a steak.

Later on I'm annoyed that the towels are a little threadbare at the hotel gym. Back at the room, I'm annoyed that the pay-per-view movie I want is not immediately available. I'm annoyed that my meeting room shows evidence of the gathering that was held there just prior. I'm annoyed that it's too hot out, and I pop a small sweat in the short distance between the meat locker limo and the arctic chill of the L.A. office. I'm annoyed at somebody who greets me too loudly and affectionately, and at one who does not greet me at all. I'm annoyed at myself for being annoyed.

In short, I'm a butthead.

My meeting goes fine, by the way. And look! I am filled with bonhomie, even when I find there are no pistachio nuts in my honor bar at the hotel. I remain jovial for two hours and 14 minutes, until, in the hotel bathroom before going out that evening, it occurs to me that I'm completely unprepared for the presentation in Las Vegas that's coming up in just a couple of weeks' time. Bud will be there, and Ned and Ted and Roger and Bitsy and the entire national marketing squad!

And why are there no Q-Tips in this goddamned dispenser, goddamn it!

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name.