Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pet Peeves

Note: I'm interrupting my "I didn't know how many parts" series about my parents' friends with a public service commercial break.

Almost everyone except Kim Jong Il and a few others of his ilk are disturbed by things like nuclear war, but most of us are bothered by matters that might be considered somewhat trivial by others but, on a day-to-day basis, actually give us more grief than the big problems in life, i.e. political assassinations, home invasion robberies, and the fact that Sarah Palin's name and face continue to pop up in the media. I'm talking about pet peeves, and we all have them.

I've learned from watching "Judge Alex" that one of Judge Ferrer's pet peeves is women who call the police or initially press charges for domestic abuse, then either drop the charges or, even worse, let the "abuser" move back in with them. He probably has oher more oersonal pet peeves along the lines of other people not squeezing toothpaste properly or people toucning his Harley and leaving fingerprints, but he doesn't talk about those things on television.

My cyber-friend Rebecca is peeved by the medical system in general, but specifically by doctors who are not truthful. When she is someday healthy, she will write a book called Lying Lies and the Doctors Who Tell Them.

My friend Megan's pet peeve is her mother's penchant for taking Megan's cell phone away from her for the slightest slip-up on Megan's part. One missed assignment should not euqate with the confiscation of one's only means of communication with the outside world. Megan's mother grounds her and takes away her laptop as well. Megan might as well live under the old USSR regime.

My friend Ian's pet peeve is the judging process utilized in high school diving. In our league, diving is an under-recognized sport. The coaches and a third body grabbed off the street by the hosting school perform the judging tasks. Some coaches are fair, as ours is. Some coaches consistently score their own divers higher. The bottom line is that the hosting school's team has a huge advantage at every diving meet. Can you imagine a high school football game where one coach from each team plus a third body the home team plucked from the stands did all the officiating? Of course you couldn't, because it would never happen, but the rationale is that football pays for itself and many other sports, and maybe it wouldn't with that form of officiating. Wrestling, on the other hand, does not pay for itself, yet has objective paid officials. Diving doesn't require paid officials. The athletic directors of each school could provide between five and ten judges, who would judge other schools' meets. The CIF budget could probably even pay for the judges' gas, or even offer a small stipend, by eliminating CIF dinners hosted and paid for by the CIF. (I'm sorry for using an acronym without defining it. CIF refers to California Intersholastic Federation, which is the governing body for California high School sports.) Coaches and athletic directors could pay for their own meals in a perfect world.

My mother doesn't like it when people crack their knuckles. She comes unglued when students use double negatives or use the word "seen" in place of "saw" when speaking to her. She doesn't care what they say when she can't hear it, but if they say it to her or write it in a college application essay, the normally calm if grouchy (I could use a more precise description of her recent demeanor that begins with the letter b, but I won't use it because, while I may be stupid at times, I'm not suicidal) woman turns rabid. My mother also goes all pre-menstrual on us when someone leaves the top to the grand piano up and the cat crawls inside. OK, so one time she saw it open and closed it without checking inside to make sure the cat wasn't in there, and the cat, who had access to air but not a litter box, did what it needed to do. The piano technician charged something like three-hundred dollars to replace whatever the cat excerment had ruined, but in the grand scheme of things, when people are dying of the ebola virus and corruption is happening in government all around us, are three hundred dollars and a little cat poop inside a piano sufficient reasons to practically cancel Christmas?

My father is highly irritated by people who have loud cell phone conversations in restaurants. Under ordinary circumstances he's a law-abiding citizen, but he is considering purchasing some sort of device that interferes with cell phone reception in one's immediate proximity just so that he can jam up cell phone conversations in restaurants. The noise the callers make when their calls are dropped will be at least as loud as what they were when they were conversing on their cell phones. It's just that my dad would get perverse satisfaction in seeing the anger on their faces when they couldn't get a signal. His secondary pet peeve is when baseball players make the sign of the cross before batting. He is a Catholic, although not the world's most devout or adherent one. Still, he says that it degrades the sign of the cross when one uses it for that purpose. If it were clear that the person were doing it in prayer that no one would be harmed, he says, it would be a little different, but why would a player all of a sudden become concerned about everyone's wellness just at the instant he came up to bat? The batter making the sign of the cross is clearly pulling the Jesus card in hope for a base hit or better, which is ludicrous, my father says (he doesn't actually say "ludicrous; he says he stopped using that word when Mike Tyson started using it) because Jesus has bigger fish to fry than base hits, ERA's, wins, losses or anything else in baseball or other sports. He is equally disgusted by Superbowl MVP's thanking God for the win, the award, and everything else. He says it's against what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount about not making such public displays of religious devotion. At other times, such as when the cable goes out during overtime in a crucial game, the language he uses would indicate that my dad is not overly concerned about what Jesus, Moses, Peter, Paul, the Mother of God, or God himself said in the sermon on the mount or anywhere else. (Sorry, Daddy. I'm merely calling it as I see it.)

My brother's pet peeves relate mostly to food. If someone else has ungraciously consumed the approximately one tablespoon of ice cream that he left in its carton in the freezer, he is greatly peeved. It doesn't matter that he consumed the remainder of the container without sharing it with anyone. He is greatly peeved that my parents insist that he use a cup or glass when drinking milk, as opposed to drinking straight from the plastic jug. He thinks that he should have his own private gallon of milk from which he can drink straight out of its container at any time, including at the dinner table, and even if President Obama happens to be present for the meal. When that container of milk is consumed, the next container should automatically become his private container from which to drink even if it's the last one in the refrigerator. No one else really needs milk, he thinks, or at least not as much as he does. (I don't even like milk unless it has chocolate in it. My brother's selfishness is my point.) As you can readily observe, my brother is a primal creature whose concerns revolve primarily around himself, food, where he's going to get his next fix, and who might get between him and what he wants to eat.

I would like to say that I have no pet peeves because I am above that sort of thing and instead occupy my mind with global concerns, but I would be lying if I really said that. Other than terrorism and world hunger, what I really hate is when the associated student body president recites the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom each school day. I especially am irritated by the pauses as though there is a comma between "one nation" and "under God." It's "one nation under God," not "one nation[stop long enough to smoke a cigarette or blow one's nose], under God." Get it right or don't say it at all, morons. (Another of my mother's pet peeves is the use of moron, imbecile, or idiot as insults because they were once clinical terms for categorical levels of mental retardation. That's ancient history, Mom. Get over it. We insult each other with those words now. The doctors and psychologists no longer own them.) Furthermore, why do we have to have the associated student body president or any other imbecile (Is your blood pressure rising, Mom?) reciting the pledge over the intercom? Students were saying the Pledge of Allegiance more or less effectively (although probably still taking that almost five-minute break between "one nation' and "under God") since long before intercoms were installed in schools. Are the school administrators afraid that if it isn't blasted over the intercom, some rogue teacher might skip the pledge? For that matter, how can anyone know without installing spy cameras that some teachers aren't teaching right through it and ignoring the pledge anyway?

If somoeone with a voice like James Earl Jones were available to recite the pledge every day on the intercom, I'd have no problem with hearing it. Instead, this year we'll hear it from a female student with a denasal voice and a slight lateral lisp. When she's not available, the voice heard over the intercom will be a male voice that still squeaks on occasion due to that delightful process we all know as puberty. I can hardly wait.

Another of my peeves is gum carelessy deposited on the ground, but the annoyance factor regarding that needs no further clarification.

Feel free to share your own pet peeves in the comments section.


  1. You know me far too well! :) I really can't stand lying doctors, or anyone lying for that matter. But, doctors REALLY take the top on that!

    I also can't stand small children with dirty feet, hearing someone else's {loud} music while driving, surgeons and doctor's who smoke while wearing scrubs and messy people in general. :)

  2. Becca,

    Doctors who smoke while wearing scrubs just about takes the cake. I hate to go barefoot. If I had been able to talk when I was first born, I'm sure I would have told the doctors and nurses to put socks and shoes on my feet. I can't stand dirty feet on anyone -- especially myself -- but I'd agree about small children. I totally agree about drivers who impose their choices in music upon everyone else on the road, especially when they have the bass cranked up so loudly that it gives other drivers and passengers headaches.

    Good news: My English teacher called my house and was so taken with my blog about "the Ratzlaffs" (she works with the wife) that she counted it for seven blogs, so I have only two more to go. I don't have to write more senseless drivel, or at least not more senseless than what I normally write, just to fill up pages, two more posts I can habdle in the next twenty-eight hours or so.

    My mom is almost human again. How are you feeling?


  3. Pet Peeves. Gosh, there are so many of them. Mine is people who play music really, REALLY loud in their cars.