Pet Peeves

In a fit of truthfulness, I bet we’d all admit that we have pet peeves. Those little things others do that really annoy us. Some even have the propensity to get us so wound up, so ready to snap, that we usually have to block our eyes or ears, or just walk away, to avoid a scene about something that, in the grand scheme of things, is really rather petty.

Like people who constantly crack their knuckles. Does that drive anyone besides me crazy? My kids do it all the time and I lash right out with a stern “stop it”. And they will listen. Sometimes. But knuckle cracking is apparently best performed in groups of eight or ten, depending upon whether or not you crack the thumbs. And I’ve found that if my kids still have a couple of cracks to go to finish the cycle, they’ll fire those last few off quickly, even after my warning. Because they know all I’ll do is just stare at them for three seconds more. Guess it’s worth the momentary discomfort of the ‘hairy eyeball’ to complete the cycle.

Guys wearing hats inside is another peeve of mine. It’s particularly grating if the guy is in a restaurant, sitting at a table. As kids, we were raised to believe that it’s poor form for a man to wear a hat inside, and practically a sin if he does so while seated at the table. It’s tantamount to burping or passing gas while you eat. Falls into the Bad Manners category. Emily Post’s great grandmother probably concocted the “no hat” rule, but it’s such a tradition, I’d really like to see it remain intact. I’m saddened when I see first and second generation hat wearers at the same table in a restaurant. I try to sit far away from them. Because they may not know that burping and passing gas at the table are poor manners too.

In the generation gap category, I’m just not persuaded that the fashion of boys wearing their pants down past their hips is really all that attractive to girls. Someone needs to convince me that girls find it fashionable to see six inches of a boy’s boxer underwear above his pants, with the crotch of his jeans dangling around his knees as he walks on four inches of his pants cuffs. I may be old-fashioned, but I was raised to wear this thing called a belt, specifically to avoid that situation. My grandfather would have worn suspenders. His grandfather, probably a tunic. But I can only hope that this fashion fades before someone dies tripping on his pants cuffs.

Fashion beyond clothing does present its own set of pet peeves. I wouldn’t deny anyone the right to attach something permanent to his or her body to, heaven forbid, make a statement. Knock yourself out. We grew our hair long as kids, to express our own individuality. Radical, huh? Today, tattoos seem to be a popular method of expression. You can have anything permanently etched into your skin. Of course, I’m not so sure that a tattoo of a skull and crossbones etched into a young lady’s backside at the age of eighteen will actually have the same meaning to her at the age of sixty (if it had any meaning to begin with). But you go, girl! Do it up!

However, the fashion that really gets to me is the venerable tongue ring. Is there really a reason for that? Does a fashion, which requires you to stick your tongue out to be noticed have any real meaning? And what about eating? How do you chew meat? Does spaghetti get wrapped around a tongue ring and hang with you all day? If the thing comes loose, can it choke you? These are vital questions requiring no answers. Because truthfully, just the appearance of a tongue ring says it all.

I have domestic peeves too. And once in awhile, I also have fun with a few of them. I’m bothered when someone leaves half an inch of milk in the jug. It’s always when I open the refrigerator, thirsty for a big glass of milk. I’m never convinced that the last person couldn’t have just polished that little bit off and retrieved a new gallon from the basement refrigerator (and therein lies the real motive). In cases like this, I’ve been known to drain the jug down to about a quarter of an inch, fill the rest of my milk glass from the basement refrigerator, then hang around when the guilty party reaches in for his or her next glass of milk – and complains. Lesson learned? Sometimes!

We also recycle in our house, and have a storage box just outside the back door to collect these items. But, you know, it requires opening the door and walking two feet to place recyclables in that container. And on occasion, someone who is too lazy to do that, will build a little pile of cans, plastic, and cardboard on the floor next to the door. That really fries me. So more often that not, when I see such a pile, someone will peel back the bedcovers that same night, only to find a neat stack of recyclables under the blanket. Great family fun.

I’ve a ton of other peeves too. Drivers who veer off the road while talking on a cell phone or applying makeup. Kids who kick my seat at the movies. Cigarette smoke and those smokers who think the earth is their ashtray. Bad English. Customer service people who shouldn’t be.

And I’m sure you have your peeves too. But let’s sweep them all aside for awhile, shall we? Because it really ticks me off when all we do is complain.

Visit Londonderry Hometown Online News every Tuesday Morning for another one of Joe’s great columns! Select “Share this story” and tell a friend Joe is back!


Joe’s Two Cents – It’s Great To Be Alive is Joe Paradis’ first published book and gathers 40 of his most popular stories, enhancing them with humorous photography. The book is a compilation of forty of Joe’s best short stories.

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Joe Paradis is one of Londonderry’s most popular columnists and authors. Visit his web site at www.joes2cents.com today and order his latest autographed book, “It’s Great to Be Alive!”

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