Today I thought we would have a little fun with pet peeves. As you know, a pet peeve is something you find particularly annoying. It is usually something small. Some say the word “pet” is a shortened form of “petty.” But others say “pet” means particular to you. Who knows? The phrase originated in a comic strip called “The Little Pet Peeve” that ran in the Chicago Tribune from 1916-1920. The cartoonist, Frank King of Gasoline Alley fame, asked readers to submit their pet peeves and he illustrated them.
Pet peeves are not the same for everyone. What annoys the heck out of me may not bother you in the least—and visa-versa. Often pet peeves involve people close to us—a spouse, other family member, a roommate, or a colleague at work. I checked a number of websites and came up with this list of popular pet peeves. Do you see any of yours here?
People who: sneeze or cough without covering their mouth… interrupt constantly… leave common places (bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) messy… copy your idea and get credit for it… invade your personal space… let children scream and scream in public.
People who: complain a lot… whine a lot… drive too slow in the fast lane…do not use turn signals… park their car across two parking spaces… text while driving… who cut in front of you in line… who, when you let their car go in front of you in traffic, don’t say “thank you” with a wave.
People who: chew their food with their mouth open… who talk with food in their mouth… walk too slow… are just plain rude… show a lack of respect for others’ opinions… talk loudly and long on their cellphones in public places… are on their cellphones during meals… leave shopping carts in parking spaces… do not pick up after their dogs…
Other annoyances: slow internet… so many ads shown on TV and popping up everywhere on line… chronic tardiness… misusing words like your/you’re or they’re/their/there… overusing the word “like”… leaving only a little bit of something in a container and putting it back into the refrigerator.
As I looked at this list, I thought:
+ Parents, you have a BIG job, for you are primarily responsible for teaching your children basic social skills.
+ It definitely demands a certain level of patience and thoughtfulness to get along with other people.
+ Did Jesus have any pet peeves? He certainly was annoyed by hypocrites… and he got impatient with his apostles on a few occasions… and he became very angry at the money changers in the temple that day…
+ How can we deal with our pet peeves? I came up with three ways: 1) Share your annoyance (if appropriate) with the person who is annoying you. As someone has said, “The breakdown in all human relations is unstated expectations.” 2) Put this small annoyance in perspective with more important issues of life. 3) Reflect on why this particular action annoys you so much. Is there a deeper issue involved here? Maybe this action makes you feel unappreciated. Or maybe you’re (not your!) judging the motive of this person’s annoying behavior.
I also wondered, do we ever reflect on the opposite of our pet peeves—on things people do that we find particularly nice? I’ll call them “dear delights.” Here are a few of mine:
People who: are consistently pleasant… smile regularly… ask how you are and mean it… clean up after themselves… are genuinely interested in what you have to say… are fun to be with… hold the door open for you… help you carry something… give you a break in traffic… drive sanely… plant flowers in their yards for all of us to enjoy… know how to do a variety of handy things… can identify birds, trees, flowers… use their cellphones softly and only for short conversations while in public.
Did Jesus have dear delights? He certainly liked children. He appreciated love whenever he saw it: the Roman soldier who begged him to heal his servant… the elderly widow who put two small coins in the temple treasure… the woman who anointed him shortly before his death. Jesus took delight in nature: in lilies and birds… the beauty of trees… the changing seasons… the miracle of growth in mustard seeds and grains of wheat. He also appreciated good friends, good food, good wine, and good parties (a man after my own heart!)
Now it’s your turn (not you’re turn!):
What are some of your pet peeves? Do they say anything important about you?
How do you deal with your pet peeves?
What are some of your dear delights? Do they say anything important about you?
PS: I will be giving a weekend retreat at Christ the King Retreat Center in Syracuse, NY July 17-21, 2019. The theme is “Hanging onto Hope.” The center looks beautiful! Check their website for details: ctkretreat.com. I’d love to see you there!
The song today is “God Is Love” by Ali Auburn. The bottom line of this song and today’s reflection is really love, not so?
I welcome your responses below. I know my other readers would also appreciate your thoughts!