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In My Own Little World: Pet peeves: everyone’s got them, has to live with them

27 April 2014 By Justin Manry, Columnist 2 Comments

Do me a favor (and trust me, this will greatly enhance your column experience), close your eyes and imagine a chalkboard. Are you with me? Do you have your eyes closed? Well, then how are you reading this sentence you liar…? All right, now imagine someone with very long and unkempt fingernails scratching that chalkboard. Are you cringing? Do you feel the sudden urge to burn this newspaper and sue me for emotional distress? Then congratulations, you have a pet peeve!

Now when I say the words “pet peeve,” I don’t mean that you have a gerbil named Peeve who you feed little niblets and teach how to ride a unicycle. (Though if you did, you could probably get on “America’s Got Talent.”) I define pet peeve the same way I define every other word in my vocabulary, by typing “define pet peeve” into Google, and coming up with “a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to themselves, to a greater degree than others may find it.”

Of course something like nails on a chalkboard is probably a universally recognized unpleasant sound (unless there’s some tribe of mountain people who use that as music for all of their chalkboard festivals, but I’m pretty sure that’s just something I made up). But there are some things that really get to some people and not to others.

My column, as always, will focus on me and what I find particularly annoying, as opposed to actually thinking of others and the things I do that may be annoying to them. This is not because I don’t care about others, mind you, but because I never do anything that could be considered annoying by anyone, so it would be pointless to try to come up with things.

So as I was saying, when you live with people long enough, you find things that just make you squirm about them, things that just make your skin crawl, such as when they put little bugs on you that crawl and squirm all over your skin. For me, this realization came when I noticed my father’s propensity for loud yawning. You see, whenever he gets the hankerin’ to let out one of his signature yawns, he goes all out, no holding back, and it comes out something like this: “yeeaAHHHHHHHIIEEEEHHHAAAAAAhn.” (Just imagine a high pitched screaming banshee type noise.) And I will say, “Father Dearest, you know how I love you so, and how you fill my days with sunshine and laughter, but I do have one small request of you, and that is SILENCE YOUR YAWNS!! Pretty please with sugar on top.” (As a side note, putting sugar on top of your pretty pleases doesn’t usually make your request more appealing in my experience, it just increases your request’s cholesterol.) Generally the response I get is “Oh, whoops…” and then approximately seven minutes, 34 seconds later comes the sequel to the loudest yawn in recorded history.

But moving away from personal issues with people who will read this column and perhaps be offended and kick me out of the house, let’s talk about Styrofoam. Whoever invented Styrofoam and decided that when rubbed together with other pieces of Styrofoam it should make the most awful, gut-wrenching noise in all the known universe should be drug out onto the street and made to listen to a recording of Styrofoam rubbing together on continuous loop…and then shot…and then buried in a Styrofoam coffin.

So what can we learn from all of this? These are just two of the things that I can’t stand, if I were to make a list it would go on for at least as many pages as I could write without losing interest. So what are we to do? Inevitably we’ll do something during the course of our lives that makes someone wish we were eaten alive by piranhas. So do we stop living? I say not. I say have courtesy for your fellow man, but learn to live with the people you love and all their idiosyncrasies, no matter how loud their yawns are…

So that sort of turned into a touchy feely “love your family and friends for who they are” speech, but maybe you got a laugh out of it. Here’s the random thought of the week: The best part of waking up is realizing what time it is and that you still have an hour or two to sleep. Forget that Folger’s crap…

Don’t yawn too loudly, party people.



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