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My Few Moderately Inflammable Retirement Peeves

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I’m feeling powerfully peever’ish this week.

More peeves? Of course. I get this peever fever (not Bieber fever) once a year or so.

Despite all the wonderful things happening in our world – and there are many – we’ve cornered ourselves into some of the most dark and desperate days of the last generation or two. Headline anxiety is running amok.

Yes indeed. Pandemics and Racism (see last week’s post) and Social Networks and Global Warming and Sociopathic Politicians and Military Muscle have driven us to the brink just when we thought we had civilization all figured out.

We’ve muddled our way into a transition period perhaps not unlike moving into the Industrial Age; a time of huge upheaval for humanity and the planet’s existence, before the golden days return.

I hope.

Before I step back and give my head a needed respite from this multitude of negativity, I have to offload some more pet peeves to set my mind at ease for a little while… Ommmmmmmm

I’m a word and spelling snob. I’m not proud of it but I admit it.

Improper word usage, phrases, and speling erors drive me batty, just as exaggeration (any Trump sentence), hyperbole (any Trump sentence), and obvious non-factual misdirection ie lies (any Trump sentence) make me reach for high blood pressure meds.

Let’s just dive into a few of my language irritants… my “wordle” pet peeves, shall we? … feel free to add to my list if the irritation moves you:

  1. MODERATE – who decides where moderate lies in the spectrum of a little to a lot… I think that eating 4 large slices of cherry cheesecake is being moderate, while you believe that eating 1 tiny square of a Fruit and Nut Bar is excessive. Who’s right? (ME, of course!)
  2. PIANIST – OMG, nope, nope, nope… this sounds much too much like my boy parts… let’s just stick with “piano player”, OK?
  3. RETIREMENT (R) – I know that most of you reading my blog posts are either retired or on the precipice of the blessed event. Congratulations! BUT… “Retired” is an anachronism that speaks to my parent’s generation. We don’t “retire” anymore… we change direction into one or more other regions of who we are, so in my pretend world of make believe I just use the letter “R” to represent this non-sequitor.
  4. (IN)FLAMMABLE – we should all know by now that placing “in” in front of this word doesn’t change its meaning… the words are synonyms. “i.n.” are just throwaway letters… so let’s toss them into the flammable pile, OK?
  5. MOIST – it’s interesting that MOIST is apparently the most despised word in the English language according to a number of surveys. I can only find it funny now that my Canadian Prime Minister used it during the deepest pandemic days, uttering: “If people want to wear a mask, that is OK. It protects others more than it protects you because it prevents you from breathing or speaking moistly on them.” Moist conjures up an impression of moldy flotsom in my head, definitely not a pretty vision. And please don’t breath or speak it at me!
  6. SANCTION – yeah, one word with opposing definitions. Dictionary def’s? 1. a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule, or 2. official permission or approval for an action. “Sanction me? So… are you coming back to my place for the night or not?”
  7. FEWER/LESS – I’d die a happy guy if folks just used fewer less‘es. Try using fewer with countable nouns like cookies. Less means “not as much.” We use less with uncountable nouns like milk. Most often, you will not have to be Hercule Poirot to deduce whether a noun is countable or uncountable, so the decision between less and fewer will be an effortfewer …er … effortless… one.
  8. HAVE A GOOD ONE – sorry, a good… what?? A good life? a good marshmallow? a good bowel movement? Don’t leave me hanging, what should I be having that’s good?
  9. THE FACT IS – in my experience, anytime someone prefaces their phrasing with “the fact is” means they have no idea what the facts are and are making this shit up. Leave “the fact is” out of your statement and actually provide me the documented (3 peer-reviewed studies is ideal) facts.
  10. BLOG/PHLEGM/PUS – there’s nothing really wrong with any of these words except they strike my “irritation centre”… the sound of each is unappealing and leave me feeling like I want to slap the person next to me for no reason at all.
  11. PANTIES – The word panties in itself is innocuous, but for some reason, it gives me a weird feeling. An innocent name for female underwear, and yet it sounds pornographic in my head. Worse still is that it sounds like kid-speak, and so combine porno with kids and I feel like a wretched pedophile merely saying the word.
  12. FLACCID – As a male, this word may be descriptive, but it sounds demeaning and “belittling” to my manhood. I know it says something about my insecurities and sensitivity. I’ll try to get over it!
  13. WHATEVER – when spoken, this usually means the end of any potentially meaningful or productive dialogue, but in an insulting fashion. I’m pretty sure the fact is, with his panties in a knot, and knowing that sanctions would be forthcoming, “whatever” was the last, moist word a flaccid Putin said to the world before he unleashed his moderate, yet inflammable forces on Ukraine … Have a good one Vlad!

Happy (Your Choice) Holiday

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I unilaterally declare November 1 as the first International Pet Peeve (IPP) Day!

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve discovered in writing this post that there is actually a Pet Peeve Week… the second full week of October… who knew!?)

Everything out there seemingly has it’s official day and flag (although I haven’t gone so far as to draw up a symbol for IPP yet).

This is a Lilliputian rant lamenting a change in our world. It’s a grain of sand in my shoes… a pea under my mattress… a first world problem, you get it.

And if I describe you in this post (heaven forbid!), please know that I accept and honour your choices and health needs.

We all have a part of us – larger or smaller- that rejects change; change irritates because we get comfortable in our patterns and routines… who wants to change their belly button fluff clean-out day from Tuesday to Thursday?

Anything new that makes us think deeply or differently, or creates a bit more labour for us is a nuisance, a fly in our soup. COVID is a full colony of flies in our soup!

Hear me out: I want to accept and embrace change where it leads to an objective improvement in the world.

I want to accept the many many rightful protests of those (you know most of them by now) whom have historically been under the thumbs of rich, white men (like myself minus the rich part).

So as I chastise you here – perhaps – for making my life a teensy bit more challenging, this is not authentic drama.

Let me move on and explain before you fall asleep…

One of my life delights, a passion you might say, is cooking. You too? Excellent!

Since the very first time I made fried rice as a 10 yr. old without realizing that rice should actually be cooked in a liquid before frying, I’ve loved to play in the kitchen.

Slicing, dicing, and piecing together the jigsaw puzzle that is a delicious ethnic dish (or baked good says my Sweet Tooth inner voice) of any sort is my “big boy sandbox” fun…

… lots and lots of ingredients and a healthy melange of various spices – although not too spicy hot in my latter years.

A good part of the joy comes in the sharing… inviting family or friends to join in on a hopefully succulent meal with maybe a splash of wine… well… this is likely the greatest reach towards heaven for me.

Here’s where my pet peeve kicks in… it’s the change part.

We are a global citizenship of 7+ billion folks with a similar number of likes, dislikes, nutritional requirements, and ailments that need attention, like the child excitedly calling out for Mommy’s awareness as she dives into the pool.

The internet (and some legitimate medical professionals) has untold stories of the horrors of dairy, grains/gluten, meat, chocolate, nuts/seeds, alcohol, the list is longer than Santa’s Naughty and Nice scroll. In millennia gone by, we were just too busy fighting the Huns and other hordes to question: Was Attila celiac? Or lactose intolerant? Or allergic to nuts, or vegan or ….

Part of our desire to live in a healthy state to 100+, as well as our desire to treat animals with respect has altered our collective perception of what we can put into our mouths and tummies.

And so… when we invite guests to share a meal nowadays, the puzzle pieces I can play with often don’t belong to the same boxed set as yours.

I scramble (but not eggs) to accommodate a lengthy list of do’s and dont’s that change with each visit. This tour of my table might require a lack of cheese, whereas the next drop-by says no chicken or perhaps tofu.

So let me say: I love you and understand your needs, but I’m sorry to say, a good deal of my “sandbox” joy has been sucked away by this Dyson vacuum of allergies, intolerances, and choices.

Like all changes thrust upon us, I’m adapting. I’m Yoda trying…

But also know when you drop in for a meal that the thinness of hair on my head is not only from my –granted – advancing age, but from the hair pulling I go through to make sumthin’ that, against growing odds, tastes like heaven for us all.

Happy IPP Holiday!