The other night, I was enjoying a delightful evening of family time. We had just eaten dinner and, much to my wife’s chagrin, were settling in for an evening of playoff baseball. Things were going strong when my sister came down the stairs in a ridiculous pair of shorts. There were animals involved and a pun printed on the backside. Suffice it to say these are not a go to fashion accessory.
Despite the pure ridiculousness that was these shorts, my sister seemed proud. She walked with a bit of a strut. We all took turns laughing at these shorts, and as she is prone to do, my sister went to the first defense that many people would grasp at in this situation.
“You’re just jealous of my shorts,” she said in her faux-snotty voice.
In my many years on this planet, I have wondered where I get my many pet peeves. While people tend to have a few peeves, I carry around a full catalog of them. There are purposefully misspelled words or businesses that, for seemingly no reason, flip a letter on their logo around backwards (I’m talking to you, Toys R’ Us!). More than these, though, it seems that different English phrases tend to irk me to no end. Worse, I have no way of knowing how these things start. I will suddenly be fixated on a phrase, wondering where it came from and why people insist on pretending it makes sense.
For the next week, I will hear that same phrase over and over and each time my hate for it will grow a bit more. I will start out bottling up my feelings, then gradually move to grumbling to whomever I am with, then eventually it will have ended up on my list of pet peeves, right next to “I COULD care less,” and people verbally saying “LOL.”
As it turns out, I must come by it honestly.
“Now that is something that has always bugged me,” my mother said, gesturing wildly as she has been known to do. “Why would I be jealous of your shorts? I do not want to be wrapped around your butt like your shorts. I could be jealous that YOU HAVE the shorts, but I would never be jealous of the shorts themselves.”
I had never thought about that phrase before. Clearly my mother had, but to me “jealous of my ___” had just drifted by me, never being noticed. Suddenly this became all I could think of. The life of a pair of shorts would be terrible, so I would definitely never be jealous of it. In fact, I would never be jealous of anything that this phrase has ever been attributed to. They are always inanimate objects and I very much enjoy moving. It’s one of the perks of being a human as opposed to, say, a spatula.
If I ever reached a point in my own life where I was genuinely jealous of a pair of shorts, I would say that I had definitely hit rock bottom. There is no way your life is okay if you are sitting somewhere, muttering to yourself, “If only I could be that pair of shorts, everything would be okay.”
Don’t get me wrong. Being a pair of shorts would have its advantages. For instance, pockets. Those are very convenient and it would be nice to always have some. Of course if you were shorts, you would have no need for pockets since you own nothing. They would just be your sad, always empty pockets.
The more important lesson to me, though, was that I have discovered the cause of pet peeves. It isn’t the world around you. Well, I mean it is the world around you, but that isn’t the entire cause.
It is genetics. Genetics are at fault for all my pet peeves.
That and toy stores. Do they think the backwards R is cute or what?