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Blame the peeve or the peevee?

Filed under How Not To Serve

Everyone has pet peeves.Everybody has a pet peeve or two.

See, right now, as you read that, you probably thought “Yes! I do! I hate it when the guy at the desk next to me clears his throat!” Or,”I just can’t stand gum or gum-chewers. Do they think that looks nice? Have they gone unconscious when they spit that out for me to step in?” My own personal favorite is drivers (see, you’re probably thinking about your driving pet peeves now!), drivers who turn left during rush hour when there is no turn lane, thus stopping all the cars behind them who then commit my second favorite peeve of rash lane changing.

Why are they called Pet Peeves?

Pet peeves are others’ actions or habits, which are annoying but not to everyone. These are not necessarily etiquette faux-pas or illegal activities, or even things that we, as a community, have termed to be distasteful, dangerous or otherwise delinquent. They’re little pets. Just for us to nurture and claim as our own, with the secret hope that our little pet (very much like a lap dog or fluffy cat) will eventually be adopted by the group and violators will be punished by a new law or public display of humiliation.

Why do I bring this up?

Unless you truly are an island, you have two social responsibilities. One is to do your best to be charming, to create health and happiness for others as you create it for yourself. The other is to let that those little pets go. Forgive those (oafish and rude) behaviors and thicken your skin. Pet peeves exist because we nurture them to use as proof of our rightness and superiority and to support our little tantrums when the world doesn’t play by our rules. Instead, try standing up straighter, breathe a little deeper and respect yourself, even with gum on your shoe.

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