Pet Peeves – The Winter of My Discontent

A stand of pine trees in snow.

Natureland County Park – Walworth County, Wisconsin

Everyone has a few pet peeves – things that get your goat, tick you off, and drive you to distraction. Perhaps it’s this winter with no snow, the bleak landscape, or the endless political season that is bothering me. Whatever the cause, numerous vexations of 21st century life are on my mind. Here are a few of them in no particular order.

  • The use of “impact” as a verb. When I was young, people went to the dentist for “impacted” molars. Nowadays people, themselves, are “impacted” by all sorts of things. It sounds messy.
  • Inspirational posters urging “Teamwork,” “Excellence,”  etc.
  • Overly saturated photographs of western scenes.
  • The expression, “That’s what X (substitute almost any noun for X) is all about.” Examples: “That’s what art is all about. That’s what philosophy is all about. That’s what fun is all about.”
  • The use of the word “academic” to mean “absurd,” “pointless,””moot,” “useless,” or “out of touch with reality.”  Example: Your argument is purely “academic,” which means of course that your argument is at best moot, and at worst absurd.
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • A twenties-something waiter or waitress telling me that my order for chicken parmigiana is a “great choice.”
  • Over-used expressions and cliches. (Examples: As we go forward, we are now having that conversation. At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science at this point in time. It is what it is. Absolutely!)
  • Cell phone calls in public, especially in restaurants.
  • Restaurant staff who decide that the time to sweep or vacuum the floor is when I’m eating.
  • Politicians who refuse to answer any question directly.

I’m sure there are some pet peeves that slip my mind at the moment. If you have some, let me know what they are.

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